Moghrabieh: Part 1

Moghrabieh is a much underused Lebanese pantry ingredient that is similar to what is known as pearl couscous. Pearl couscous, or what is marketed under the name of Israeli couscous in the UK/US, has its roots in the Lebanese variety. But the Lebanese variety also has its roots in the original North African couscous hence the name moghrabieh or 'from the Maghreb' (Morrocco, Tunisia, Algeria). Unlike the North African ingredient, moghrabieh pearls are much more substantial which yields a different mouthfeel and texture that is more associated with pasta. In this two-part post I'll show you two recipes (relatively) exciting with moghrabieh. First up is the eponymous Lebanese classic.

roast chicken carcass
one medium onion
one large carrot
celery stick
a sprig of fresh thyme
enough water to cover the carcass
salt and pepper

moghrabieh element
two handfuls of moghrabieh
stock (variable - enough to cook the moghrabieh)
chicken (optional - if you have some left from the night before)
four or five shallots peeled
a can of chickpeas
1 teaspoon crushed caraway seeds
1/4-1/3 teaspoon baharat
additional salt and pepper if needed
grape molasses
butter (optional)


Place all the stock ingredients in a pan. Bring to a boil and let similar on a very low heat for an hour. Take off the heat and strain leaving just the liquid behind.

Moghrabieh element
Fry the whole shallots for 30 seconds in rapeseed oil in a deep frying pan. Take out and keep on the side. Fry the chickpeas in the same pan and then add the baharat and caraway seeds. Cook for 20 seconds and then add the moghrabieh. Add the stock and cook the moghrabieh until there is no resistance in the pearls when you bite into them (this could take quite a while, maybe up to 30mins). Add the shallots back in for the last five minutes to cook them through. You can add butter at the end if you want to further improve your consistency. Drizzle grape molasses on the side for effect and a sharp tang to counter the creamy, spiced moghrabieh. Voila!


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