Arabic Chicken Mandi is an Arabic rice recipe served with grilled/steamed chicken, aromatic rice along with dry fruits. Eid is approaching and you might be thinking to make something new recipe this Eid, Arabic Chicken Mandi can be your choice.
I am sure everyone in the family will love this simple yet flavorsome rice dish. Usually, the Mandi is not spicy but as we Indians tend to have spicy taste buds we have made this recipe with a bit of spice.
Originated in Yemen and is famous among the whole Arabian Peninsula. Arabian Chicken Mandi is very much similar to our biryani but has a little difference.
Chicken cooked with the Tandoori Masala and served over a layer of dry fruited basmati rice along with the Arabic-style tomato chutney.
What Is Arabic Chicken Mandi?
This recipe is one of the most popular and loved dishes in Yemeni cuisine. It consists of three parts;- chicken, spice mix “Hawaij”, and rice. This is a chicken recipe hence the chicken is being used. However, any kind of meat is okay to use in this recipe. Arabic Mutton Mandi is equally popular and loved.
It is a Yemeni version of the chicken biryani we eat. Like regular chicken biryani, both the rice and chicken are cooked separately. However, the cooking process is significantly different.
Traditionally, this dish is cooked in an underground oven using coal. The oven was called a “Taboon”. The rice was cooked with the meat as well and it contained the flavors of all the juices emanated. Moreover, the meat too had a delicious smokey flavor because of the use of coal.
Apart from the cooking process, the spice mix is what gives the unique flavors of the dish.
This recipe is equally popular in Hyderabad and is believed to be best made there, in India.
Variations For Indian Style Arabic Chicken Mandi
Talking about variations, what we have made is itself a variation of this dish. We cooked the chicken in tandoori masala and the rice was simply cooked. In the original recipe, the rice is cooked in the juices released by the marinated chicken while being steamed. There is also the addition of the remaining spice mix in the rice with some water. We haven’t done it like that.
Another variation is to use the meat for the same recipe instead of chicken. As mentioned before, the Arabic mutton mandi is also a version of this dish. However, lamb meat is preferred as it is tender and juicier, goat meat can be used as well. You may need to rub the spice mix more and marinate the goat for a bit longer time than the chicken for a better taste.
Lastly, if you are not a meat/chicken lover or simply want to try a vegetarian version then this will be what you want to know. It is possible to make this with vegetables. That will not only be vegetarian but vegan as well. Make the dish with the same method and bake the vegetables. Potatoes, carrots, zucchini, bell pepper, and mushrooms will taste great.
TR’s Extra Shots:
- Add saffron water to the rice like in the Hyderabadi version.
- To make the spice mix add coriander seeds, cumin seeds, green cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, black peppercorns, nutmeg, and mace are powdered.
- You can keep the chicken skin if you like that. It helps retain moisture and tastes better.
- We are not adding the fried/browned onions but it is included in the original recipe. You can add that too if you like.
- Soak the rice before cooking them. It is a necessity, especially if you are making this with a traditional recipe.
- In the traditional recipe, the chicken is steamed over a strainer/tray placed in a vessel. A heavy bottom vessel is used in case of large amounts of this dish and then the chicken is fried. You can directly fry the chicken or cook it in the oven.
- Blackened lemon is added to the rice while cooking it for more flavor.