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How to make chicken musakhan rolls

This Palestinian treat really comes into its own during Arabic celebrations.
Musakhan is regarded by many as Palestine's national dish (@ana__lina/Instagram)

Musakhan, which translates into English as "heated up", is one of the most famous and traditional of Palestinian dishes, a perennial favourite on menus that comes to the fore during celebrations such as the olive harvest season.

It's also a strong contender for Palestine's national dish against maqlouba, the chicken, vegetable and rice meal which is famed for being turned upside down.

Musakhan is traditionally made with sumac-seasoned chicken, sat on top of a type of flatbread known as tabun: however, a modern variation has seen that evolve so it is now also available in rolls. It's great served with freekeh soup and yoghurt.


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Serves: About 20 mini rolls

Preparation and cooking time: 1.5 hours

Musakhan is usually made a special kind of bread however you can use any flatbread (@ana__lina/Instagram)

1. Ingredients

  • Half a chicken skinned, cleaned and marinated
  • 12 onions diced (you can use a food processor)
  • 240ml (1 cup) olive oil
  • 2½ tbsp sumac
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • salt and pepper
  • 5 tabun bread (or any flatbread)
  • roasted pine nuts
The magic in musakhan lies in the mix of spices and shredded chicken (@ana__lina/Instagram)

2. Method

Preparing the chicken

  1. In a bowl, add the chicken and toss with salt, pepper and cinnamon powder to marinade it.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pot. Add the chicken, 1 chopped onion, the cardamom pods and a cinnamon stick.
  3. Add enough water to cover the chicken.
  4. Once the chicken is cooked, remove from the heat and leave it to cool. Make sure you keep the broth for later.
  5. Take the chicken out of the pot and shred into pieces.
  6. In a separate pot, saute the rest of the onions on a low heat with olive oil.
  7. Once the onions have wilted down, add ¼ cup of the chicken broth.
  8. Next add sumac, ground cumin and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste and then take off the heat. 
  9. Add the shredded chicken to the mixture and mix them together.

Assembling the musakhan

  1. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper (optional).
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C (355°F).
  3. Take one slice of bread and divide it into 4 sections (adjust according to the size of your bread)
  4. Rub one side of each slice with olive oil and then flip it over.
  5. Place on top 1 full tbsp of the filling, some pine nuts and then wrap tightly. Be sure to tuck in the edges so the filling doesn’t fall out.
Ensure the filling does not fall out during preparation of the rolls (@ana__lina/Instagram)


  1. Place the musakhan rolls on the prepared baking tray and place in the oven.
  2. Broil until golden brown on both sides and the edges are crispy
  3. Serve hot with freekeh soup and yoghurt.

You can follow Lina on her Instagram page @ana__lina

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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