Magic in the Kitchen: Musakhan

A well-known Palestinian dish, musakhan (chicken with olive oil and onions) makes for a great meal. Though messy to eat, it’s a fun favorite that many people, both young and old, enjoy. The following recipe serves up to 6 people, and should be served hot with yogurt on the side, if preferred.


1 broiled chicken 
4 peeled and thinly sliced medium onions
1/2 cup olive oil
½ cup pine nuts
3 tablespoons ground sumac 
Salt and ground black pepper as preferred
4 layers of “khubz taboon” or split Arabic bread open into 2 layers


• Begin by lightly browning the pine nuts in a bit of oil in a frying pan. Once done, set them aside on a plate lined with paper towels to remove the excess oil. 
• Cut the chicken into two breasts, thighs, and wings, then add salt and pepper to the pieces. 
• Heat ¼ cup of the olive oil in a deep pot and lightly brown the chicken over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Once this is done, set the chicken aside. 
• Add the other ¼ cup of oil into the pot and cook the onions until they become translucent. Make sure to stir every now and then. 
• Once the onions become translucent, add the sumac and cook for another 2 minutes while stirring well.
• Preheat your oven to 180°C. Cover a baking dish or pan with two halves of the taboon or Arabic bread, spoon and spread half the onions over the bread, and place the chicken pieces on top of the onions. Cover with the remaining onions and the leftover juices from the pot, with the remaining halves of the bread. 
• Cover the plate or pan with aluminum foil and bake until the chicken is tender, which might take up to 1 ½ hours.