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Saturday, April 07, 2007

moghrabiyah with zaatar chicken


I usually make some simple falafel, tabbouleh, dolmas, baba ghanouj, hummus and such, but, Meeta's Monthly Mingle theme "Arabian Nights" got me interested in making something different, something rare at my table, and I promptly went to Ya Hala store to get some supplies.

Ya Hala restaurant is in SE Portland. We've been there only a couple of times, despite enjoying the food a lot. We rarely eat out, especially after the wee one arrived. The restaurant has a grocery store next door, which is where I went to get some ready-made Zaatar and Moghrabiyah.

Zaatar, to me, in concept, is like Garam Masala: each family, each chef, has their own special proportion of spices so that, despite using the same ingredients, each batch can turn out different. Zaatar is a mixture of thyme, sumac, sesame seeds usually, and possibly some marjoram or fennel. Sumac gives it some tang, and thyme is usually the prominent flavor.


Moghrabiyah (mougrabiya, moghrabieh) is basically pasta: it is made of durum wheat and is usually sold as little round pearls/pellets, aproximately the size of tapioca pearls. It is cooked just like pasta or cous cous, in salted boiling water, until tender.



Ingredients
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breast
½ cup green zaatar (reserve some for rub, rest for cooking)
salt to taste
2 Tbsp oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1-2 green chilies, diced finely
1 medium leek, cleaned and chopped
6-8 pearl onions, peeled, whole (optional)
1 cup plain thick yogurt

½ cup dry moghrabiyah
1 cup water or vegetable/chicken stock, hot

Preparation

toast the moghrabiyah in a pan, and then add it to the measured hot water, and boil on medium low till all water is absorbed and it feels cooked to your taste; or, simply follow the package directions; cover and keep warm

rub the chicken breasts, with some zaatar, add some lemon juice and salt and let it marinate for an hour or so; then cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces

heat 1 Tbsp oil in a pan, sauté the pearl onions (if using) with a pinch of salt and zaatar; set aside

heat 2 Tbsp oil in a pan, add the onions, chilies and leeks, a pinch of salt, and sauté for a bit, then throw in the chicken pieces, add more zaatar and cook till chicken is done; then fold in the yogurt off heat

Serve the zaatar flavored chicken with the moghrabiyah, or rice, or roti.

I am glad I came across Monthly Mingle, else I would not have thought of making this dish at home.

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2 Comments:

  • At 11:48 AM, Blogger Meeta said…

    So glad you were brave to try something different! This looks wonderful and thank you for the entry!

     
  • At 7:47 PM, Blogger Ayesha Seerin said…

    never heard of this ... thanks for the recipe

     

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