Moroccan Seffa Medfouna Saffron Chicken Vermicelli Recipe

Seffa Medfouna is our favourite North African noodle dish flavoured with Moroccan spices.

The popular Moroccan comfort food dish is typically served at special celebrations like birthdays and weddings before the dessert course. It’s served on a platter as an eye-catching dome.

Our MoroccanSeffa recipe features flavourful butter, olive oil, chicken thighs, onion, garlic, tomatoes, ginger, saffron, Ras El Hanout spice blend, parsley, vermicelli noodles, raisins, powdered sugar, sliced almonds and ground cinnamon.

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What Is Seffa Medfouna?

Seffa is a Maghrebi (North African) term for a dish of sweetened vermicelli noodles (known locally as chaariya) with butter, cinnamon, almonds and dried fruit.

The Moroccan comfort food dish is unique in that it is both sweet and savoury and served as an eye-catching dome.

Authentic Seffa recipes may incorporate meat like chicken or lamb, and also alternatively be made with couscous or rice instead of noodles.

Seffa Medfouna is a variation of traditional seffa. In the case of medfouna, which means “buried,” saffron chicken is hidden within the decorated dome.

This dish is generally consumed at the end of a meal, before dessert. It is often served at wedding ceremonies and special family gatherings.

If you’re hosting a Moroccan-themed dinner party we encourage you to showcase the hidden chicken inside an elaborate noodle dome to impress your guests.

We like to toss the Seffa ingredients together before serving to ensure everyone at the table gets an equal portion of noodles and chicken.

Impress your guests by finessing yourSeffa Medfouna by topping the noodle dish with finely chopped crispy chicken cracklings.

Homemade Seffa Medfouna recipe ingredients.
HomemadeSeffa Medfouna recipe ingredients.

What Is Ras El Hanout?

Ras El Hanout is one of the predominant flavours in an authentic Seffa recipe.

It is a complex, aromatic spice blend typically associated with Moroccan cuisine.

The literal translation of ras el hanout from Arabic to English is “head of the shop,” but in reality, it means “top shelf,” both terms implying that this is the very best offering in a spice shop.

No two versions of this spice blend are the same, though most recipes feature cardamom, nutmeg, anise, mace, cinnamon, ginger, various peppers, and turmeric. Some blends can add up to 80 spices, so the beauty of the North African spice lies in its flexible recipe but also in family preferences.

Seffa Medfouna is a Moroccan noodle dish flavoured with Ras El Hanout spice blend.
Seffa Medfouna is a Moroccan noodle dish flavoured with Ras El Hanout spice blend.

Travel to Morocco by CookingSeffa Medfouna at Home

I love traveling to Africa and the Middle East.

My first visit to the region was a family road trip to South Africa. We fell in love with Africa while driving through Kruger National Park, The Panorama Route, Port Elizabeth, Tsitsikamma, Hermanus, Stellenbosch and Cape Town.

As a professional food and travel journalist I’ve had the opportunity to eat at some of the best restaurants in Morocco, Kenya, Egypt, Namibia, Jordan, Israel, Turkey and Dubai.

What I found most fascinating is North Africa’s distinct regional food cultures. Much like the regional cuisines found in FranceGermany and Italy, each town in Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt serves its own local speciality.

After returning from a Moroccan adventure, cook our traditionalSeffa Medfouna recipe for friends and family to share a delicious taste of North Africa.

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Our easy Moroccan Seffa recipe is prepared with roast chicken.
Our easy MoroccanSeffa recipe is prepared with roast chicken.

My Family LovesSeffa Medfouna Noodles

My family loves MoroccanSeffa as it reminds my father of our road trip of Morocco.

We spent 2 weeks driving from Casablanca to Marrakech, making stops to visit tiny towns, beautiful beaches and scenic mountain ranges.

Most restaurants in Morocco serve a variety of tagines and couscous. We were thrilled to sample aSeffa Medfouna recipe for the first time as it was a unique dish we hadn’t tried yet.

I wanted to recreate that special Moroccan dining experience for my family so prepared this easy Seffa recipe on a cold winter’s night for dinner.

I knew my family would give the dish a thumbs up as they love noodles, crispy chicken skin and sweet spiced sauces.

In Toronto, you may be able to order authenticSeffa Medfouna at Moroccan restaurants like The Sultan’s Tent, Atlas Restaurant, Morocco House and Bar Sybanne.


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Traditional Seffa is prepared with short and thin vermicelli pasta noodles.
Traditional Seffa is prepared with short and thin vermicelli pasta noodles.

Seffa Health Benefits

Our easy MoroccanSeffa recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!

Olive Oil is ranked as one of the healthiest fats and is a staple in the Mediterranean diet. It contains vitamins E and K and plenty of beneficial fatty acids and antioxidants.

Chicken is high in protein and provides B vitamins such as niacin, which helps your body access the energy in foods.   

It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.

Onions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of onions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

Rich in a group of phytochemicals called carotenoids, tomatoes may help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and provide protection against cancer. Tomatoes are also a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C.

Ginger contains at least 14 phytochemicals, many of which have impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also has a good source of copper, which supports your bones, blood and nervous system. 

An excellent source of vitamin K, as well as vitamin C, folate, and iron, parsley helps keep your bones and blood healthy, and protects your skin from damage by free radicals.

Research shows that raisins can lower your risk of heart disease by reducing blood pressure and blood sugar. The fibre in raisins works to lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol, which reduces strain on your heart. Raisins are also a good source of potassium.

Containing more protein, fibre, vitamin E and calcium that other nuts, almonds may reduce the risk of heart disease, keep your bones healthy,  and help your body absorb essential nutrients. 

Rich in energy-boosting manganese, cinnamon is also antibacterial and may protect your brain against Alzheimer’s disease.  

Serve Seffa topped with chicken cracklings, almond slices, cinnamon and powdered sugar.
ServeSeffa topped with chicken cracklings, almond slices, cinnamon and powdered sugar.

MoroccanSeffa Recipe Cooking Tips

This homemadeSeffa Medfouna recipe is quick and easy to make at home.

  • We suggest using a large pot or Dutch Oven when cooking Seffa over the stove.
  • We’ve used skin-on bone-in thighs for this recipe as it allows you to prepare crispy chicken cracklings as a topping for the dish. If you don’t have time or simply want to omit the crispy chicken skin feel free to use skinless boneless chicken thighs (they have far more flavour than breasts).
  • We’ve used red onions in this recipe but you can substitute for Spanish cooking onions, shallots or sweet Vidalia onions.
  • We’ve used 2 roma tomatoes in this recipe but you can substitute with one large beefsteak tomato.
  • You can purchase Ras El Hanout online or at your local Middle Eastern market.
  • Feel free to substitute vermicelli noodles for couscous if you prefer.
  • If you’re serving a large crowd we suggest displaying the impressive Moroccan dish as a dome in a large shallow serving bowl or platter.
Moroccan Seffa Medfouna can be served as an entree or side dish.
Moroccan Seffa Medfouna can be served as an entree or side dish.

What To Serve withSeffa Medfouna

North African Seffa is our favourite Moroccan noodle dish to cook at home.

Seffa Medfouna is typically served with other entrees, salads and soups at a celebratory Moroccan feast.

If you’re hosting a North African inspired dinner party you may want to serve our Moroccan Seffa recipe with Moroccan Chicken Lentil Stew Rfissa, Spicy Vegetarian Harissa Pasta, Healthy Roasted Vegetable Couscous, Spiced Pea Fritters, Crispy Roasted Harissa Potatoes, Egyptian Salad Vegan Salata Baladi, Egyptian Crispy Crusted Dukkah Chicken and Pkaila Tunisian Butter Bean Stew.

If you’re looking for a delicious dessert to serve after your Moroccan feast why not make our popular Dark Chocolate Lindt Lindor Cookies, Coconut Rum Banana Bread Bundt Cake, Mahalabia, Sweet Lebanese Sesame Tahini Rolls, Baileys Banoffee Cake, or Lemon Lavender Shortbread Cookies?

Seffa Medfouna is our favourite Moroccan noodle dish featuring both sweet and savoury flavours.
Seffa Medfouna is our favourite Moroccan noodle dish featuring both sweet and savoury flavours.

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Now you're an expert on how to make the best homemade Moroccan Seffa Medfouna recipe!
Now you’re an expert on how to make the best homemade MoroccanSeffa Medfouna recipe!

How To Make Moroccan Seffa Medfouna Noodles

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5 from 1 vote

Moroccan Seffa Medfouna

How to make traditional Seffa Medfouna. Our easy Moroccan pasta dish features tender chicken, vermicelli noodles, raisins, almonds & spices.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: moroccan, North African
Keyword: seffa medfouna
Servings: 6
Calories: 757kcal

Equipment

  • baking sheet
  • Dutch Oven
  • French knife
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • Large pot
  • Colander

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 8 Skin-on Bone-in Chicken Thighs
  • 1 Red Onion finely chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves crushed
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes finely chopped
  • 2 cups Chicken Stock
  • Pinch Saffron Threads
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 2 tsp Ras El Hanout
  • 1 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1/2 cup Parsley chopped
  • 10 oz Vermicelli Noodles
  • 1 cup Golden Raisins
  • 1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Sliced Almonds
  • 1/8 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • Kosher Salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 F. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Place chicken on a greased baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes until browned and fully cooked. Set aside and let cool.
  • Heat half the oil in a Dutch Oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and tomato and cook for 1 minute.
  • Meanwhile, remove crispy chicken skin from the thigh meat and using a French knife finely chop. Set aside the skin to use as a garnish before serving. Using your hands, shred the chicken off the bones and set aside. Discard chicken bones.
  • Pour the chicken stock into a glass measuring cup and add the saffron and whisk together. Leaf for a few minutes to infuse. The saffron will bleed its deep orange colour into the stock.
  • Pour the stock into the pot and add the tomato paste, ras el hanout, ginger, pepper and a small pinch of salt. Mix well and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add the butter to the sauce and mix well. Turn up the heat and bubble gently for 8-10 minutes or until the sauce has reduced by half. Check the seasoning and return the chicken to the pot. Add most of the parsley and mix well.
  • Meanwhile, cook the vermicelli noodles according to the package instructions in a pot of boiling water. Once cooked, drain and return to the pan. Drizzle over the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and toss together with golden raisins and powdered sugar.
  • To serve the dish, divide the noodles between four serving bowls. Garnish with remaining parsley, almonds, chopped chicken skin and light dusting of cinnamon. Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 757kcal | Carbohydrates: 69.7g | Protein: 30.9g | Fat: 41.4g | Saturated Fat: 13.1g | Cholesterol: 141mg | Sodium: 418mg | Potassium: 708mg | Fiber: 3.2g | Sugar: 27.1g | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 2mg

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