Chicken Mandi, a traditional Yemeni dish from Hadhramaut, is a delightful blend of meat and rice, seasoned with a unique mix of spices. This recipe showcases how to prepare Chicken Mandi, a popular variation in Arabian cuisine. Featuring tender, roasted chicken combined with aromatic rice, it's an ideal choice for both lunch and dinner, often accompanied by raita.
While traditionally prepared with red meat, this version uses chicken, offering a milder yet still richly flavored experience. The distinctive cooking technique involves using a tandoor, lending the dish its characteristic smokiness. This recipe provides a simple way to recreate those traditional flavors, including a method for infusing smokiness using charcoal.
Chicken Mandi is an excellent choice for gatherings and parties, seamlessly blending with a variety of dishes, making it a memorable centerpiece for any meal.
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Arabian Chicken Mandi
To Marinate Chicken
- 4 Chicken Leg, slited
- 1 tsp Chili powder
- 1 tsp Ginger garlic paste
- 1 tsp Coriander powder
- ½ tsp Turmeric powder
- ¼ tsp Cumin Powder
- ½ tsp Black Pepper Powder
- 2 tbsp Curd, yogurt
- ½ tsp All spice powder
- ½ tsp Lemon juice
- 1 tsp Salt, as needed
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
To Prepare Rice
- 1 cup Basmati rice, soaked for 30 minutes
- 1 Onion, chopped
- 1 Tomato, chopped
- 1 tsp Ginger, grated
- 3 Garlic cloves
- 3 Green chili
- 1 tsp Chili powder
- 5 Cardamom
- 1 Cinnamon stick, a small piece
- 1 Bay leaves
- 3 cloves
- ¼ tsp All Spice Powder, you can also substitute with biryani masala
- 1 tsp Cashews and raisins
- Salt, as needed
- 2 cups Water
- 2 tbsp Olive oil, or butter, or ghee
- 1 cube Chicken Bouillon
- 1 Barbecue Charcoal Briquette
To Prepare Chicken
- Start by mixing all the marinade ingredients in a bowl to whip up the flavorful mandi marinade.
- Marinate the chicken legs with this mixture, ensuring they're well-coated. Let them rest for 30 minutes to absorb the flavors.
- Next, place the chicken legs on a greased oven tray.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for about 40-45 minutes. You're looking for a beautiful golden-brown finish.
- Once done, take the chicken out of the oven. They should be perfectly cooked and ready to enjoy.
To Prepare Rice
- Blend onion, tomato, garlic, ginger, and green chili to a smooth paste and set aside.
- Heat oil or ghee in a pan over medium heat, add cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, bay leaves, and chicken bouillon. Sauté until fragrant.
- Stir in the blended paste, chili powder, and allspice powder, and cook until the raw smell disappears.
- Add soaked basmati rice, water, and salt to the pan.
- Cook the rice until it's 70% done – the edges and middle should start bubbling, and the rice grains should break when pressed.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and let the rice cook for another 10-15 minutes, or until it's fluffy. While the rice cooks, fry cashews and raisins in oil or ghee and set them aside.
- Remove the rice from heat and top it with the oven-grilled chicken legs. Garnish with the fried cashews and raisins.
- For the smoky flavor, heat a small piece of charcoal using tongs until it's hot. Place it in a small cup, pour a teaspoon of oil over it to produce smoke.
- Set the cup inside the rice pan, cover tightly with foil or a lid, and let it sit for 5-7 minutes to infuse the smoky tandoori aroma into the mandi rice.
- Carefully uncover the pan, revealing the aromatic and smoky Chicken Mandi. Serve this delicious dish hot, accompanied by your choice of sides or a refreshing veggie salad, to complete this rich and flavorful culinary experience.
Chef's Notes and Tips
- Marination Time: For the chicken, longer marination enhances flavor. If possible, marinate overnight in the fridge for deeper flavor penetration.
- Quality of Rice: Use high-quality basmati rice for its long grains and fragrant aroma. Ensure the rice is properly rinsed and soaked for optimal texture.
- Balancing Spices: Be precise with spices like cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon. They are potent and can overpower the dish if used excessively.
- Uniform Chicken Pieces: Ensure the chicken pieces are of uniform size for even cooking. If using different cuts, be mindful of varying cooking times.
- Monitoring the Rice: During the 70% cooking phase, keep a close watch to prevent overcooking. The rice should be slightly firm before the final steam cooking.
- Creating the Smoky Flavor: Be cautious when handling hot charcoal for the smoky flavor. It should be a quick process to infuse smoke without overpowering the dish.
- Resting Time: Allow the dish to rest after adding the smoky flavor. This helps the aromas to settle and blend well.
- Garnishing: Use fried nuts and raisins for a crunchy texture contrast. Fresh herbs like coriander or mint can add a burst of freshness.
- Food Safety: If storing or reheating, ensure proper temperature management to maintain food safety.
- Experiment and Enjoy: Feel free to tweak the recipe to suit your taste preferences. Cooking is an art, so enjoy the process and the delicious results!
Disclaimer: We’re not nutrition experts. Nutritional info is estimated and should be used as a guide. For precise details, consult a professional.
Explore our diverse collection of rice and chicken recipes. Delve into aromatic rice dishes that showcase global flavors and enjoy succulent chicken dinners, featuring tender thighs and breasts. Perfect for those eager to taste a rich variety of culinary traditions.
Chicken Mandi pairs wonderfully with a variety of sides and accompaniments to enhance its flavors. Here are some excellent pairing suggestions:
- Raita: A yogurt-based condiment with cucumber or mint, raita adds a cool, refreshing contrast to the spices in Chicken Mandi.
- Salad: A simple Middle Eastern salad, like Fattoush or Tabbouleh, can offer a fresh, crisp addition to the meal.
- Grilled Vegetables: Char-grilled vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant complement the smoky flavors of the chicken.
- Hummus: This creamy chickpea dip, served with pita bread, makes for a great starter or side.
- Pickles: A selection of pickled vegetables, like cucumbers, carrots, or olives, can add a tangy element to balance the meal.
- Lentil Soup: A warm, comforting lentil soup can be a hearty and nutritious start to the meal.
- Bread: Traditional Middle Eastern bread like Khubz (Arabic flatbread) is perfect for scooping up rice and sauce.
- Desserts: For dessert, consider serving Baklava or Kunafa, which are sweet, syrupy, and a delightful end to a rich meal.
To ensure the freshness and safety of your Chicken Mandi leftovers, follow these storage suggestions:
- Refrigeration: If you have leftover Chicken Mandi, store it in an airtight container and refrigerate it promptly. Ensure that the dish has cooled down to room temperature before refrigerating to prevent condensation inside the container.
- Separate Ingredients: If possible, separate the chicken and rice before storing. This makes it easier to reheat individual portions later.
- Use within 2-3 Days: Consume the leftovers within 2-3 days to maintain their quality. Beyond this period, the flavors may start to degrade, and the dish might not be as enjoyable.
- Reheating: When reheating, you can use a microwave for smaller portions or a stovetop pan for larger quantities. Adding a little water to the rice can help prevent it from drying out during reheating.
- Freezing (Optional): While it's best to consume Chicken Mandi fresh, you can freeze it for longer storage. Place the cooled dish in an airtight, freezer-safe container, and label it with the date. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
- Thawing Frozen Chicken Mandi: To thaw frozen Chicken Mandi, transfer it to the refrigerator the night before you plan to reheat it. This gradual thawing helps maintain the dish's texture and flavor.
- Reheat Thoroughly: When reheating frozen Chicken Mandi, ensure it is heated thoroughly to kill any potential bacteria. Use a food thermometer to check that it reaches a safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) recommended by FDA.