Moghrabieh is a Lebanese chicken dish made with pearl couscous. Maghreb is the name of the region where the North African countries are located. Moghrabieh means coming from Maghreb. Arabic moghrabieh is the name of the couscous itself and the dish at the same time.
The main ingredients of the meal are couscous, chicken, chickpeas and onions. It is a very balanced and very nutritious meal. However, it is also very tasty. In particular, spices add a very different flavor to the meal than the classic couscous flavor. If you like dishes made with Eastern spices, you should definitely try this recipe. The only reason someone doesn’t like this dish may be because they don’t like these spices.
By the way, as in this recipe, the amount of spices is high in some cuisines such as Indian and Moroccan cuisines, and the spices are also roasted in oil to strengthen their aroma. In Turkish cuisine, spices are usually added to the meal last, so that they are not overcooked and stay fresh, and the aroma is not too intense. The spices generally used are the dried herbs such as mint or thyme. The high use of raw onions and garlic, which are technically not included in the spice category, but the purpose of which is to add flavor to the food, shows that the use of fresh spices is preferred rather than the classic dry spices, and this can be counted as one of the basic features of Turkish cuisine. Probably one of the most spicy dishes in Turkish cuisine is stuffing pilaf. Compared to Indian cuisine, it is not even spicy, but compared to Spanish cuisine, it can be considered too spicy. I think Turkey is a transition country between east and west in this regard, as in many other issues. Maybe that’s why we can easily adapt the food we take from the east and the food we take from the west and make very high quality examples.
So if we are not used to use that much spice can we change the spices in moghrabieh? Of course you can. If you do not follow the recipes exactly, the recipe will not take revenge on you and kill you in odd ways like in the Final Destination movies, but you will be deprived of the original flavor of the recipe. Although this is not as bad as dying, it is still bad.
As I mentioned above, the use of spices is not so intense in some countries and that it may seem not important that a spice is missing, but removing a spice from some recipes is like trying to make an omelette without eggs. So try to stick to the original spices in the recipes of different cuisines.
Enjoy the recipe…
- 500 g chicken breast,
- 8-9 shallots,
- 1 cup of pearl couscous,
- 2 cups boiled chickpeas,
- 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper,
- 1/4 teaspoon of cumin,
- 1/4 teaspoon of allspice,
- 2 bay leaves,
- 1 cinnamon stick,
- Salt to taste,
- 1 lt of boiling water
- 5-6 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Chop the chicken breast in large slices,
- Heat the oil in a large pan, arrange the chicken slices in and fry both sides,
- Pull the chickens aside and add the chopped onion and cook in the middle of the hot pan until golden, stirring frequently,
- Add cumin, black pepper and allspice and mix,
- Add the water and mix,
- Add bay leaves and cinnamon stick, cover and cook for 15 minutes on low heat,
- Add the couscous, chickpeas and salt and mix,
- Cover and cook over low heat until the couscous is soft (the consistency should be slightly juicy, add water if needed).