#5 marmahon ‘a la Honduras’

We’re a family from the country of Honduras in Central America that has been living in Germany for some time now.  Even though we’ve embraced German culture and its cuisine in a very friendly manner, nothing beats the tastes from the homeland!  I’ve learned more about Honduran cooking here in Germany than I ever did back home, and everyone in the family absolutely relishes any small little taste of home we can get around here.

Marmahon is a type of handmade toasted pasta shaped in little balls, developed in Lebanese, Jordanian and Palestinian cuisine, commonly known as maftoul or pearl couscous.  More on our Honduran version’s history can be found here, a collection of Honduran cuisine and its history that I will be referring to whenever I post a recipe from home.  I would also like to share with you this link to one of the most popular brands from home, Marmahon Nassar, a traditional family handmade product that has been around for ages!

There are many ways to prepare marmahon, but I like to keep it yummy & simple.  This is a popular food among kids, and you can add carrots, peas, and even hotdogs.  It can be prepared in soup form or similar to rice, and the most popular serving recommendation is always with chicken!

For the Recipe

  • 1 bag (410g) of marmahon (or maftoul), medium-size grain
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 tablespoon of chicken bouillon
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons of ground parsley
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (115g) of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of saffron powder
  • 2 tablespoons of ketchup

Place the entire chicken in stock pot, and fill with water to cover.  Add the chicken bouillon, ground cumin, ground parsley, and chopped onion.  Boil until chicken is cooked thoroughly and begins to shred.  This will last about an hour, and the longer it boils, the softer the chicken will be – so once again, remember to be patient!

Remove the chicken from the pot and let cool.  Don’t forget to reserve the stock!  This is a crucial part for the cooking of the marmahon.  Once too many a time, I have forgotten to do this, and then regret it terribly later!  The tastes are never the same without it.  Pull the chicken from the bones and shred, discarding all bones, skin and cartilage. You can also choose to leave the entire chicken legs and breasts whole with bones, but my kids prefer the shredded chicken.  Place the chicken back into the stock pot with the reserved stock and set heat to low.

In a hot skillet, brown the marmahon for a couple of minutes, stirring gently.  Add the butter and keep browning.  Add the Worcestershire sauce and saffron powder, stirring and browning.  Finally, when you like its golden color – without it browning or toasting too much – add the marmahon to the stock pot with the chicken & reserved stock.  Add an additional 2 cups of water to the pot and cook on low heat, stirring frequently, until all the flavors are combined and the stock seems to have evaporated.  Remove from heat as soon as the marmahon is soft, making sure not to overcook.  Serve with fresh greens!

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