If anyone is thinking to themselves, "do people in the middle east eat any food that doesn't include rice?" The answer is um, "sometimes." Maftoul,also known as couscous, is one of the few main Arabic dishes that doesn't include rice. Maftoul or couscous consists of wheat granules that are rolled up into small pellets. A special two-in-one steamer is used to prepare this dish. The bottom steamer includes the water, salt, spices(cumin,cinnamon)and chick peas while the top steamer includes the maftoul. Olive oil and onions are added in the top steamer with the maftoul.Once the maftoul has been cooked, it is placed into a large plate and olive oil is rubbed onto the maftoul.
Maftoul is usually prepared during special occasions since the preparation of this meal is very time-consuming. This dish is also very difficult to prepare so not all households know how to prepare this meal. When my mother-in-law makes this meal, she invites her whole family for dinner because she is one of the few people in the family that knows how to cook maftoul.
Depending on area of the middle east you reside, maftoul can be served in various ways. There are 3 main ways to serve maftoul.
1. The maftoul is served in a large plate and chick peas are placed over the maftoul. Boiled chicken is also prepared and served with the maftoul. A light chicken broth is poured over the maftoul to add some flavor. 2. The maftoul is served in small plates and a tomato sauce is prepared that includes chick peas and fried cauliflower. This sauce is poured over the the maftoul. Fried chicken served alongside the maftoul. 3. The maftoul is served in small plates and chick peas are placed over the maftoul. A chicken broth soup and roasted chicken are served along with the maftoul.
Country of Specialty: Maftoul is highly recognized in Palestine. The wheat granules used to prepare the maftoul in Palestine are rounder and larger than the wheat granules used in other middle eastern countries. Couscous is a very popular dish in Morocco.