Chicken Mandi, a traditional Yemen dish and it's popular among Arab Countries. You can now enjoy this popular Arabian food at home by following this simple recipe.
For making Hawaij Spice
- 1/ 6 tbsp Coriander seeds
- 1/ 6 tbsp Cumin seeds
- ⅛ tbsp Whole Black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp Whole cardamom
- 1 tbsp Whole cloves
- 2 inch slice Whole cinnamon
For marinating chicken
- 3 Lb or 1½ Kg Whole chicken
- 2 tbsp Hawaij spice
- Butter , melted- 3 tbsp
- ½ tbsp Turmeric powder
- ½ to 1 tbsp Ground pepper
- 2-3 tbsp Salt
For making Rice
- 2½ cups Basmati rice
- 1½ tbsp Oil
- Onion , chopped- 1
- 3 tbsp Whole cardamom
- 2 tbsp Whole cloves
- 2 Whole cinnamon
- 3 Bay leaves
- 4-5 Green chilies
- 1 tbsp Whole black peppercorns
- ¼ tbsp Turmeric powder
- 1½ Saffron strands- 1 tsp soaked in water (must add)
- 4½ Cups Water
- Salt- to taste
In a saucepan, roast all the ingredients for making the hawaij over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes or till aromatic. Do not burn the spices.
Let the roasted spices cool down and grind to a fine powder. Keep aside.
I used whole skin on chicken, you could use halved chicken if you prefer.
In a bowl, combine 2 tbsp hawaij with ½ tsp turmeric powder, ground pepper, salt and melted butter.
Using a brush, spread the spice rub inside the skin, over the chicken and also inside the cavity.
Place the chicken in a pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or marinate it overnight.
In a small bowl, soak the saffron in water for an hour. Keep aside
Place a large pot over medium heat, add oil.
Add onion, season with salt and cook till translucent.
Remove the pot from the heat.
Add whole cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, pepper corns, green chilies, turmeric powder, rice, water and enough salt. Combine well.
Baking the chicken and rice
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Place a wire rack over the pot with rice, and place the marinated chicken breast side down on the wire rack. By this way, the drippings from the chicken will fall over the rice. Make sure the pot is larger than the chicken.
Place the pot along with chicken on the lower rack in the preheated oven.
Cook for 15 minutes at 425 F.
After 15 minutes, lower the heat to 325 F and cook the chicken and rice for 1 hour.
After an hour, gently flip the chicken (breast side up) and again cook for another 45 minutes or till the chicken has browned and cooked well inside.
I slow cooked the chicken at 325 F for 1 hour and 45 minutes. The cooking time might vary based on the size of the chicken, so keep an eye.
Take the rice and chicken from the oven. Remove the wire rack from the pot, let the chicken cool down a bit.
Add the soaked saffron into the rice and combine well. Adding saffron is a must as this is what makes the rice aromatic and flavorful.
If the water in the rice hasn't dried up or if you feel the rice is too crisp, you could cook (stove top) the rice over medium heat for a few minutes till the water evaporates and the rice has turned just tender.
Spread the rice over a platter and place the chicken over the rice.
If you want you could garnish with roasted almonds.
Enjoy this authentic Chicken Mandi with your family.
Adding Saffron is a must.
How to cook on stove top: Cook the marinated chicken covered in a large pan. Rotate the chicken every 30 seconds and cook till the chicken has browned well. Cook the rice separately in a different pan. You could add chicken stock instead of water so the rice gets flavorful.