Bethlehem Cultural Festival

Day Three, Dish Three: Maftoul

Maftoul or Marma’on as we call it in Bethlehem is a winter dish that I adore. The broth is deep, intense and the maftoul grains resonate the taste of the land. Today I prepared a vegetarian maftoul and you can accompany it with either some roast lamb or chicken on the side. This dish fascinates me by how well it has travelled with the Palestinian Diaspora across the world. ” – Fadi Kattan


500g  maftoul 

1 large onion 

2 tablespoons of ghee (samna baladia)

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon cinnamon 

1 teaspoon seven spices 

¼ teaspoon black pepper 

½ teaspoon salt

For the Vegetable broth 

4 carrots

4 courgettes

4 small potatoes 

1 fennel bulb 

1 small onion 

3 ripe tomatoes 

A bit of parsley 

400g  cooked chickpeas


1.For the broth: chop all the vegetables into thick round slices except the tomatoes into very fine cubes. 

2. Heat half the ghee in a pot on high heat then add all of the vegetables. Stir them for three to four minutes. 

3. Cover with five cups of water, lower the heat and leave to cook for around 25-30 minutes.

4. Remove and reserve all the vegetables except for the onions and tomatoes. 

5. Pass the broth through a sieve. You should end up with around 4 cups of broth. 

6. In another pot melt the rest of the ghee over high heat and then you add the large finely chopped onion. Stir until the onion is translucent.

7. Add the spices, give them a stir then add the maftoul. Stir the maftoul until it is coated with the ghee  and the spices. 

8. Add 2 cups of the stock and a cup of hot water, bring to a boil and reduce the heat, cover the pot and leave to cook until all of the water is absorbed by the maftoul, It takes around 20-25 minutes at low heat. 

9. When the maftoul is ready, turn off the heat and leave it covered for 10 min.

10. Put the reserved vegetables in a pot, the chickpeas and the remaining stock and heat it up.

11. Serve the maftoul in a dish, the broth with vegetables in a soup dish.