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Israeli couscous, also called pearl couscous or maftool, is similar to regular couscous in that it's a small, whole grain-like food made from semolina or wheat flour. The Israeli couscous has a nutty flavor and a sturdy composition that gives it a chewy bite and allows it to easily take in the sauce and all the flavor. It is great to have around the house because you can use it in many ways, from this delicious dish to salads, soups, or even as a rice replacement side dish. Some people even use it to make desserts. I had never heard of this dish before. On my trip to Jordan in the summer of 2012, my cousin made this for me and I fell in love. So, she taught me the recipe. It's a hearty meal with amazing flavor. You will not want to miss out. I loved it from the first bite I took! It's Middle Eastern comfort food!


  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed

  • 3 red onions, sliced into moon shapes

  • 3 teaspoons Baharat*

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 4 bay leaves

  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamon powder

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 2 cans chickpeas

  • 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon

  • 3/4 tablespoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons ghee or butter

  • 2 cups Israeli Couscous (maftool)


  1. Cut the chicken breasts into cubes.

  2. Cut 5-6 red onions thick, long slices.

  3. Fry the chicken using ghee (or olive oil, if you don't have ghee) and remove from the pot.

  4. ​In the same pot, fry onions with remaining ghee or olive oil till translucent but not burnt. If you need to add ghee or olive oil, go ahead.

  5. Add Bharat, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, bay leaf, cardamon powder, & cumin. Mix well so all spices mix into the onions.

  6. Return the chicken pieces to the pot and mix well.

  7. Drain, rinse, and add chickpeas. Mix well.

  8. Add chicken bouillon, salt, and enough water to reach the top of the chicken. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let cook for about 1 hour, occasionally stirring.

  9. In a separate pan, add the ghee or butter, melt, and add the couscous.

  10. Add little salt, Baharat, turmeric powder, and cinnamon (just a pinch of each).

  11. Take from brewing chicken broth, for 2 cups couscous, add 2 1/4 cups of broth. If water is low in the stew, add water to pot and boil again or add water to cook couscous. Let it come to a boil, cover and lower heat to a simmer for 8-10 minutes or until water has evaporated.

  12. To serve, place couscous in serving dish. Using a slotted spoon, add some of the chicken pieces along with the onions and chickpeas onto the couscous. Serve the remaining stew on the side for everyone to add onto their plate.

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #EATDRINKPLAYLA. I'd love to see how yours turned out!

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