Chicken Musakhan Fatteh

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Chicken Musakhan Fatteh is a delightful dish that perfectly blends rich history with nutritious ingredients, making it a standout choice for any healthy food enthusiast. Originating from Palestine, Musakhan is traditionally made with sumac-spiced chicken, caramelized onions, and toasted pine nuts, all layered over taboon bread. Fatteh, on the other hand, is a Levantine dish that involves layering bread with yogurt, chickpeas, and chicken, making Chicken Musakhan Fatteh a delightful fusion of two beloved Middle Eastern classics.

Musakhan, which means “heated” in Arabic, is often prepared during the olive harvest season as it features freshly pressed olive oil, a staple in Palestinian cuisine. This dish is deeply rooted in Palestinian culture and is often associated with family gatherings and celebrations. The use of sumac, a tangy spice made from dried sumac berries, gives Musakhan its distinctive flavor and beautiful reddish hue.

Fatteh, derived from the Arabic word “fatta,” meaning “to crumble,” dates back to medieval times and is a popular dish across the Levant region, including countries like Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. Traditionally, it was a way to use up stale bread by layering it with various ingredients to create a hearty and satisfying meal.

Health Benefits of Chicken Musakhan Fatteh

This dish features several healthy ingredients, each contributing unique benefits to your diet:

  • Chicken: A great source of lean protein, chicken helps build and repair tissues. It’s also rich in essential vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, which support energy production and brain function.
  • Yogurt: Packed with probiotics, yogurt supports a healthy digestive system. It also provides calcium, protein, and vitamins B12 and D, promoting bone health and a strong immune system.
  • Tahini: Made from sesame seeds, tahini is rich in healthy fats, protein, and minerals like magnesium and iron. It supports heart health and provides a good source of antioxidants.
  • Almonds: These nuts are high in healthy monounsaturated fats, which can help reduce bad cholesterol levels. They also offer protein, vitamins E and K, and essential minerals like magnesium and zinc.
  • Pita Bread: While traditionally made from refined flour, using whole wheat pita adds fiber and nutrients, supporting digestive health and providing sustained energy.

Cooking Chicken Musakhan Fatteh involves layering the ingredients and using methods like toasting and roasting, which enhance the flavors without adding excessive fats or calories. The yogurt-tahini sauce provides a creamy texture while keeping the dish light and healthy.

How to Make Chicken Musakhan Fatteh

To make this flavorful dish, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare the Chicken: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Season the chicken breasts with a mixture of ground sumac, allspice, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Place the chicken on a baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked and tender. Let it cool slightly, then shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Toast the Pita: Cut the pita bread into small pieces and toast them in the oven until they are crispy and golden brown. This adds a delightful crunch to the dish.
  3. Make the Yogurt-Tahini Sauce: In a bowl, whisk together yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and a bit of water until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Adjust the consistency with more water if needed.
  4. Assemble the Dish: In a serving dish, layer the toasted pita pieces, followed by the shredded chicken. Drizzle the yogurt-tahini sauce over the top. Sprinkle toasted pine nuts and chopped fresh parsley for garnish.

Tips for Making the Best Chicken Musakhan Fatteh

Here are some tips to ensure your Chicken Musakhan Fatteh turns out perfectly:

  • Season Generously: Ensure you season the chicken well with the spices to infuse it with traditional Middle Eastern flavors. This step is crucial for achieving the authentic taste of Musakhan.
  • Toast the Pita: Toasting the pita bread adds a crunchy texture that contrasts beautifully with the tender chicken and creamy sauce. Make sure the pita pieces are evenly toasted.
  • Use Fresh Ingredients: Fresh parsley and high-quality pine nuts add a burst of flavor and texture to the dish. Fresh lemon juice in the sauce enhances its tanginess.
  • Layering: When assembling the dish, make sure to layer the ingredients evenly. This ensures that every bite includes a bit of each component, creating a harmonious blend of flavors and textures.
  • Serve Immediately: Chicken Musakhan Fatteh is best enjoyed fresh, as the toasted pita can become soggy if left to sit for too long. Serve the dish immediately after assembling for the best texture and taste.

How to Serve Chicken Musakhan Fatteh

Chicken Musakhan Fatteh is versatile and can be served in various settings. Here are some suggestions:

  • Family Dinners: This dish makes a great centerpiece for a family dinner. Serve it with a simple side salad or roasted vegetables for a complete meal.
  • Special Occasions: Impress your guests by serving Chicken Musakhan Fatteh at gatherings like birthdays or anniversaries. Its unique flavors and beautiful presentation make it a standout dish.
  • Weeknight Meals: Prepare this dish on a weeknight for a quick yet flavorful dinner. The simple steps make it easy to put together, even on busy days.
  • Potlucks and Parties: You can serve Chicken Musakhan Fatteh at potlucks and parties. Its rich flavors and appealing layers will make it a hit among guests.
  • Lunches: Enjoy this dish as a hearty lunch. The combination of protein, healthy fats, and fiber will keep you satisfied and energized throughout the day.

Alternative Cooking Method: Air Fryer Chicken Musakhan Fatteh

If you’re looking for an alternative cooking method, you can also prepare Chicken Musakhan Fatteh using an air fryer. This method can make the dish healthier by using less oil and achieving a similar flavor and texture. Here’s how to make this recipe in an air fryer:

  1. Prepare the Chicken: Season the chicken breasts with the spice mixture as described above. Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C). Place the chicken in the air fryer basket and cook for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until fully cooked.
  2. Toast the Pita: Cut the pita bread into small pieces and place them in the air fryer basket. Toast at 350°F (175°C) for 3-5 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through, until crispy and golden brown.
  3. Make the Sauce and Assemble: Follow the same steps as above to prepare the yogurt-tahini sauce and assemble the dish.

Embracing Tradition with a Healthy Twist

By combining the best elements of Musakhan and Fatteh, this dish offers a delightful way to enjoy traditional flavors while reaping the benefits of wholesome ingredients. Whether you’re preparing it for a family dinner or a special occasion, Chicken Musakhan Fatteh is sure to impress with its rich taste and nutritional value.

I love how this dish brings together history, culture, and health in one delicious package. It’s a testament to how traditional recipes can be adapted to fit modern dietary preferences without losing their essence. So, next time you’re looking for a meal that’s both flavorful and nutritious, give Chicken Musakhan Fatteh a try. Your taste buds and your body will thank you!

Chicken Musakhan Fatteh

Recipe by Nevine BalighCourse: DinnerDifficulty: Medium


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  • 1 whole chicken or 1 kilo chicken breasts

  • 1 kilo red onions, sliced thinly

  • 1.5 cups chickpeas, boiled and drained

  • Pita bread, cut into small triangles

  • Olive oil

  • Sumac

  • Pomegranate molasses

  • Lemon juice

  • Salt & pepper, to taste

  • Fresh parsley, minced

  • Yogurt sauce
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt

  • 1-2 tablespoons tahini

  • Lemon juice

  • Salt, to taste

  • For garnishing
  • Pomegranates (optional)

  • Toasted almonds (optional)

  • Tiny pinch of cinnamon (optional)


  • Marinate chicken and onions in salt, pepper, lemon juice, and sumac.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and bake at 200 c in the oven until chicken is done and onions are softened and slightly caramelized.
  • Remove from the oven and shred chicken. Mix with onions and some pomegranate molasses to taste.
  • Add lemon juice and some parsley to chickpeas and set aside.
  • Bake or air fry pita triangles until crunchy.
  • Layer the fatteh in a serving dish by making a layer of half the bread, then chicken & onions, then chickpeas, then more bread on top.
  • Drizzle generously with the yogurt sauce and garnish with parsley and almonds.
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