Yemen's national dish of aromatic rice and meat, here is an easy chicken mandi recipe. A one pot chicken and rice dish that cooks right in your oven.
- 3-5 pounds chicken bone-in, skin-on
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1/3 cup oil
- 1 tablespoon Hawaij spice mix
- 1 pinch saffron
For the rice
- 2 cups basmati rice 385g
- 3 cups water 710ml
- 1 each cinnamon stick
- 2 each bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorn
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 3-4 whole cardamom pods
- A mix of sweet and chili peppers to your liking
- 1 salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon ghee, butter or oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves (optional)
- 2 medium dry limes (Loomi) (optional)
- 1 piece charcoal (optional)
Marinate the chicken:
Place the chicken on a wide dish and sprinkle both sides with salt.
In a small bowl add oil and Hawaij spice.
With your fingers crush the saffron threads over. Mix everything well.
Brush the chicken in and out with all the mixture, cover and refrigerate for an hour and up to 24 hours.
Make the rice:
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a deep oven dish add rice, cinnamon, bay leaves, cardamom, peppercorn, coriander, salt and any optional spices you choose to add. Mix well.
Put in the peppers and ghee then pour in water.
Place a wire rack on top and arrange chicken pieces. Or Double wrap your dish as in the video with heavy duty aluminum foil and poke several holes with a toothpick. Place chicken on top.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake until done. You need to make sure that the internal temperature reached a minimum 165F measured with a meat thermometer.
After it is done, remove the top foil and put under the broiler for 5-10 minutes until the chicken is nicely browned and crisp.
To smoke infuse the Mandi:
Heat a piece of charcoal over and open flame until it is burning hot.
Remove the chicken and remove the foil it was placed on.
Place chicken right over the rice.
With tongs carefully place the charcoal in a small heatproof bowl and put it in the middle of your dish.
Pour a tablespoon of oil over the hot charcoal and quickly cover the whole dish tightly with aluminum foil.
Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes to make sure the rice and chicken are infused with the smoke.
Remove the chicken and fluff the rice to mix in color, remove the whole spices then spoon rice on a serving large plate topped with broiled chicken.
- It is tradition to add the spices whole to the rice. I did not add the cumin seeds because I knew my kids would not like it and it is hard to pick them off afterwards.
- Chicken in Mandi is usually not very flavorful that's why it is usually served with red Zhoug sauce to spice things up a bit.
- Some people add ginger garlic paste and lemon juice to the chicken to spice it up too.
- You can place a rack over the rice then put the chicken over and cover everything with aluminum foil. Else use the method described above, a piece of aluminum foil may be used. Poke a few holes in it to allow the juice from the chicken into the rice as they both cook.
- In place of a heatproof bowl, you can also use a few layers of aluminum foil shaped into a small bowl. Place the foil bowl into the Mandi dish. Lay the coal inside.
- Dispose of the coal after running it under water to ensure it's completely cool. You may even want to leave it in a heatproof area for a couple of days to be sure.
Calories: 657kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 305mg | Potassium: 365mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 229IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 2mg