2 chicken breasts, with or without skin
750 ml hot water
400 gms basmati rice, rinsed and strained ½ tbsp salt
For the marinade
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp Bahraini spice mix (a roasted blend of equal measures of coriander seeds, cumin seeds, ginger powder, garlic powder, red chilli powder, cinnamon powder)
¼ tsp turmeric
½ tbsp salt
1/3 cup (80 ml) vegetable oil
For the spice-mixed sauce
25 gms ginger purée
5-6 fresh curry leaves or 1 bay leaf ¼ tsp turmeric
1 preserved lemon, chopped or 2 black dried limes, cut in half and de-seeded
2 medium red onions, chopped
2 red or green chilies (optional), finely chopped
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp Bahraini spice mix (a roasted blend of equal measures of coriander seeds, cumin seeds, ginger powder, garlic powder, red chilli powder, cinnamon powder)
1 chicken stock cube
2 tsp garlic purée
3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
1 lemon, cut into wedges
50 gms coriander, chopped
50 gms dill, chopped
1. For this you can use two chicken breasts, as noted, or, more traditionally, we take a whole chicken and cut it into its parts. Marinate the chicken with black pepper, Bahraini spice mix, turmeric and salt.
2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan or casserole and fry the chicken over a medium-high flame until lightly brown on both sides. Remove it off the flame and place it on a plate and cover.
3. For the spice sauce, turn the heat to a medium and fry the ginger and curry leaves in the same oil.
4. Stir well, then add the turmeric followed by the preserved lemon or dried limes. Cook for 3 minutes then add the onion and the chilli (if using) and continue to cook for about six minutes, until the onion is golden brown.
5. Add all of the dry spices for the sauce along with the stock cube. Stir for a few minutes to thoroughly combine with the onion then add the garlic purée, bring the heat to a low and then add the chicken. Add the chicken using the same saucepan, so as to get it thoroughly coated and then add the tomatoes, chopped herbs and pour hot water. Bring it to a simmer, cover and cook it for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Now remove the chicken and set aside.
6. Mix the rice into the sauce along with the salt. The liquid should be no more than 1.5cm above the rice, so remove some of it if necessary.
7. Cook over a medium heat until half the liquid has evaporated, and then place the chicken on top of the rice. Cover with a tightly fitting lid and cook over a low heat for 15 to 20 minutes until all of the liquid has evaporated and the rice is cooked through.
8. Remove the chicken to a plate, give the rice a gentle stir then empty it onto a large serving dish. Top the rice with the chicken and garnish with the lemon wedges and the remaining chopped coriander and dill. Serve with tomato daqoos relish.
Note: In case you cannot prepare the traditional Bahraini spice mix, you can use the ready-made mix available across supermarkets in the UAE.