Musakhan ~ Roast Chicken with Slow Cooked Onions in Olive Oil

(Last Updated On: 1st June 2020)

For cooking at home during this Ramadan, we have got some inspiration from Dima Sharif, author of Plated Heirlooms. She shares the traditional recipe of Musakhan, a dish of roast chicken with slow cooked onions in olive oil; and Kofta o batata bil t’heeneh or Lamb Kofta and Potatoes in Tahina Sauce. Dima describes Musakhan as, ‘Musakhan is a typical dish from the cuisine of the villages. Musakhan is flavoured with sumac, which lends it that unique tartness and adds a burst of maroon to the whole dish. Only in the villages of North Falasteen it is flavoured with turmeric which makes it yellow in colour and more mellow in flavour. Both are authentic, just with a slight difference. However, the most popular version remains the sumac one.’ Do read our review of Dima’s cookbook Plated Heirloom.

Dima is also the founder of Mooneh LLC, a line of artisanal food pantry products that are created following old school food preservation methods. What better way to celebrate traditional and cultural recipes? Enjoy creating delicious meals for your family Iftars and Suhoors this Ramadan!

Musakhan from Dima Sharif's cookbook Plated Heirlooms

Musakhan from Dima Sharif’s cookbook Plated Heirlooms (image shared by author)

Musakhan ~ Roast Chicken with Slow Cooked Onions in Olive Oil

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Serves: 4


  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 4 pieces, keeping bones and skin intact
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 2 gloves garlic crushed
  • ½ tbsp my basic spice mix*
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 3 cardamom seeds, lightly crushed
  • 5 black pepper corns
  • salt and black pepper
  • juice of 1 lemon

Onion Mixture

  • 1 kg onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup sumac
  • ½ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 large rounds of taboon bread*

* You can find the recipe in Dima Sharif’s book


  1. Fry the potato wedges until slightly golden. Drain on kitchen towels and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 cloves garlic crushed and season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Mix well to combine. Brush this mixture along the bottom and sides of a deep baking tray and set aside.
  3. Make the Kofta meat by placing, the lamb mince, chillies (if using), minced garlic, chopped onion, parsley leaves, and seasoning in a food processor. Process until all are finely minced and combined. The minced mixture must be smooth. Remove from the processor and divide into equal sized balls.
  4. Shape each ball into a medium-size sausage. Line the sausage-shaped koftas alternating with the potato wedges on the prepared baking tray. Sprinkle the tops with the finely diced tomatoes and season lightly with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Roast, covered, in a 230C oven for 15-20 minutes, shaking the tray twice throughout.
  5. In the meantime, make the tahina sauce by mixing 1⁄2 cup tahina, salt and black pepper with the juice of 2-3 lemons until a paste forms. Thin the tahina paste with the heated meat broth, mixing well to combine and scraping the bottoms as you mix. You should end up with a smooth, slightly thick but runny tahina sauce. Set aside.
  6. Pour the tahina sauce over the kofta and potatoes and continue to roast, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until the Tahina sauce is thickened. Garnish with finely chopped parsley and toasted sesame seeds. Serve hot with some warm pita bread, green olives and garden salad.

[Dima Sharif, the author of Plated Heirlooms, has shared this recipe and image with FoodeMag website. We may have altered it to match the format in which our recipes appear in this website]

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    Musakhan ~ Roast Chicken with Slow Cooked Onions in Olive Oil

    by Debbie time to read: 3 min