I was very close to not getting my share of desserts from FF53 yesterday. A lot of party-goers asked me about the Chicken Mandi recipe and I couldn’t give them the complete recipe. I promised that I will be sharing the recipe soon. And that soon is today. 😉
Chicken Mandi is a recipe originated from Yemen (I asked my BFF, Google). It is some sort of a one-pot meal and similar to Biryani.
To enlighten you more, here’s what my BFF said:
“The main thing which differentiates mandi is that the meat is cooked in the tandoor (taboon in Hadhrami), which is a special kind of oven. The tandoor is usually a hole dug in the ground and covered inside by clay. To cook mandi, dry wood is placed in the tandoor and burned to generate a lot of heat turning into charcoal. Then the meat is suspended inside the tandoor without touching the charcoal. After that, the whole tandoor is closed without letting any of the smoke out.”
These days, this can be done inside the usual oven: the chicken is placed over a rack; under that, the rice is cooked in a stainless cooking pot or any oven-proof pot. Is it confusing? Okay, you will understand later as I will provide you the video of the source recipe. 🙂
Cooking this Mandi is a little challenging for me as I am not sure if my cooking pot can be used inside the oven and this is my first time to cook this kind of meal. Another thing is that I never made my own spice. For Mandi’ sake, I did my first ever spice mix. Hawaij is a traditional Yemeni spice from various ground spice mixtures. It is usually made from cumin, black pepper, turmeric and cardamom. But because I am scaredy cat, I did not include cumin in the spice I made.
Now, for the recipe:
Chicken Mandi with Rice
- a pinch of saffron threads soaked in 1-2 tbsp water
- 1 kg chicken, split into halves
- 1 tsp. hawaij spice mix (recipe below)
- 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tbsp butter, melted
- 4 cups of basmati rice
- water for rice (according to the instructions for your rice)
- 3 tsp salt (you may need less if you use less rice)
- 3 green chilis
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 4 cardamon pods
- 1/2 tbsp cloves
- 1/2 tbsp black peppercorns
- 2 tbsp oil (for the rice)
- a piece of natural coal
- bay leaves
- In a small bowl or container, place saffron threads together with 1-2 tbsp of warm water. Let sit until the color of the water turns deep orange. Cover and let sit while the chicken is marinating.
- Pat dry the chicken. In a bowl, mix hawaij spice, turmeric and melted butter. Rub chicken generously with this mixture. Cover the bowl and keep in the fridge overnight.
- In a large/wide cooking pot (dutch oven or stainless steel) with medium heat, add oil and saute onions.
- Preheat the oven to 425 F.
- Turn off the heat and add the rice, cardamom pods, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaf, chilis, salt and water.
- Place a wire rack over the pot of rice and place the chicken on top of the wire rack. Make sure that the size (in diameter) of the pot is larger than the chicken on top of the wire rack so the juice of the chicken doesn’t come outside the pot. (Is this clear? haha)
- Bake/cook for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 325 F. Continue baking/cooking for 1 hour or until juices in the thigh part run clear or until internal chicken temperature reaches 165 F.
- Remove from the oven let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before cutting.
- While waiting, stir the rice and add the saffron mixture.
- Cut up the chicken into pieces (if desired) and place it inside the pot of rice.
- To create a smoky flavor, place a small bowl with butter in the middle of the chicken and rice.
- Heat your coal and place it in the bowl with butter. Close the lid and leave it for 15 minutes.
For the hawaij spice mix:
- 6 1/2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 1/4 cup cumin seeds
- 1 1/2 tbsp green cardamom pods
- 1 1/2 tsp whole cloves
- 3 1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
- In a small skillet over medium heat, add all the ingredients except turmeric and toast until fragrant.
- Transfer to a grinder and finely grind. Mix the turmeric powder.
- Keep in an airtight container.
One of my 2015 resolutions is to explore more foods from other cultures. And I am proud to say that this dish will be on my list whenever there’s a celebration that’s going to happen.
Chicken Mandi can be served with blended fresh tomatoes with chili and yogurt. Also, this can be served with caramelized onions.
And I must say that caramelized onions is my new love. If I could marry it, I really would. ❤ (See here How to Caramelize Onions)
I hope you like the recipe. Enjoy! 😉