Honduran Marmaón with Chicken

by: Suellen Pineda, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist


Marmaón con pollo is a dish representative of the culinary influence that immigrants of Arabic decent have had on Central American countries, including Honduras.  Marmaón—­similar but not equivalent to couscous­—is also made with hard wheat and shaped into small pearls, although couscous is shaped into much smaller pieces and cooks even faster.

Type: main dish

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 35 minutes

Difficulty: easy

Yields: 4-6


2 bone-in skinless chicken breasts with rib meat OR ½ chicken (dark and white meat)

2 cups of Marmahón (pearl couscous)

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

½ red bell pepper, chopped

4 garlic cloves, peeled

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter

2-3 carrots, peeled and diced

2 celery ribs, chopped

2 tsps. curry powder

1 bay leaf


salt and pepper to taste


Place chicken in a pot large enough to accommodate chicken with water without overflowing.  Add just enough cold water to cover chicken and bring to a boil.

Season with salt, ½ of green bell pepper, 2 garlic cloves (crushed), bay leaf, 1 celery rib and ½ of the chopped onion.

As soon as it starts boiling, lower the heat to medium and skim off foam that accumulates on the surface.  Cook uncovered for about 35 minutes.

Remove chicken from liquid and let cool before shredding.  Drain cooking liquid to separate solids.  Reserve liquid.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat, add butter.  Let foam subsides and add the rest of the onion, celery, remaining of green and red peppers and garlic.  Cook until onion turns translucent.

Add marmahón.  Stir for about 3-4 minutes.

Add carrots, shredded chicken, 3 ½ cups of the cooking liquid, curry powder. Check if it needs an extra pinch of salt.

Cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Let it rest for 2-3 minutes.

Garnish with cilantro leaves.

Note: the amount of liquid needed to cook Marmahón varies depending on the brand.  Always check cooking instructions on the product label.

Suellen is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in the Rochester, NY area.  Connect with her at suellenpinedaRDN@gmail.com or follow her on Instagram at @Suellen_Pineda