Simply Lebanese

Moghrabieh

Moghrabieh
  • Prep Time
    10 mins
  • Cook Time
    80 mins
  • Serving
    6
A traditional Lebanese stew of Moghrabieh pearls also known as “Lebanese Couscous,” along with chicken, chickpeas and pearl onions served with a warm cinnamon and caraway spiced chicken broth.
Moghrabieh

Moghrabieh is a traditional Lebanese dish of wheat semolina dough pearls, chick peas, onions, and chicken (or beef) in a spiced broth. 

Moghrabieh Pearls

Moghrabieh literally translates to “from Morocco.” Moghrabieh is both the name of the dough pearls as well as the name of the final dish. The Moghrabieh pearls are dry, similar to pasta, and are boiled for 15-20 minutes until they are tender. I buy them from my local Middle-Eastern grocer, but they can also be found online. They are sometimes known as “Lebanese couscous” since they resemble couscous in texture and shape, just larger.

This dish is so hearty and warm from the spice mixture of cinnamon, caraway, 7 spices and cumin. It is very similar to a stew as it is eaten with the flavorful broth. Most often it is made with chicken, but it can be made with beef stew cubes or lamb with bones. I seared the chicken with a little bit of oil on both sides and then boiled it for the broth. If you were to make it with beef or lamb, I would do the same and sear the meat first and then boil it.

There are quite a few spices used in Moghrabieh. In most Middle-eastern grocery stores, and online, you can purchase the Moghrabieh spices pre-mixed. However, it is not necessary to get a pre-packaged spice mix, as the mix consists of well-known spices such as cinnamon and ground caraway which, are found in most pantries.

As for the onions, I have seen people use large onions cubed, but traditionally, the recipe calls for pearl onions. If you are not able to find them fresh, you can definitely use frozen pearl onions.

Moghrabieh is considered a main dish, but can absolutely be served as an appetizer if you’d like. The way Moghrabieh is typically served is by separating the cooked moghrabieh pearls in one serving bowl, and the broth, chicken, onion and chick peas mixture in a separate serving bowl. From there, each person can add the Moghrabieh pearls followed by the broth mixture on top.

This dish is served this way because no matter how well the Moghrabieh is cooked, you will find that it keeps absorbing the liquid. As a result, combining them before serving could cause a lot of the delicious broth to disappear! Now, if you would rather eat it on the drier side, then by all means, feel free to combine before serving. As with most recipes, it is all based on personal preference.

STEP 1

Pat the chicken pieces dry using a paper towel. Season with 1 tsp. of salt and a pinch of 7 spices. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat up 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.

Place the chicken skin side down and sear for 4 minutes until brown and crispy. Flip the chicken over and sear the other side for 4 minutes as well.

STEP 2

Pour 6-8 cups of water over the chicken until fully covered (depending on size of chicken and pot) and add cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cloves, salt and black pepper.

Cook for 30 minutes on medium-high heat and skim any fat that rise to the top.

STEP 3

Peel the small pearl onions and add them to the chicken and broth.Cook for 15 minutes with the chicken.

STEP 4

Prepare your spice mix by combining the caraway, cinnamon, 7 spices, cumin and black pepper.

STEP 5

Drain the chickpeas from their liquid and rinse with water. Add the drained chickpeas to the pot along with the chicken and onions.

Add about ¾ of the spice mix and mix well. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Season with a teaspoon of salt or as needed.

Moghrabieh

STEP 6

Boil a pot of water. Add the dry moghrabieh and cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain the water completely from the pot and add the butter and leftover spice mix.

On low-medium heat, sauté the boiled moghrabieh for a few minutes.

Add a few ladles of the fresh broth to the moghrabieh and let simmer on low heat for about 7-10 minutes letting the moghrabieh pearls absorb all the flavor.

Moghrabieh
Serve the moghrabieh by combining the moghrabieh pearls with a couple ladles of the broth and fixings. Enjoy!
Moghrabieh
Moghrabieh

Moghrabieh

A traditional Lebanese stew of Moghrabieh pearls also known as “Lebanese Couscous,” along with chicken, chickpeas and pearl onions served with a warm cinnamon and caraway spiced chicken broth.
4.80 from 35 votes
Print Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Lebanese
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 598kcal
Author: Iman

Ingredients

  • 1 whole Chicken 2-3lb.
  • 2 cups Dry Moghrabieh
  • 1 can Chick Peas 15.5oz
  • 2 cups Pearl Onions
  • 2 tb. Vegetable Oil
  • 2 tb. Butter
  • 2 tsp. Caraway
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. 7 Spices
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Black Pepper

Boiling Chicken

  • 8 cups Water
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 tsp. Whole Cloves
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Black Pepper

Instructions

  • Pat the chicken pieces dry using a paper towel. Season with 1 tsp. of salt and a pinch of 7 spices. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat up 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Place the chicken skin side down and sear for 4 minutes until brown and crispy. Flip the chicken over and sear the other side for 4 minutes as well. 
  • Pour 6-8 cups of water over the chicken until fully covered (depending on size of chicken and pot) and add cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cloves, salt and black pepper. Cook for 30 minutes on medium-high heat and skim any fat that rise to the top. 
  • Peel the small pearl onions and add them to the chicken and broth. Cook for 15 minutes with the chicken. 
  • Prepare your spice mix by combining the caraway, cinnamon, 7 spices, cumin and black pepper. 
  • Drain the chickpeas from their liquid and rinse with water. Add the drained chickpeas to the pot along with the chicken and onions. Add about ¾ of the spice mix and mix well. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Season with a teaspoon of salt or as needed.
  • Boil a pot of water. Add the dry moghrabieh and cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain the water completely from the pot and add the butter and leftover spice mix. On low-medium heat, sauté the boiled moghrabieh for a few minutes. Add a few ladles of the fresh broth to the moghrabieh and let simmer on low heat for about 7-10 minutes letting the moghrabieh pearls absorb all the flavor. 
  • Serve the moghrabieh by combining the moghrabieh pearls with a couple ladles of the broth and fixings. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 598kcal | Carbohydrates: 64.9g | Protein: 33.7g | Fat: 27.6g | Saturated Fat: 7.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2.1g | Cholesterol: 71.5mg | Sodium: 409.2mg | Potassium: 404mg | Fiber: 7.5g | Sugar: 9.7g | Vitamin A: 5550IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 4.4mg

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    Recipe Reviews

    • Al

      5 stars
      Great dish – thank you it brought me back to my childhood and when visiting Lebanon.

    • Amal

      5 stars
      Great recipe thanks!
      Just to check you cook chicken 30 min then onions for 15 then chickpeas for 10 so total cooking time of chicken ends up being 55 min? Or do you add the onions after the chicken has been cooking for 15 min?

      • Iman

        Yes, a total of approximately 55 minutes is correct. Enjoy!

    • Cris

      5 stars
      Excellent recipe. Thank you for the helpful hints which made it super easy.

      • Iman

        Glad you enjoyed it!

    • Roy Jurdak

      5 stars
      Excellent recipe! Eating it the 2nd night on a cool October evening.
      Thanks!

      • Iman

        So glad you enjoyed it Roy! It’s the perfect fall recipe.

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