Skip to content
Open menu Close menu

Feed your appetite for cooking with Penguin’s expert authors

penguin logo

Fragrant Palestinian Couscous – Maftoul

Sami Tamimi

by Sami Tamimi, Tara Wigley from Falastin: A Cookbook

Look no further for the perfect flavourful dinner party centrepiece than this recipe for Palestinian couscous with spice-marinated chicken and tender vegetables.

From the book

Sami Tamimi, Tara Wigley


Maftoul is one of the key players in Palestinian cuisine. It’s the centrepiece of whatever table it arrives at, turning a family meal into a feast. It’s big on flavour, great on looks and wonderfully satisfying to eat.

Getting ahead: The chicken can be marinated a day ahead (but does not need to be).

Read more Read less


4 chicken legs (or supremes if you prefer), skin on (1kg)
2 tbsp olive oil
1½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp fennel seeds, slightly crushed
salt and black pepper
For the maftoul:
3 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, each cut into 8 wedges (350g)
1 tbsp tomato purée
½ tsp caster sugar
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2cm-thick slices (320g)
½ butternut squash (400g), peeled, deseeded and cut into 3cm chunks
1 x 400g tin of cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed (240g)
8 large cloves of garlic, sliced in half lengthways (25g)
750ml chicken stock
250g maftoul (or mograbiah or fregola, as an alternative)
2 tbsp lemon juice
5g parsley leaves, roughly chopped


Preheat the oven to 200°C fan. Place the chicken in a large bowl and add the olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Toss to coat, then transfer to an oven dish or tray lined with baking parchment, skin side up. Put the cumin, coriander, cinnamon, turmeric and fennel seeds into a small bowl and mix to combine. Sprinkle just a quarter of this over all the chicken, then roast for 45 minutes, or until nicely browned and cooked through.

While the chicken is in the oven, put the oil for the maftoul into a large pot (about 25 x 12cm), for which you have a lid, and place on a medium-high heat. Add the onions and 2½ teaspoons of salt and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add the tomato purée and sugar and cook for another minute. Add the carrots and squash and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring a few times, then add the chickpeas, the remaining spice mix, the garlic and stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, covered, or until the vegetables are just cooked. Making sure you reserve the stock, strain the vegetables and keep them somewhere warm. Return the broth to the same pot – you should have about 600ml – then add the maftoul and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, then cover and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes, or until the maftoul is just cooked. Turn off the heat and set aside for 10 minutes, with the pot still covered. After 10 minutes, fluff up the maftoul with a fork and add the vegetables to the pot, along with the lemon juice and half the parsley.

To serve, spoon the maftoul into a large deep serving dish. Top with the chicken, sprinkle over the remaining parsley and serve.

Please note: Moderation is enabled and may delay your comment being posted. There is no need to resubmit your comment. By posting a comment you are agreeing to the website Terms of Use.

More Recipes from Falastin

View all

Spiced Salmon Skewers with Parsley Oil

Sami Tamimi

by Sami Tamimi, Tara Wigley from Falastin

Ma’amoul Bars – Ma’amoul Maad

Sami Tamimi

by Sami Tamimi, Tara Wigley from Falastin


Subscribe to The Happy Foodie email newsletter

Get our latest recipes, features, book news and ebook deals straight to your inbox every week

From the book: Falastin: A Cookbook

Close menu