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A big serving platter of mandi garnished with chopped parsley.
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5 from 3 votes

Chicken Mandi

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.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
1+ hours for marinating1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Middle East, Yemeni
Diet: Halal
Servings: 6
Calories: 657kcal
Author: Amira


  • 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