Chicken Stew with Semolina Dumplings

Raz Rahav

2 hours

Serves 8

Chicken Stew with Semolina Dumplings on vintage white plate with pink flowers

Chicken Stew with Semolina Dumplings by Raz Rahav | Photographer: Itamar Ginsburg

Chef Raz Rahav says this chicken dish with vegetables and semolina dumplings is the only recipe his late mother knew how to make. He serves a soup inspired by it at the acclaimed restaurant OCD in Tel Aviv, but made the classic version at our House Pot lunch series where each week, a chef or home cook is invited to prepare a dish from home for lunch at Cafe Asif. 

The semolina and schmaltz dumplings in this dish are called kuklas. In North African Jewish homes, they are often part of Shabbat stews.  Here, they take on the flavors of the stew wonderfully. 

Check out more recipes from Cafe Asif’s House Pot project. 


For the tomato & garlic sauce:

4 juicy tomatoes

2 garlic heads, separated into cloves and peeled

½ teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon onion powder

1 heaping teaspoon sweet paprika

Salt, to taste


For the chicken:

6-8 chicken legs, whole or divided into thighs and drumsticks


For the vegetables:

2 zucchinis, cut into ½ inch (1 cm) slices

2 carrots, cut into ¼ inch (5 mm) slices

2 onions, cut into ½ inch (1 cm) slices

3 medium-sized potatoes, cut into ¼ inch (5 mm) slices


For the kukla (semolina dumplings):

1.1 lb (500 grams) ground chicken

10 ½ oz (300 grams) schmaltz

1 egg

1 flat teaspoon salt

¾ cup (150 grams) semolina

Chili oil or chili powder, to taste (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C), line a large deep-dish baking pan with parchment paper and grease with olive oil.
  2. Prepare the tomato sauce: Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and grind to a smooth paste.
  3. Place the chicken legs in a bowl, add half of the tomato paste and mix well to cover. Set aside.
  4. Line the baking pan with the sliced vegetables, arranging them so that they overlap like tiles. Sprinkle evenly with salt and black pepper and drizzle olive oil on top.
  5. Place the marinated chicken legs over the vegetables. Add more paste, but make sure it covers no more than half the vegetables’ height. If the paste is too thick add some water. Seal tightly with aluminum foil and roast for 1½ hours, until the chicken and vegetables are tender. They should still look quite pale.
  6. In the meantime, prepare the kukla dumplings: Mix all the ingredients in a bowl to a slightly sticky paste. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is done.
  7. Remove the baking pan from the oven and increase the temperature to 425F (220C). 
  8. Remove the aluminum foil and, using slightly wet hands, divide the semolina mixture into dumplings. Place the kuklas between the chicken pieces and return to the oven, uncovered. Roast until the chicken is deep brown and the kuklas are golden, 20-30 minutes.
  9. Serve hot.