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Archive for the ‘Rice’ Category


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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Since Aden is a coastal region, we eat fish pretty much on a daily basis. We also have many rice and fish dishes. This one is called “Sayadiyyah Hindiyyah” which literally means “Indian Fish and Rice” maybe because the locals picked it up from the Indian communities in Aden . It’s one of those dishes , that you have to make a lot of the components separately and then assemble and cook together for the grand finale.

Here are the instructions with pictures to help in the process: 

1) Fry a medium onion,  by first cutting into slices, mixing in one tblsp of flour, and then frying in oil until browned. Take out and let drain of oil on a paper towel.

Check if oil is hot!

2) Quarter a big potato and brown in oil [you do not want it to cook through, you just want it browned on the outside, so make sure the oil is hot enough. Take out and keep aside.

3) 3 pieces of salmon. Each piece was the size of my palm and about 3 fingers thick. If it’s very thin it can break easily. You want fish that will withstand the cooking. We also use King Fish for this dish, but I couldn’t find it fresh.  Marinate the fish in some red chilly pepper sauce [Bisbas Adani], 1/2 tsp of ground coriander, 1/2 tsp of ground cumin, salt to taste, 2 cloves of garlic finely minced. Fry the fish in 3 4 -5 tbslp of oil until browned on the outside. Take out and keep aside.

4) In the meantime,  half boil a cup and a half of rice in salted water. Keep your eye on it, lest the rice cook through. Drain the water from the rice, and leave aside.

half-boiled rice

5) In a pot add 3 tbslp of olive oil and fry a medium thinly sliced onion until golden brown.

Onions browned

6) Add 1 tbslp of red chilly sauce

7) Add 2 cloves of finely minced garlic to the onion.

8 ) Add the spices:

a) 1/4 tsp of tumeric

b) 1 tsp of ground cumin

c) 1 tsp of ground coriander

d) 1/8 tsp of ground cardamon [or a 4 crushed pods]

e) 1/2 ground cinnamon

Add salt to taste and let all of these come together–or as my mother says “enjoy the aroma of the spices coming together’

9) Add one small diced tomato

10) 1 tsp of tomato paste and let the sauce thicken.

11) Now it is time to assemble. In an oven safe dish, first layer is the sauce. Arrange the fish on top of the sauce, then the potatoes and half of the browned onions. Then all of the rice comes on top. To finish it off, sprinkle some orange or yellow food coloring, a quarter of a cup of water, and 2 tbslp of olive oil on top. Cover with foil and place in 350 degree preheated oven for 30 minutes. 

Serve and enjoy!

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You will need:

1) 1 cup of rice (just washed and not soaked) )

2) 2 cups of shrimp

3) 1 onion thinly sliced, covered in flour and deep fried until well browned (be careful that you do not burn it)–once the onion slices are browned let them cool and then grind them (you can use a mortar and pestle) and add one cup of warm water to the mix, a pinch of ground cloves ,and a pinch of ground coriander.

4) one potato cut into the same size as the shrimp

5) few pods of cardamon (2-3 just cracked open)

6) 2 tsp of ground cumin

7) 1/2 tsp of black pepper

8) 2 tsp of ground coriander

9) 3 cloves of garlic finely minced

10) 3 tblsp of Olive Oil

11) salt to taste

12) one medium onion diced

13) 1 small tomato finely chopped

14) 1/2 tsp of tomato paste

15) salt to taste

 Place a pot on medium heat, add Olive Oil and fry onions with  just until it is golden brown. Add potatoes and  cook for 1 minute. Add cumin, coriander, pepper and salt to the shrimp and mix well and add to the pot and cook until shrimp turns pink. Add the tomato and tomato paste and cook until the tomatoes have softened. Now, add the rice and pour the deep fried onion mix and add about 1/2 cup of water for the rice to cook. Taste the water, if it is not salty enough add more salt. Leave under low heat until the rice is cooked through.

Serve on a platter with this sauce:

Dice up a small tomato and put in a bowl, add 2 tblsp of tahini paste, with 2 tblsp of yoghurt, 1/4 cup of water, 1/4 cup of white vinegar, salt to taste. Mix well and enjoy with this dish.

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White Rice [Roz Abyad]


If you are married to an Arab man from a region where rice is eaten often [almost daily basis], making rice can be a dilemma if every day is a surprise ranging from perfect to reactions such as, “Is this rice or Aseeda!” This rice recipe will help overcome those days when your rice is mistaken for Aseeda. No more surprises from now on, rather consistency. So pay attention!

Serves 2 comfortably and maybe even 3: 

1) 1 cup of Basmati rice [washed] DO NOT SOAK

2) Salt to taste

3) 2 pods of cardamon cracked open

4) 2 cinnamon sticks

5) a few peppercorns

6) 1-2 tbslp of extra virgin olive oil or canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Bring water to a rolling boil. Add salt [make sure it’s enough, since this is the only time you will be salting the rice], cardamon, peppercorns, cinnamon sticks and let boil for a minute or so. We want the water to acquire the flavor and scent of these spices.  Add the rice and let boil until almost done–‘almost done’  means that when you bite into it you feel it needs about a minute or two to be completely cooked through. Turn off and drain water. In the same pot [if oven proof/if not then use a casserole dish] add one tblsp of olive oil to the bottom , add the rice, sprinkle about 2  tblsp of water onto the rice, and the rest of the olive oil. Cover and place in oven for 20 minutes. The finished product as they say in Aden comes out, “With each rice on bad terms with its neighbor” :) which means that it comes out restaurant style.

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This biryani is one of my favorites –my guests loved it too. For six people you will need:

1) 4 pounds of lamb–cut into medium sized pieces.

2) 3 medium onions thinly sliced

3) 5 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered

4) 4 tblsp of Oilive oil

5) 1 tsp of minced garlic

6) 1tsp of minced ginger

7) optional 1-2 green chilly peppers–cut lengthwise

8 ) 2 medium tomatoes finely diced

9) 3 tblsp of chopped cilantro, the more the merrier–for garnish

10) 2 tbslp of yogurt [plain–whole or fat free]

11) Shan Mutton Biryani mix [can buy at your local Indian or Middle Eastern store].

12) A few threads of Saffron

13) 3 cups of rice–half boiled.

Boil the meat in water–you can add a bay leaf to it if you like–until almost tender. In a deep pan add the oil, and once warn sautee the onions until golden brown. Then add the potatoes and let cook for 2 minutes. Add the lamb, 2 tblsp of the Shan mix spice, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, green chilly pepper, yogurt, and 1 tblsp of the cilantro. Let the flavors blend under medium heat for about 5 minutes. Then add a cup and a half of water, and let simmer for another 3 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Place in an  oven dish, big enough for the sauce and the rice. Place the sauce at the bottom, layer the rice on top, sprinkle with the saffron and about 1/4 cup of water.  Cover well with foil, and place in oven for 20-30 minutes when the rice is cooked through. Garnish with the rest of the cilantro and serve with yogurt and cucumber salad, chutney [blend a tomato, green chilly pepper, 3 tblsp of cilantro, lemon juice and salt] and a green salad.

Enjoy

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Rice and Cabbage


This is a very quick meal to make, unbelievably delicious, and healthy. Can’t say that about a lot of meals for sure. Serve it with a green salad.

You will need:

1) 2 cups of cabbage, roughly chopped [more if you prefer]

2) 1/2 cup of ground beef or turkey [I used turkey for this recipe]

3) 1 cup of rice [I used Egyptian rice from the Middle Eastern store]

4) 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon

5) 1/4 tsp [or less if you like] fresh ground pepper

6) salt to taste

7) 1 tblsp of olive oil

Under medium heat, in a pot add the olive oil and once warn add the ground beef or turkey. Brown it well, then add the cabbage and let it wilt. Add the spices–ground cinnamon, pepper, salt–and let cook for another 2 minutes. Add the rice, enough water to cover it entirely and leave under low heat until the rice is cooked, and the water has evaporated entirely. Serve hot, with a salad.

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I made another Mandee today, but this time with chicken. We’re just two people as I mentioned, and since I cook everyday I only make what we eat on a particular day. I don’t like having any leftovers, so my quantities are measured. So, you can double, triple or quadruple according to the number of members in your family. I usually measure 1/2 cup of rice per person, if you are not serving anything else. Otherwise it is 1/4 cup of rice per person.

For two servings you will need the following:

1) Half of a whole chicken–literally cut in half and leave the skin on. Or you can use a whole Cornish hen.
2) One cup of rice, washed
3) 2 dried lemons (available at the Middle Eastern stores)
4) one whole green hot pepper–you can slice it through the middle
5) 2 tsp of ground cumin
6) 2 tsp of ground coriander
7) salt to taste
8) 1/2 tsp of black pepper
9) 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
10) a couple of pepper corns
11) a cinnamon stick
12) a couple of cardamon pods
13) 1/2 tsp of tumeric
14) 4 tblsp of Olive Oil
15) a medium onion finely chopped

Marinate the chicken–it turns out better if you do it the day before–but you can also marinate it on the same day. Use half of the oilive oil, cumin, coriander, black pepper, and cinnamon powder. All of the tumeric. Add salt. Cover every nook and cranny of the chicken with this mixture.

Place a pot on medium heat, and add half of the oil, onions and half of the cumin and enough salt for the rice. When the onions starts to turn a golden brown add the green hot pepper, dried lemons, rice, half of the coriander, black pepper, cinnamon powder, cardoamon,cinnamon stick, and pepper corns. Mix well and let the spice mix with the rice by stirring for about 2 minutes.

Add hot water (2 cups) to the rice. Take a piece of foil and fold once and cover the mouth of the pot tightly. With a fork pierce the foil randomly. Place the spiced chicken on the pierced foil. Then take another piece of foil and cover the chicken. Make sure you cover it well so no steam escapes. Leave on very very very low heat–one you can hardly see– for about 45 min-1 hr.

After half an hour take the foil off and place the chicken under the broiler to brown, and finish cooking if it hasn’t already.

To serve, place the rice on a platter and arrange the chicken on top. Serve hot. Goes well with a green salad.

More pics of the dish: 

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