The delicious sweet and savoury chicken and vermicelli dish is usually prepared for special occasions and to welcome guests.
Seffa Madfouna is a couscous or vermicelli dish; it is elaborate and celebratory. It can be prepared with chicken, lamb, or beef served hidden in a dome of steamed vermicelli “shaariya.”
Today we’re going to make the unique meal using chicken and vermicelli. The vermicelli is sweetened with raisins, butter, and powdered sugar and then decorated with peeled and fried almonds, cinnamon, and additional powdered sugar.
Some people choose to decorate with granulated sugar and cinnamon and serve without the chicken as a dessert at ceremonies or big events. In our home this dish is not reserved just for guests. Seffa madfouna is a favorite family dinner, often requested by my children and husband. I always cook it with chicken and vegetables for that comforting, sweet and savory taste.
So, let’s get started. Here’s what you’ll need:
1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
2 big onions, chopped
1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
¼ cup of olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of ginger
½ teaspoon of black pepper
A large pinch of saffron
½ teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of smen (ghee)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of honey
Now the ingredients for the Seffa:
1 kilogram of vermicelli noodles
200 grams of raisins soaked in water and drained
3 tablespoons of oil
2 tablespoons of butter
2 liters of water
You’ll need a couple more ingredients for the garnish:
100 grams of almonds, grilled and roughly ground
Some ground cinnamon
Now we can start preparing the Seffa
Add 2 liters of water to a couscous pot and place it on the stove at medium heat.
Put some oil on the vermicelli before placing in the steamer above.
Place the steamer on the couscous pot; once you see steam rise from the vermicelli, steam for 15 minutes.
Remove the steamer and put the vermicelli on a plate.
Add 1 cup of salty water and rub with hands to remove any knots from the vermicelli.
Put the vermicelli back into the steamer and steam again.
Steam the vermicelli 3 or 4 times; each time it should steam for 15 minutes.
Add soaked raisins to steam with vermicelli for the final 15 minutes.
Now for the chicken:
Wash the chicken pieces and place in a pot with the onion and oil, then simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Add the cilantro and spices and cover with water.
Cover the pot and cook for 40 minutes.
When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pot, then add honey, and let the sauce simmer until it is thick.
Remove the bones from chicken, then return it into the pot and stir well.
We’re nearly ready to serve the Seffa Madfouna:
Put seffa in a large bowl, add butter and some sugar and mix until butter is melted.
Now spoon half of the vermicelli onto your serving plate before covering it with sauce and some of the chicken. Bury the chicken with the rest of the seffa and chicken sauce.
Now it’s time to decorate the steaming mound of seffa with ground almonds, cinnamon, and icing sugar.
Place the platter on the table and enjoy this delicious meal with family or friends.