This perfect Chicken Mandi recipe will soon become your family’s favourite weeknight dinner. It’s juicy and flavorful, with bright and savoury rice.
A Winner of a Dinner.
Dinner doesn’t get much better than a heaping bowl of Chicken Mandi and making it is really quite simple. But, the question is how do you make the best Chicken Mandi? And how do you make it as simple as possible, so that you can enjoy it over and over for any occasion, and on weekdays with very little fuss?
Well, our perfect Chicken Mandi answers these questions. It’s simple, delicious—it’s a platonic ideal Chicken Mandi. End of story⏤unless you live in Yemen or have access to a tandoor oven and have 2 hours to cook this. Then that’s a different story with a few tasty ending.
Chicken Mandi 101
Maybe you’re wondering, Mandi, what? I’ve never heard of this dish. Or this dish isn’t from the Mediterranean! It’s from Yemen. Here’s the deal on Mandi:
- Originally it’s a Yemeni recipe, but it’s so delicious that it permanently migrated to Turkey, Levant, & Egypt and became a household recipe. Therefore in my humble opinion, it’s an Eastern Mediterranean dish now!
- The Trademark taste of mandi is it smoky essence from the tandoor oven. Home cooks use a red piece of charcoal, oil, and a small heatproof bowl to recreate this flavour.
- Hawaij spice mixture gives the rice and chicken a beautiful colour and it’s signature savoury taste.
- Pan dripping makes this dish—in other words, you must scrape all of the flavorful dripping bits from the bottom of the pan and add it to the rice.
- Other recipes recommend cooking the chicken over top of the rice in the oven⏤this can result in a high recipe failure and I don’t want that to happen to you.
- Sella basmati rice is the best rice to use for this dish or anyone who tends to over-cook or over-stir when making rice. Sella Rice is parboiled basmati rice so it cooks perfectly every time!
How to Make the Perfect Mandi Hawaij spice mix:
My perfect chicken mandi recipe calls for a spice called Hawaij. Hawaij is a popular spice blend in Yemen, Somalia and Isreal, there are a few different versions of the hawaij spice blend⏤savoury for rice and meats or sweet savoury blend for sweets and drinks. luckily for us, it’s so easy to make this hawaij spice blend.
You’ll probably have most of these spices on hand:
- Indian bay leaf or regular bay
- Black peppercorns
How Do You Make the perfect chicken mandi?
Chicken Mandi may seem difficult to make but truth be told it isn’t difficult to master, so don’t let it intimidate you.
The perfect Chicken Mandi is as easy as:
- Buy a chicken—any size or cuts will do! I’ve chosen to use drumsticks to speed up cooking time and make this a weekday meal.
- Prepare the Hawaij spice mixture.
- Season the chicken with the Hawaij.
- Bake the chicken in a preheated oven. Roasting the chicken in the oven doesn’t take terribly long, but the cooking time does depend on the size and or cuts of meat you’ve chosen.
- Make your rice, add the onions, ghee and spices. Then add the rice give it a stir, pour in the water and cover.
- Use the chicken’s pan drippings to create a fabulous “flavour booster” by adding it to your rice.
- Place the cooked chicken on top of the cooked rice.
- To create the signature smokey flavour. You’ll need a small piece of hot charcoal. Place a small heat-proof dish with oil in the middle of the rice and chicken. Drop the hot coal in the metal dish and very quickly cover the rice with a tight lid.