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Toasted Pearl Couscous with Chicken and Chickpeas

4 Servings

40 minutes

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Palestinian maftoul, a pasta similar to pearl couscous, inspired this quick and easy one-pot meal. The wheaty flavor and aroma of the couscous is greatly enhanced by toasting until the seed-sized bits are richly browned before they're cooked pilaf-style. A sauté of onions, tomato paste, sumac and cinnamon creates a flavorful base for simultaneously poaching boneless chicken thighs and steaming the toasted couscous.




Don't stir the onion too often as it cooks. Infrequent stirring allows the slices to brown deeply; this caramelization is essential for developing rich flavor in the dish.

40 minutes



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Anna B.
September 26, 2022
Tasty, but eat quickly!
Very tasty - eat your leftovers quickly though as the couscous continues to absorb liquid.
Bryce G.

This receipe turned out amazing...even though I left out the chick peas. They were sitting on the counter I forgot that step. Added them to the leftovers, both ways fantastic. Didn't have sumac so I used a little more lemon zest and was so bright and fresh tasting.

Anthony L.

I am new to Milk Street, but not new to cooking, and this was my first recipe from this site. It was honestly one of the best things I've ever made and a guest said it was one of the best things she's ever had! Amazing recipe. I made only one change. I used 2 cups of homemade unsalted chicken stock + 1 cup of water. This made it very rich, in a good way, though I think I will try with straight water next time!

Mollie F.

This was the first Milk Street recipe I've made and it was great. Very quick prep and easy cooking, with mostly pantry ingredients. I used 1.3 lbs of chicken. This will easily be at least 4 servings. The sumac and mint at the very end really brighten up the whole thing (which is already nice and bright from the lemon and zest). I will definitely be making this again!

Mollie F.

I just made this again, but initially started with the other recipe on the website that has the exact same name and is also by the same author. It didn't seem quite how I remembered this one, but I kept at it anyway. Before adding the spices, I discovered my mistake and switched to this recipe, which still tasted lovely with the garlic and additional carrot that the other recipe called for. I'll probably keep the additional carrot for this recipe for next time.

Chris W.

Can this be made with fregola since its a wheat pasta?

Lynn C.

Hi Chris -

We haven't tested this recipe with fregola so we can't say for sure, but it *should* work. I'd check the fregola on the earlier side of the cooking range, though. Good luck!

The Milk Street Team

Kimmy G.

I am allergic to carrots, what could I substitute?

Lynn C.

Hi Kimmy -

Assuming you are also allergic to parsnips (which would be our first choice to substitute), we would recommend butternut squash or turnip as a substitute. These should both cook in the same amount of time as carrots.

The Milk Street Team