Yemini chicken mandi smoked rice

Chicken mandi a Yemeni master piece of smoky rice with perfectly seasoned meat

Sorry for my lack of posting lately, we are in the middle of packing the house for our move back to Jordan and things are overwhelming, to say the least. To make up for my absence I am sharing a MUST try recipe if you are a fan of spices: Mandi our Arabic flavor recipe for the month of June.

Mandi is a traditional dish that originated in Yemen but slowly spread through the whole Arabic Peninsula and even made its way to the Levant and Egypt.
Mandi simply put is a smoky rice plad tht has three main components: meat( this can be chicken or lamb)  rice and spices but don’t let the humble trio fool you, the end result is anything but humble!
The word “Mandi” comes from the Arabic word nada, meaning “dew”, and reflects the moist ‘dewy’ texture of the meat. That moist nature of the meat is attributed to the unique cooking technique. Mandi is traditionally cooked in a special kind of oven. The tandoor which is usually a hole dug in the ground then lined with clay or a giant metal barrel that is buried in the ground. To cook the mandi, dry wood is placed in the tandoor and burned till the inside is super hot and all the wood burns down. The rice pot is then suspended inside the tandoor without touching the charcoal and well seasoned marinated meat is placed on a wire rack on top of the rice. After that, the whole tandoor is closed but an air vent is given to remove excess smoke.

mandi 4

The rice and meat are cooked low and slow using the residual heat in the oven. The steam from the rice helps in cooking the meat and the spices and fat that drip from the meat infuse the rice with more flavor. Add the smokiness from the burned wood and you’ve got a rice pilaf like nothing you have ever tried!

As you may have guessed from the cooking technique, Mandi is a festive main dish served on special occasions, such as Eid, weddings, and feasts.

If you are not one of the very few people who own a tandoor in their backyard, don’t despair, you can still enjoy this smoky pilaf in the comfort of your home using your oven.

Below you will find a detailed recipe along with the technique for cooking the mandi in your home oven. I do hope that you will give this one a try and if you do, let me know what you think of it.

Yemini mandi a masterpiece of smoky rice and perfectly seasoned chicken.jpg


Recipe by : Halima Sheikha

For the chicken marinade:
1 whole chicken, washed and cut into 4 pieces
3 Tablespoons yogurt
1 pinch Saffron (optional but recommended)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 Tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the rice:
4 cups basmati rice, soaked in water for 30 min with 1/2 teaspoon of salt then drained
2 tablespoons ghee
1 tablespoon oil
4 cloves of garlic
1 medium onion
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 green chili pepper (optional)
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
5 pods whole cardamom
1 tablespoon allspice berries
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 cinnamon sticks
2 bay leaves,
2 dried lemons
1 teaspoon whole cloves


  1. Mix all chicken marinade ingredients together and keep it in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours preferably overnight
  2. In a food processor or blender, combine the garlic, onions, tomatoes, chili and tomato paste and blend till smooth
  3. In a deep heavy bottom pot, heat oil and ghee and stir in cardamom,all spice, turmeric, dried lemons, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks and cloves until fragrant. Add the blended mixture and the drained rice.
  4. Stir gently, add 3 cups water

  5. Preheat the oven to 180 C
  6. Cover rice pot with foil sheet, make several holes in it. Top it with a metal rack

7.Place the marinated chicken on the metal rack on top of the rice pot

8.Cover the chicken with foil sheet and place the entire assembly in the oven and allow it to cook in the oven for 20 minutes.

9.Check on the chicken and rice. Add 3 more cups of water to the rice, stir gently then cover the rice pot again and top it with the wire rack and chicken but leave the chicken without the foil cover this time and return the assembly to the oven for 20 more minutes.

10. Check on the rice and chicken, the chicken needs to reach an internal temperature of 160C and the rice needs to absorb all the liquid and be cooked through.

11.Reseal the rice and leave it covered for 15 minutes and leave the chicken covered as well.

To get the smoky flavor: Use one foil sheet, make a small bowl-like shape (3-4 cm in diameter) out of it, Or you can use an onion shell instead. Fill it halfway with some oil , butter or ghee and then heat a small charcoal on a flame till glowing red and then dip the charcoal in oil in the foil cup and cover the pot tightly for 10 to 15 min

12.Fluff the rice with a fork and then ladle into a serving platter, place chicken on top and top it with fried nuts, fried raisins and some parsley leaves for a pop of color

13.Serve with dagoos tomato sauce (recipe below)and laban ayran drink.

Dagoos tomato sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion grated
2 cloves of garlic grated
1 green chili chopped finely (optional)
3 medium tomatoes grated
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt to taste

  1. In a pot over medium heat add the olive oil and onions and stir for 2-3 minutes
  2. Add the garlic and chili and stir for 1-2 minutes
  3. Add the tomatoes and stir for 3-5 minutes
  4. Turn off the heat, add the lemon juice and salt to tasteNotes: You can chop everything instead of grating but grating gives better texture and flavor
Chicken mandi a Yemeni master piece of smoky rice with perfectly seasoned meat



تتبيلة الدجاج

دجاجة مقطعة اربع قطع ومغسولة جيدا وبالسكين نعمل فتحات على قطع الدجاج حسب افراد العائلة

3 ملاعق كبيرة روب

صبغة الزعفران

1\4 كوب زيت نباتي

2 ورق غار

1 ملعقة صغيرة بابريكا

1 ملعقة كبيرة خل

1 ملعقة صغيرة هيل مطحون

1 ملعقة كبيرة ملح

1 ملعقة صغيرة فلفل اسود

3 فصوص ثوم مهروس

1 ملعقة صغيرة كركم

1 ملعقة صغيرة قرفة

نخلط البهارات كلها مع الروب والزيت ونتبل الدجاج فيها ونتركة ليلة كاملة او اقل شي 4 ساعات ونضل نقلب الدجاج حتى يتنكهة بالخلطة

مكونات الارز

4 اكواب ارز بسمتي مغسول ومنقوع مع 1\2 ملعقة ملح

زيت او سمنة

فحم مشتعل

مكسرات مقلية

تتبيلة الارز

4 فصوص ثوم

بصلة متوسطة الحجم

2 حبة بندورة مقطعة حمراء

1 قرن فلفل أخضر حار

2 ملعقة كبيرة رب البندورة

هيل , وفلفل اسود , وكركم , وورق غار , ولومي مجفف , شطة مجروشة حسب الرغبة , ملح

نضع جميع المكونات بالخلاط ونخلطهم جيدا وان كانت سميكة نضيف ماء قليلا

بالطنجرة نضع الزيت او السمنة ونقلب الهيل الحب وعود قرفة ولومي مجفف والمسمار حتى تتصاعد رائحتهم نضيف الخلطة الى خلطناها بالخلاط ونقلبها جيدا ثم نضيف الارز المنقوع ونقلبة جيدا ونضع ماء ولكن ليس كثيرا على سطح الارز فقط اقل من اوصفة العادية المخصصة لطبخ الارز

ثم نضع قصديرعلى الطنجرة ونعمل ثقوب بوسط القصدير ثم نضع شبك فوق القصدير ونضع الدجاج المتبل قبل بليلة على الشبك ثم نغطيها بقصدير ونحكم اغلاقة وندخلة الفرن لمدة 1\3 ساعة ثم نتفقدة ونتفقد الارز نزيل القصدير حتى يتحمر الدجاج وياخذ اللون الاحمر

نضع قصدير ونعملعا على شكل صحن او قشرة بصلة سميكة نضع بداخلها زيت نباتي ونضع الفحمة المشتعلة ونغلق الطنجرة بالقصدير حتى تتنكة بطعم الفحم

نسكب الارز بصحن التقديم ونضع الدجاج على الوجة والمكسرات ويقدم مع الدقوس البارد والساخن ولبن العيران

بالف صحة وهنا على قلبكم