Dubai: Mandi is a traditionally Yemeni dish usually made from rice, meat (lamb or chicken), and a mixture of spices. The meat used is usually a young and small sized lamb to enhance the taste further
The meat should not be grilled, nor boiled. No oil should be used in cooking it. Mandi needs to be slow cooked, over four hours or so, in a hole in the ground, not fully sealed but covered nevertheless. The meat needs to be fresh, not frozen, and either Jazeeri or Indian.
Once the meat is ready, it should be served on the rice with a tangy and sour sauce. It is usually garnished with nuts. Traditionally Mandi was cooked in a hole dug in the desert. It is also eaten with hands on the floor.
Here are our picks for the best Mandi in Dubai
1. Al Jood Mandi
Al Jood is considered one of the best mandi restaurants in Dubai. They have delicious and well flavoured rice, chicken, lamb and sauces. The grilled chicken mandi is one of the top options to choose. If you want to have an authentic Yemeni food experience then make your way down to Mirdif.
Location Next to Uptown Mirdif Center, Near Lifco Supermarket, Mirdif Cost Dh45 for Meat Mandi Timings Open daily from 12pm to 11pm Contact 04 2888724
2. Maraheb Restaurant
A few minutes after this piece went live, we received a frantic phone call from a colleague explaining how Maraheb, a mandi spot in Al Safa, needs to be on this list. Maraheb has friendly staff, large portions and is always packed during lunch time. They also serve half portions as well, in case you can’t manage to finish an entire Mandi.
Location Al Safa and multiple locations Cost Dh54 for Mandi Meat Contact 04 3469996
3. Wadi Doan Restaurant
The Madfoon lamb with rashosh bread is a great option to order when dining at Wadi Doan in Al Garhoud. If you have enough room for dessert, try the date fattah with cream and honey.
Location Golf Park Building, Garhoud Cost Dh65 for Lamb Mandi Timings Open Daily from 7.30am to 11pm Contact 04 2999330
4. Bait Al Mandi
The recently renovated restaurant has one of the best mandis in town. Their serving of one mandi dish is great for two people. The delicious sauce has a nice sour taste and is made with tomato, chili and other veggies. With your meal you also get a yogurt and a small plate of fresh vegetables. Most people compliment Bait al Mandi on their quick and friendly staff and service.
Location Near Grand Mart, Al Muraqqabat, Dubai Cost Dh45 for Lamb Mandi Timings Open daily from 10am to 2am Contact 04 2629139
5. Al Yemen Mandi
This isn’t a place you go to for the ambiance. You go for the real deal food. They say the chicken mandi is the best item to try on the menu, as the meat of the chicken is juicy and the rice is super flavourful. The main course is usually paired with a humungous piece of mulawah bread, which is a warm fluffy cloud topped with sesame seeds.
Make sure you also try the cream kunafa when you’re done with the meal. Al Yemen Mandi is a favourite among many, because of its affordability.
Location Behind Grand Station, Hor Al Anz, Dubai Cost Dh45 for Meat Mandi Timings Open daily from 7am to 2am Contact 04 2662207
A great option if you want a quick meal at a food court without having to drive to old Dubai. The mandi meat at Mandilicious is served on a bed of rice, already falling off the bone. The rice is rich with the flavours of the meat over which it was slow cooked.
What Mandilicious brings to the table for mandi lovers is accessibility and authenticity. They are available in over 9 destinations across the UAE, including Ibn Batuta Mall, Sahara Centre, Arabian Centre, Fujiarah Mall and Bab Al Sharq in Abu Dhabi. At the start of Ramadan, an outlet opened at Jebel Ali food court, while another at Festival City.
Location multiple Cost Dh49 for Lamb Mandi (Dh25 for Chicken) Timings Daily from 10am to 10pm Contact 800 818181
7. Zam Zam Mandi
Dining at Zam Zam Mandi starts with soups and salads followed by the main course, which would be the Mandi. They specialise in lamb Mandi and serve it along with spicy tomato chili. They also serve camel meat, if you wanted to be adventerous and try something different.
Location Near Za'abeel Park Gate 3, Al Karama Cost Dh47.25 for Lamb Mandi (Dh23.10 for Chicken) Timings Daily from 12pm to 12am ontact 04 3706777
8. Nour Al Madar Mandi Restaurant
It's always a safe bet going to a place that focuses just on Mandi. This spot serves a flavourful mandi dish with lamb. They don't have a chicken option. They make their mandi super traditional and serve it with a bunch of sides and complementary appetisers.
Location Ground Floor, RDK Building, Dubai Investment Park 1 Cost Dh49 for Lamb Mandi Timings Daily from 12pm to 12am Contact 04 8874888
Or just make it at home
How to make Mandi:
Courtesy of Chef Hanna Dib, Na3Na3, the Address Dubai Mall
Serves 4 | Preparation/cooking time: 2 hours | Difficulty: medium
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp grounded cardamom
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cumin
11/2kg lamb shanks
2 tbsp ghee
3 medium onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, diced
5 cups lamb stock
2 dried black lemons
1/2 cup sultanas
1 piece lit charcoal
Fried nuts, to garnish
Parsley, to garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. In a large bowl, mix all the spices with a little oil. Rub about half the mixture on the lamb.
3. Heat the ghee in a pan and sauté the onion and garlic until lightly golden. Add the lamb and cook on both sides until golden brown. Remove the lamb and set aside.
4. To the same pan, add the rice with the rest of the spice mixture. Add the stock, dried lemons and sultanas.
5. Once it boils, transfer everything to a baking dish and cover with foil. Prick holes in the foil with a fork and place the shanks on top. Cover again with foil and bake for 75 minutes.
6. When done, uncover and place a small bowl holding the lit charcoal in the dish. Sprinkle with butter or oil and replace the foil. Leave to rest so the rice absorbs the smoky flavour.
7. Serve the lamb on the rice garnished with nuts and chopped parsley.