Let’s face it, Arabic food takes forever to make. There are lots of steps and long cooking times, time I don’t have when I’m working full time and trying to conserve our culture simultaneously. That’s why I’ve decided to start a recipe series featuring traditional Arabic dishes, made much easier for those of us that have full time jobs and prefer to keep weekday cooking to 30 minutes or less. This is the second installment of the series. Don’t forget to check out previous posts in the Arabic Food Made Easy Series.
Imakhan (pronounced em-sa-khan) is a traditional Palestinian dish and is basically sautéed onions and chicken drenched in sumac. Generally, the onions are fried with a ton of vegetable oil, spread onto a thick flatbread and topped with pieces of chicken then baked to perfection in the oven.
It’s delicious – if you like onions and sumac. While trying to preserve culture, some sacrifices need to be made for the sake of heart health. My sister-in-law makes Imsakhan rolls, a clever way to get her kids to eat Arabic food at a time when most kids just want finger food. I’m trying to keep my family healthy and frying onions doesn’t really fall into the “healthy” category. There’s also the smell aspect of this all. Have you ever sautéed onions? They stink up the kitchen. And we’re super conscious of food smells taking over our house. The husband knows instantly when he walks in the door – downstairs – whether or not I’ve taken on something elaborate and proceeds to open up all the windows.
I’m taking a chance here by baking the onions to golden perfection. Still served with chicken, and bread, only maybe a little lighter on the calories (and oil). The Husband gave this recipe two thumbs up. He loved the idea of not having oil dripping all over his hands.
Ingredients3 Large Onions 3 Chicken Breasts 1 tablespoon All Spice Sumac, to taste (I use at least 3 tablespoons)
DirectionsPreheat oven to 400 degrees Chop onions into small squares. Place the chopped onions in a ziplock bag and add 2-3 tablespoons olive oil then shake up until fully coated. Spread onions onto baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes. You can also broil for 5 additional minutes for added browning. While the onions are roasting, Boil the chicken until tender. Drain water from chicken and using your fingers (or in my case a fork and knife), pull the pieces of chicken apart. Mix together shredded chicken and onions Add sumac and Allspice stirring well until coated. Serve on a large Pita Bread. To do so, spray the bread with olive oil, spread onion and chicken on the bread and spray with olive oil again, then bake for 15 minutes.
Nutrition Information (with 1 large white pita bread): Cals 326. Carbs 32g. Fat 2g. Protein 33g. Sodium 536mg. Sugar 7g.