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Archive for the ‘Chicken’ Category


Chicken and Rice Biryani

This is a quick rice and chicken recipe. It’s like a biryani that I like to make on days when I am lazy and need to make something for lunch or dinner that won’t take much effort. It’s also one of those dishes that taste even better  the following days. So, be prepared for tasty leftovers. This is what you’ll need:

1) one small chicken cut into pieces –i.e cut into 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, 4 breasts 2 wings etc. All with bone in. If you opt to use boneless chicken  you’ll be missing out on some flavor. I’ve made it both ways, and prefer this with bone in.

2) a cup of yogurt

3) two small grains mastic

4) 4 whole cardamon pods

5) a cinnamon bark

6) 4 whole peppercorns

7) 1/2 tsp of ground cumin

8) 1/2 tsp of ground coriander

9) 1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon

10) 1/8 tsp of ground black pepper

11) 1/8 tsp of turmeric

12) 1/8 tsp of curry powder

13) salt to taste

14 ) 2 pinches of saffron threads –once pinch soak in about 1/4 of a cup of water

15) 2 tablespoons of ghee

16) 2 tablespoons of olive oil

17) 2 cups of basmati rice –washed

18 ) 2 medium sized onions thinly sliced

19) 4 cloves of garlic finely minced

20) a green chilly pepper cut vertically –optional.

Alright let’s start. in a frying pan under medium heat add the ghee and oil and saute the onions until they are golden brown.  Then add the chicken and let cook for about 3 minutes. Then add the garlic and let cook for another couple of minutes. In the meantime add cumin, coriander, turmeric, ground cinnamon, ground black pepper, turmeric, curry powder to the yogurt and mix well. Then add the mixture to the chicken. Add a pinch of the saffron as well. Let cook for 3 minutes and then add 3/4 cup of water and cover and let cook under medium heat for another 10 minutes. In the meantime pre heat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit and start to prepare the rice.

For the rice place a pot of hot water to boil. Salt the water and add the cinnamon bark, cardamon pods, peppercorns, and mastic and when it starts boiling add the rice. Let the rice cook under medium heat until it is almost cooked. So, it has a slight bite to it. Turn off the heat and run the rice through a sieve.

Now take an oven dish, or if your frying pan is deep enough and is oven safe take the cover off of the chicken mixture and later the rice on top of it. Then take the rice and form  a layer on top and drizzle the saffron soaks in water on top. Cover with foil and place in oven for 20-30 minutes. Serve hot with your favorite salad and pickled lemons.  Bon Appetit !

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My husband Khaled cooks for me once a year. The very first time he made this Kabsah [it’s the only thing he really makes besides steak] I was blown away with its deliciousness. It is quick, easy and does not sacrifice taste.  When I am crunched for time, this is what I usually make. I asked him where he learnt this and he told at the Yemeni Bachelor pad he stayed in before we got married. He added, “We made it every day! Different person every day but the same recipe.” What makes it convenient is that you can use any spice mix for this, but Hawayej Shirkah [mixture of ground cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamon, pepper, and sometimes turmeric] is the one typically used by Yemenis for this one. I am sure before Yemeni brothers migrate from Yemen their mothers, sisters or wives send them with a big bag of this mixed spice.  But you can use any spice mix–Garam Masala or even Biryani mixes work equally well. They usually use one pot that they can start on the stove and then place in the oven.

You will need [serves 4] :

1) 1 chicken or 1 lb of lamb cut into medium pieces. If you are using lamb then boil it until it is well done.

2) 1 cup and a 1/2 of rice half boiled [which means boiled until almost done, but not quite]

3) 1 tsp and a 1/2 of the spice mix of your choice

4) 2 clovers of garlic roughly crushed

5) 1 tomato roughly chopped

6) 1 green chilly pepper roughly chopped

7) 1 tblsp  of cilantro roughly chopped

8) 2 medium potatoes quartered

9) yellow / orange rice coloring

10) medium onion roughly chopped into slices

11) 2-3 tbslp of oil

Alright let’s begin! In the pot, under medium high heat, add the onion slices and let brown a little. Then add the oil and potatoes. When the onion has browned, add the meat, garlic, spice, tomatoes, green chilly, and cilantro. Let cook for 5 minutes and then add 1 cup of water and let cook until the potato is almost done [but not quite]. Layer all the rice on top. Sprinkle a little of the food coloring and about 2 tbslp of water and place in oven for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s done. Serve hot with your favorite salad.

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