I made Chicken with Moghrabbiyah last night. The recipe comes from Hanou's "Middle Eastern Street Food." I was interested in trying the dish as I had a package of Israeli couscous in the pantry and I had been looking for a dish that included the couscous and chickpeas.
After reading the information on this thread, I began to question whether the couscous in my pantry could be substituted for the mograhbia in the recipe. (please note - this ingredient is spelled many differrent ways and I am sticking with the shorter spelling!) The Israeli couscous is an instant cook couscous. The method in the recipe called for first soaking and then steaming the moghrabia.
Wanting to be as authentic as possible, I decided to visit a local Lebanese grocer. There, I found a package of moghrabia - the pearls of couscous notably larger than what I had at home. I decided to use the Lebanese moghrabia for my first attempt.
Here is a photo of the two brands and a photo showing the size of the pearls:
The different brands
Note the different size of pearls. The Israeli couscous is a "toasted pasta specialty"
The dish is not complicated, though one does go through a number of pots and pans. In addition to soaking the chickpeas overnight, you must cook the chicken in a large casserole, soak the moghrabia and then steam the moghrabia, turn the moghrabia out into a large skillet and saute it along with te cooked chickpeas and onions and the top this mixture with the cooked chicken. Here are some photos:
The spices are cinnamon (obviously!), 7-spice blend (available at mid-east markets), caraway and gound pepper. The soaked chickpeas are in the back
The moghrabia post steaming
The finished dish
I loved the spice combination as it reminds me of a similar dish we make that includes rice with meat, pine nuts and almonds. This is topped with poached chicken sprinkled with cinnamon.
The couscous had a unique texture - I probably should have steamed it a bit longer. It had a very chewy bite to it that contrasted nicely with the chickpeas. My husband did as the Lebanese do and wrapped his up in khubz (bread). He is a starch hound.
If I make this dish again, I will try the Israeli couscous just so that I can compare the texture.