Chicken Machboos translates to 'engaged' in Arabic. Chicken and rice are cooked together using spices on low heat. This dish is also popularly known as Kabsa in the UAE and can be prepared with lamb, chicken or seafood. The spice mix has sharp and flavourful tones of cloves and nutmeg, whereas turmeric powder gives the rich yellow colour.
Food by Gulf News brings a step-by-step guide to making this rice-based dish from the kitchen of Al Bait Alqadeem.
Serves 8 to 10
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
4 chicken leg pieces
1.5 kg basmati rice (pre-soak in water for 30 minutes)
500 gms onion
250 gms tomatoes
2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste (equal measures)
Handful of chopped coriander
1/2 bowl clarified butter or ghee
3 tsp Arabic spice or baharat (dry roasted black pepper, paprika, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
3 pieces loomi (dried lemon)
Handful of fresh coriander
4 pcs small cinnamon stick
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp clove
Salt to taste
1. Heat a saucepan, add clarified butter or ghee, loomi, cinnamon sticks and black pepper. Let the whole spices mix well with the ghee. Sauté for three to four minutes on medium-high heat.
2. Add chopped onions to it and sauté until they turn golden brown.
3. Next, add ginger-garlic paste and sauté until the sharp flavour begins to mellow. Then add the chopped tomatoes and cook for three to four minutes.
4. Begin adding all the spice powders. Add baharat, garam masala, turmeric powder, coriander powder and mix them well.
5. Add freshly chopped coriander and give it a good mix. Then add the chicken pieces to it. Add warm water to the mix, cover the pan with a lid and let it cook.
6. Let the spices absorb well into the chicken and let it cook for 30 minutes on medium heat.
7. After 30 minutes, add potatoes, salt and give it a good mix. After three to four minutes remove the chicken and keep it aside.
8. Add salt to taste and stir the mix well.
9. Remove the chicken pieces onto a plate and keep it aside.
10. Now, add the soaked rice, chopped coriander and mix them well.
11. Stir the rice well and let it cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the water gets absored and the rice becomes dry.
12. Once done, add the cooked chicken back onto the rice and sprinkle some chopped coriander leaves.
13. Seal the pan with an aluminum foil and cover it with a lid. Cook for 20 minutes on slow flame. This way of air-sealed cooking is called dum and is a common cooking method to make different types of biryani.
Serve hot and enjoy!
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