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chicken mandi rice

Chicken mandi rice, a one-pot rice dish that makes you want to serve more and more.

Fragrant rice cooked in Arabic spices and chicken broth with dewy, juicy chicken parts(hence the name”mandi”).

Smoked and served with tangy tomato-coriander sauce and fresh sliced cucumber, it’s a meal for any gathering or festive occasion.

Cooking chicken mandi rice at home

Mandi is made with Basmati rice, cooked in chicken broth and a middle eastern spice mix.

The chicken quarters used to make the mandi rice are first boiled in water with the spices to make the chicken broth.

This broth is then used to cook the rice while the chicken quarters are baked and grilled, then layered over the rice.

Although the original Yemeni mandi rice would require a special kind of tandoor oven, we will be recreating the same method of cooking using our ovens at home.

Once all the elements of the chicken mandi rice are done, a piece of burnt charcoal in a small container is placed inside the cooked mandi rice, covered tight to add a smoky flavor to both the rice and grilled chicken.

What is mandi rice?

Mandi rice is basically a rice and meat dish popular in all of the middle eastern regions, despite the rice being a Yemeni dish.

What makes mandi rice so special, is the spice mix used, the method of cooking the rice and meat, as well as the smoking at the end.

The step-by-step instructions with images will show you how to cook and get a somewhat similar chicken Mandi rice that you’ve eaten in the middle east.

If you’ve ever lived in the middle east and have had mandi rice then you know how Mandi rice tastes. it’s a perfectly balanced meal that looks easy to make, yet it’s not.

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Beginner’s tips on making chicken mandi rice

Read the recipe at least once or twice to really understand the process as you will find some of the steps of cooking the rice and preparing the chicken happens simultaneously.

Ingredients for making chicken mandi rice.

  • Mandi spice mix
    • Before you start cooking the Mandi rice, make sure to have all the ingredients.
    • While most of the ingredients to make mandi rice can be found, the one ingredient that is important to make this Arabic rice is the dried black lime which adds, its own subtle flavor which is not tangy or tart as regular fresh lime.
      It’s that ingredient if you don’t know what it is, you’ll be wondering”hmm..what was that taste?”.
    • black dried lime can also be found in powdered version.
    • If you are wondering what black dried lime tastes like then this article on what is black dried lime explains the flavor composition.
    • You can also make your own black dried lime.
  • If you are unable to find the black dried lime then the next closer substitute would be sumac.
  • You can also buy this Yemeni spice mix if you want to buy a store-bought version. I’ve personally not tried it but it includes most of the spices and extra.
  • Type of rice to use-Mandi rice tastes best when cooked with basmati.
  • Chicken parts-while you can use a whole chicken or different parts of the chicken to make the mandi rice, what works best is quarter leg of the chicken with skin on.
  • Chicken broth- the chicken broth for mandi is made with the same parts you will be baking later.
    Although you will need only the exact quantity of chicken broth, I would advise to make 1/2 cup extra just in case. if you don’t need to use it, you can use the extra broth to cook rice another day.
  • While making the mandi rice, make sure NOT TO MAKE THE FOLLOWING MISTAKES.
    • Avoid adding more than the reccomended amount of spices mentioned here. Avoid experimenting on your first go of this recipe.
    • Avoid rushing the whole process of cooking mandi rice, you will at least need 2 and 1/2 hours or 3 hours to prepare mandi rice.
      In real time, if you are serving lunch around 1:00p.m then start at least at 10:00 am with the prep work.
    • Keep an eye on the rice, you can always correct the doneness of undercooked rice by adding broth as it cooks but not overcooked soggy rice.
    • While cooking the rice the heat should be between medium low and really low heat at the end.
    • Again do not overcook the rice.
Frequently asked questions regarding chicken mandi rice.
  • Where do I find black lime?
    • check all the middle eastern stores around your area or the aisle with special spices from around the world.
      For my Sri Lankan readers,
      • the only place I was able to find the black lime was at Navalanka(not affiliated to them). You might have to do a little black lime hunting as most are not familiar with it and answer you with a,”no, sorry, we don’t have it”.
  • Can I still cook the mandi rice without the black lime?

Yes, yes you can and should.

Although the dried black lime is what you need for the original recipe, you should still make the mandi rice so when you have this ingredient, making this Arabic rice dish will be a breeze. It’s still a really tasty rice dish to try.

How much chicken broth to make for mandi rice.

Here’s how much water should be added to the chicken parts to make the broth.

As mentioned earlier, please add an extra 1/2 a cup to be used only if needed.

I have based the quantity of rice to broth using the common ratio for rice and liquid which is.

1:2 ratio which means, for every 1 cup of rice add 2 cups of water. In turn, you will get 3 cups of cooked rice. 1:2:3 ratio

  • For 2 cups of rice-
    • 4 cups exactly and an extra 1/2.
    • This will yield six cups of cooked rice which can serve 4-5 individuals, depending on how much an individual usually consumes.
  • For 2 and 1/2 cups of rice
    • 4 and 3/4 cup exactly and an extra 1/2 a cup.
    • This will yield, 7-8 cups of cooked rice which can serve 6-7 individuals.
    • This is how much I have to make for my family of 6 which now includes 4 adults, 1 teen and an 11 year old. I have a little leftover that ends up being eaten for dinner. Only the rice as the chicken quarters are usually gone at lunch time.

More rice recipes

Egg roast biryani

Indian fragrant ghee rice

Hyderabadi biryani

garlic and egg fried rice

Utensils and appliances needed.

  • small grinder for the spice mix.
  • Large wide cooking pan with lid
  • Baking pan or sheet
  • Aluminum foil
  • Large bowl or jug to hold the chicken broth
  • Tongs
  • Small container to hold the charcoal

Workflow to make the chicken Mandi rice.

  1. Have all the ingredients ready for each part of the recipe.
  2. Defrost chicken at least an hour early before making the broth.
  3. Make the spice mix(make this a day ahead to ease the workload).
  4. Make the chicken broth.
  5. Remove chicken from the broth, bake, and grill.
  6. As the chicken bakes, fry the rice with the spices and then cook rice with the chicken broth.
  7. Place the baked, grilled chicken over the layer of rice.
  8. Smoke the rice.

RECIPE DIFFICULTY-LITTLE CARE NEEDED

How to make chicken mandi rice

Please make sure to read the recipe instructions carefully to avoid mistakes.

Ingredients.

The ingredients mentioned below use standard measuring cups and spoons.

To make the mandi spice mix(see beginner’s notes on the spice mix)

1 whole black dried lime(here’s a video I found on how to make your own black dried limes if substituting with sumac use 1 tablespoon of the powder)

1 tablespoon of black peppercorns

1 tablespoon of coriander seeds

2″ piece cinnamon

1 tablespoon of cumin seeds

4 cloves

4 cardamoms

1 tablespoon of ginger powder

1 tablespoon of paprika

1 tablespoon of curry powder

1 teaspoon of grated nutmeg

To make the chicken broth

1kg of whole chicken quarter legs with skin on

1 and a 1/2 teaspoon of mandi spice mix(above spice mix)

1 teaspoon salt

2 medium-sized onions sliced fine

1/4 teaspoon cumin powder

1/4 teaspoon coriander powder

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper powder

1/4 cayenne(substitute with chilli powder)

4 and 1/2 cups of water

To brush over the chicken parts

2 tablespoons of butter

1 tablespoon of garlic powder

To cook the Mandi rice

3 tablespoons of butter

1 teaspoon of peppercorns(do not substitute with powder)

1 large onion sliced fine

3 cloves of garlic minced

3-star anise

3 bay leaves

1″cinnamon piece

1 whole black dried lime(substitute with 1 teaspoon of black lime powder or 1 teaspoon of sumac)

2 cups of basmati rice

To smoke the rice

1 tablespoon of ghee(substitute with melted butter, olive oil, any non-fragrant light oil)

Method

Prep work before starting to cook the mandi rice

  • Have all the ingredients ready as per each process of making the mandi rice(making the spice mix, making the broth, baking the chicken, cooking the mandi rice). This will ease your workflow.
  • Cover a baking tray with aluminum foil with the edges slightly raised.
  • Have an extra piece of foil cut to fit the cooking pan lid to be used later.
  • Have the butter and garlic powder mix ready in a bowl to brush over the chicken parts.
  • Wash and have the basmati rice ready, do not soak in water.

How to make the Mandi spice mix

If you have the black lime powder or you are substituting it with sumac then proceed to the grinding instructions. If using whole black lime then,

Before you start grinding the spices, take the dried black lime, break it using a pestle and remove all the seeds.

Add the broken pieces of black dried lime into your grinder, followed by, black peppercorns(1 tbsp), coriander powder(1 tbsp), cinnamon(2″ piece), cumin seeds(1 tbsp), cloves(4), cardamom(4),ginger powder(1 tbsp), paprika(1 tbsp), curry powder(1 tbsp), grated nutmeg(1 tsp).

Grind all the ingredients to make a spice powder and store in an air-tight spice jar to be used as needed.

How to make the chicken broth

Wash, clean, and place the chicken parts in a large cooking pan.

Add the onion slices(2 medium), mandi spice mix(1 and 1/2 tsp), cumin powder(1/4 tsp), coriander powder (1/4 tsp), cayenne pepper(1/4 teaspoon, can substitute with red chilli powder), salt(1 tsp).

Pour in the water(4 and 1/2 cup).

Stir to combine with the spices. Check for salt seasoning, add more if needed.

Cover and simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes.

Once you have the chicken broth, let it cool for a few minutes(10 minutes)

Gently transfer the broth into a large jug or bowl to be used later.

How to Bake and grill the chicken parts for mandi rice

Preheat oven to 170C

Use a tong to transfer the chicken parts onto a baking tray covered in foil and raised edges.

Brush the butter and garlic(2 tbsp butter mixed with 1 tbsp garlic powder) mixture onto the chicken parts.

Bake the chicken legs for 40 minutes. Turn them over at the 20-minute mark and continue to bake the chicken parts.

While the chicken bakes you can move on to making the mandi rice.

How to cook the chicken mandi rice

Use the same pan you cooked chicken broth if the pan is wide and not too deep.

Add butter(3 tbsp), sliced onions(1 large sliced fine), minced garlic(3 cloves). Cook until onions turn soft and translucent.

Add peppercorns(1 tbsp), cinnamon piece(1″ piece), star anise(3), bay leaves(3), slightly bruise the whole black lime before you add it, and then cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. (substitute with 1 teaspoon of black lime powder or 1 teaspoon of sumac).

Add an extra tablespoon of butter, let it melt, and then add the washed basmati rice(2 cups) into the pan.

Gently fry the raw rice for 2 minutes over low-medium heat while combining the spices with the rice.

Pour just 4 cups of the chicken broth you made into the pan.

Check for salt seasoning. If the broth has adequate salt then leave it as it is.

Cover and cook over low medium heat until there is no moisture left in the rice. This will probably take you about 20-25 minutes depending on how much heat you use.

Reduce heat to low once the broth is absorbed completely.

At the last stages of cooking the chicken mandi rice, check the rice grains.

If the rice is almost cooked and has a slight bite to it then, cover with the lid and let the remaining heat cook the rice. Use only a fork to gently fluff the rice to avoid breaking the grains.

If you notice that the rice grain is still raw in the middle, has a grainy texture as you bite into it, and needs to be cooked a little longer, then pour ONLY 1/4th cup of the remaining extra 1/2 a cup of broth you made, cover and cook over very low heat until the rice reaches a fluffy consistency.

When the rice is cooked to the desired texture, leave the lid open and remove the rice pan from the stove as you don’t want the rice to cook further, fluff the rice gently with a fork.

Once you are done with the rice, you’ll notice the chicken parts are almost baked.

Before grilling the chicken, pour all the chicken dripping into a bowl, move the chicken to another plate if you have to if it helps to collect as much dripping as possible as they have a lot of flavors.

Then brush the chicken with butter and place them in the oven and set it to grill for 12 minutes on each side.

Now pour the dripping into the cooked or cooking rice.

How to add smoky flavor to the mandi rice

Now that you have cooked the rice perfectly and the chicken parts are baked and grilled.

Even out the rice in the pan and place the chicken parts around, leaving a little space in the middle.

Burn a piece of charcoal until hot and ready. Use charcoal that is not covered in silver covering for best results.

Pour ghee(1 tbsp, substitute with melted butter, olive oil, any non-fragrant light oil) over the burnt charcoal.

As soon as you see the smoke rising,

Place an aluminum foil and cover with a tight lid. The mandi rice will absorb the smoke. Leave covered for at least 3-5 minutes.

And you have a delicious chicken mandi ready for lunch or dinner. serve with some fresh cucumbers or pickled veggies including radishes and carrots.

There is a special tomato and coriander sauce that is a must side dish to serve with the mandi rice, I will link the recipe here once I’ve posted it.

Meanwhile, serve with fresh spicy tomato salsa which has similar elements to it

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chicken mandi rice

chicken mandi rice

Yield: 5
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes

Chicken mandi rice, a one-pot rice dish that makes you want to serve more and more.

Fragrant rice cooked in Arabic spices and chicken broth with dewy, juicy chicken parts(hence the name”mandi”).

Smoked and served with tangy tomato-coriander sauce and fresh sliced cucumber, it’s a meal for any gathering or festive occasion.

Ingredients

The ingredients mentioned below use standard measuring cups and spoons.

  • 1 whole black dried lime(here’s a video I found on how to make your own black dried limes if substituting with sumac use 1 tablespoon of the powder)
  • 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
  • 2″ piece cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 cardamoms
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger powder
  • 1 tablespoon of paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon of grated nutmeg

To make the chicken broth

  • 1kg of whole chicken quarter legs with skin on
  • 1 and a 1/2 teaspoon of mandi spice mix(above spice mix)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 medium-sized onions sliced fines
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper powder
  • 1/4 cayenne(substitute with chilli powder)
  • 4 and 1/2 cups of water

To brush over the chicken parts

  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder

To cook the Mandi rice

  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 teaspoon of peppercorns(do not substitute with powder)
  • 1 large onion sliced fine
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 3-star anise
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1″cinnamon piece
  • 1 whole black dried lime(substitute with 1 teaspoon of black lime powder or 1 teaspoon of sumac)
  • 2 cups of basmati rice

To smoke the rice

  • 1 tablespoon of ghee(substitute with melted butter, olive oil, any non-fragrant light oil)

Instructions

Prep work before starting to cook the mandi rice

Have all the ingredients ready as per each process of making the mandi rice(making the spice mix, making the broth, baking the chicken, cooking the mandi rice). This will ease your workflow.

Cover a baking tray with aluminum foil with the edges slightly raised.

Have an extra piece of foil cut to fit the cooking pan lid to be used later.

Have the butter and garlic powder mix ready in a bowl to brush over the chicken parts.

Wash and have the basmati rice ready, do not soak in water.

How to make the Mandi spice mix

If you have the black lime powder or you are substituting it with sumac then proceed to the grinding instructions. If using whole black lime then,

Before you start grinding the spices, take the dried black lime, break it using a pestle and remove all the seeds.

Add the broken pieces of black dried lime into your grinder, followed by, black peppercorns(1 tbsp), coriander powder(1 tbsp), cinnamon(2″ piece), cumin seeds(1 tbsp), cloves(4), cardamom(4),ginger powder(1 tbsp), paprika(1 tbsp), curry powder(1 tbsp), grated nutmeg(1 tsp).

Grind all the ingredients to make a spice powder and store in an air-tight spice jar to be used as needed.

How to make the chicken broth

Wash, clean, and place the chicken parts in a large cooking pan.

Add the onion wedges(2), mandi spice mix(1 and 1/2 tsp), cumin powder(1/4 tsp), coriander powder (1/4 tsp), cayenne pepper(1/4 teaspoon, can substitute with red chilli powder), salt(1 tsp).

Pour in the water(4 and 1/2 cup).

Stir to combine with the spices. Check for salt seasoning, add more if needed.

Cover and simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes.

Once you have the chicken broth, let it cool for a few minutes(10 minutes)

Gently transfer the broth into a large jug or bowl to be used later.

How to Bake and grill the chicken parts for mandi rice

Preheat oven to 170C

Use a tong to transfer the chicken parts onto a baking tray covered in foil and raised edges.

Brush the butter and garlic(2 tbsp butter mixed with 1 tbsp garlic powder) mixture onto the chicken parts.

Bake the chicken legs for 40 minutes. Turn them over at the 20-minute mark and continue to bake the chicken parts.

While the chicken bakes you can move on to making the mandi rice.

How to cook the chicken mandi rice

Use the same pan you cooked chicken broth if the pan is wide and not too deep.

Add butter(3 tbsp), sliced onions(1 large sliced fine), minced garlic(3 cloves). Cook until onions turn soft and translucent.

Add peppercorns(1 tbsp), cinnamon piece(1″ piece), star anise(3), bay leaves(3), slightly bruise the whole black lime before you add it, and then cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. (substitute with 1 teaspoon of black lime powder or 1 teaspoon of sumac).

Add an extra tablespoon of butter, let it melt, and then add the washed basmati rice(2 cups) into the pan.

Gently fry the raw rice for 2 minutes over low-medium heat while combining the spices with the rice.

Pour just 4 cups of the chicken broth you made into the pan.

Check for salt seasoning. If the broth has adequate salt then leave it as it is.

Cover and cook over low medium heat until there is no moisture left in the rice. This will probably take you about 20-25 minutes depending on how much heat you use.

Reduce heat to low once the broth is absorbed completely.

At the last stages of cooking the chicken mandi rice, check the rice grains.

If the rice is almost cooked and has a slight bite to it then, cover with the lid and let the remaining heat cook the rice. Use only a fork to gently fluff the rice to avoid breaking the grains.

If you notice that the rice grain is still raw in the middle, has a grainy texture as you bite into it, and needs to be cooked a little longer, then pour ONLY 1/4th cup of the remaining extra 1/2 a cup of broth you made, cover and cook over very low heat until the rice reaches a fluffy consistency.

When the rice is cooked to the desired texture, leave the lid open and remove the rice pan from the stove as you don’t want the rice to cook further, fluff the rice gently with a fork.

Once you are done with the rice, you’ll notice the chicken parts are almost baked.

Before grilling the chicken, pour all the chicken dripping into a bowl, move the chicken to another plate if you have to if it helps to collect as much dripping as possible as they have a lot of flavors.

Then brush the chicken with butter and place them in the oven and set it to grill for 12 minutes on each side.

Now pour the dripping into the cooked or cooking rice.

How to add smoky flavor to the mandi rice

Now that you have cooked the rice perfectly and the chicken parts are baked and grilled.

Even out the rice in the pan and place the chicken parts around, leaving a little space in the middle.

Burn a piece of charcoal until hot and ready. Use charcoal that is not covered in silver covering for best results.

Pour ghee(1 tbsp, substitute with melted butter, olive oil, any non-fragrant light oil) over the burnt charcoal.

As soon as you see the smoke rising,

Place an aluminum foil and cover with a tight lid. The mandi rice will absorb the smoke. Leave covered for at least 3-5 minutes.

And you have a delicious chicken mandi ready for lunch or dinner. serve with some fresh cucumbers or pickled veggies including radishes and carrots.

There is a special tomato and coriander sauce that is a must side dish to serve with the mandi rice, I will link the recipe here once I’ve posted it.

Meanwhile, serve with fresh spicy tomato salsa which has similar elements to it

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 891Total Fat: 46gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 230mgSodium: 897mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 7gSugar: 4gProtein: 65g

Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

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