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Archive for the ‘Rice’ Category


Mandee is  one of those Yemeni recipes that can be made in a variety of way–this is just one of them. I’ll post them on my blog as I make them. You can make it with either chicken or lamb. There are restaurants all over the Arab and western world [we may have some in the states in Detroit/Michigaon] that are famous for their Yemeni Mandee, but if you don’t have one in your area don’t worry. You can make it at home.  Usually, in Yemen, this is made outside in the open air, in which a hole is dug in the ground on a bed of lighted natural coal, and the meat comes out looking, smelling and tasting unimaginably delicious.  We’re just two people–my husband and I– so the quantity as you see is small. But you can double, tripe or quadruple the quantity.

You will need:

1) 1/3rd of a leg of lamb–I asked my butcher to cut a leg of lamb into three parts and used the bottom part closest to the foot. Any nice looking piece works, but it has to be a little fatty. You can use a whole lamb as well if you like–as they do in Yemen–and usually they use one a couple of months old or so. Plus you want the bone in for flavor.

2) 1 cup of Basmati rice, washed and soaked for no more than 30 minutes or so.  Depending on the kind of rice you are using, you may end up soaking it too much and it might end up getting all mushy after you cook it. So, if you are not sure about this, then don’t soak it AT ALL, but do wash it until the water comes out clear.

3) 1 medium onion roughly chopped. Try and keep the peel of the onion aside, as you will need it to hold the lighted coal.

4) a few peppercorns (4-5)

5) 2 sticks of cinnamon

6) 1-2 dry lemons–optional, and make sure you poke it with a knife for the flavors to come out during cooking

7) 3 small grains of mastic–you can get this from Mediterranean stores, but remember to tell them not to give you the chewing kind.

8 ) 3 tblsp of ghee–you can use Olive oil if you don’t like the taste of ghee. But this makes it very aromatic.

9) Saffron (two pinches)–the best is the Iranian but it’s also very expensive, so if the Spanish fits your budget go for it. Make sure to soaked it in a little water–just enough to cover it. Optional: some also soak it in Orange Blossom Water –also available in any Middle Eastern store.

10) A small piece of natural coal–not the kind that is filled with chemicals for it to light. You can leave this part out, although it makes the dish very aromatic.

11) Salt to taste

12) Piece of foil–big enough to wrap the meat in.

13) 1 tsp of oil–any vegetable or Canola oil .

So, let’s start. In a pot, big enough to hold the meat, place the meat and add water enough to cover the meat entirely. Then place on high heat and  let boil. Remove the froth that collects on the surface, and keep on doing that until it stops. Now time to add the onion, some peppercorns, 2 grains of mastic and 1 cinnamon stick. Let boil until meat is tender. You can also use a pressure cooker if you like.

When the meat is cooked through–but still holds its shape. Remove the meat, and sieve the water. Keep the water, don’t throw it out, you will use some of it to cook the rice in.

Turn the broiler on, and place in the meat in the foil–drizzle with half of the ghee and half of the saffron. Also sprinkle with salt, and then wrap up in the foil and leave in the broiler to cook some more–about 30 minutes or the time it takes to cook the rice.

Now for the rice, add half of the ghee–about 1/2 tblsp– rest of the peppercorns, cinnamon stick and dry lemon and sautee a little. Add the rice, and fry for about a minute or so. Then add enough water to cover the rice, and place on low heat an cover and let cook. In the meantime, light the coal (I just leave it on a lighted stove top). When the rice has soaked up almost all of the water–add the rest of the saffron and drizzle the rest of the ghee and let cook some more until the rice is completely cooked through. Now to deal with the meat in the broiler. Open the foil, and let it brown on each side Once the rice is done, be careful it does not burn. Once it is well browned on all sides, and the rice is done. Place the meat on top of the rice.

This part is optional–make a little holder for the coal with the onion peel. Place in the pot and carefully place the coal on the onion peel, and  then add the 1tsp of oil and cover the pot immediately. Once the cloudiness dissipates. Open the cover and serve immediately.

For more photos of the dish click here: 

And here’s another one: 

Enjoy

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Rice and Chicken


You will need:

1) One whole chicken–cut into two equal parts (leave skin on)

2) 1 cup of rice (washed–do not soak)

3) 1 medium onion, finely chopped

4) 1 green chillie pepper–cut lengthwise (optional)

5) 5 tblsp of Olive oil

6) 2 tsp of ground cumin

7) 2 tsp of ground coriander

8) 1 tsp of ground cinnamon

9) sprinkle of cayenne pepper (optional)–for a non spicy version substitute with 1/3 tsp of paprika

10) 1/4 tsp turmeric

11) Salt to taste

12) a dried lemon pierced with a knife (whole)–substitute with half a lemon cut into thick slices.

13)  1 tblsp of lemon juice

14) 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar (or white distilled vinegar)

15) fresh ground pepper

Marinate the chicken with 1 tsp of cumin, coriander, 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon, cayenne (or paprika), lemon juice, 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar, 1 tbslp of olive oil,  salt, pepper, and 1/4 tsp of turmeric and leave in refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

To make the rice:

In a pot under medium heat add the rest of the olive oil, onions, salt and cumin. Sautee until browned. Add the rice, and fry a little–about 1 minute. Add the dried lemon, green chilly pepper, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and pepper, and add 1 cup of water. Cover and let cook under low heat. Once the water has dried (the rice will not be cooked through yet), turn off the heat.

Now take a piece of non-stick foil big enough to accommodate both the rice and chicken. Spoon all of the half-cooked rice and place the two pieces of chicken on top. Wrap the foil around the chicken very well, leaving no opening whatsoever.

Place as is, under a broiler (at medium) for an hour and a half. After that time, take out of the oven, and make sure the rice is cooked through. If so, then spoon the rice onto the serving platter.Place the two pieces of chicken under the broiler to brown on top. Serve immediately with a green salad and yoghurt.

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Stuffed Cornish Hen


Be generous with the spices for this dish, and it will soon become your family’s favorite. Serves  easily 2-4.

You will need:

1) one small Cornish hen–the smallest you can find.

2) 1 cup of rice (washed–do not soak)

3) 1 medium onion, finely chopped

4) 1 green chillie pepper–cut lengthwise (optional)

5) 5 tblsp of Olive oil

6) 2 tsp of ground cumin

7) 2 tsp of ground coriander

8) 1 tsp of ground cinnamon

9) sprinkle of cayenne pepper (optional)–for a non spicy version substitute with 1/3 tsp of paprika

10) 1/4 tsp turmeric

11) Salt to taste

12) a dried lemon pierced with a knife (whole)–substitute with half a lemon cut into thick slices.

13)  1 tblsp of lemon juice

14) 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar (or white distilled vinegar)

15) fresh ground pepper

Marinate the Cornish hen with 1 tsp of cumin, coriander, 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon, cayenne (or paprika), lemon juice, 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar, 1 tbslp of olive oil,  salt, pepper, and 1/4 tsp of turmeric and leave overnight.

To make the rice with which to stuff the Cornish hen:

In a pot under medium heat add the rest of the olive oil, onions, salt and cumin. Sautee until browned. Add the rice, and fry a little–about 1 minute. Add the dried lemon, green chilly pepper, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and pepper, and add 1 cup of water. Cover and let cook under low heat. Once the water has dried (the rice will not be cooked through yet), turn off the heat and carefully spoon the rice into the cavity of the Cornish hen, stuff it as much as you can. Close the opening with some toothpicks–use non-colored toothpicks. As for the remainder of the rice, keep aside for the next step.

Now take a piece of non-stick foil big enough to wrap the chicken. On the foil spoon some of the rice and place the chicken on top, then spoon the rest of the rice on the sides of the chicken. Wrap the foil around the chicken very well, leave no opening whatsoever.

Place as is, under a broiler (at hight) for an hour to an hour and a half. After that time, take out of the oven, open up the top and return to broiler to brown on top. Serve immediately with a green salad and yoghurt.

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This is a dish that my aunt Wafa taught me when I spent a week at her and my Uncle Ashfaq’s–long time ago when I was in Yemen. I loved it so much, and I have been making it every since. I always make them together–although you an make each on its own.

For the rice you will need (for 3 servings):

1) 1 cup rice–washed (do not soak)

2) 1tsp of red chilly paste (I usually soak dry red chillies overnight and then liquidize them to a fine paste–and I then store in the refrigerator in a air tight container)

3) 2 small yellow onions, diced

4) 1 green chilly pepper, finely chopped

5)1 tblsp of tomato paste

6) 1 medium tomato, finely chopped

7) 1 tsp ground cumin

8) 1 tsp ground coriander

9) 2tblsp of Olive Oil

10) Salt to taste

For the Curry Chicken you will need:

1) 4 pieces of chicken (skinless and bone in)–I used 2 thighs and 2 drumsticks

2) 2 medium sized yellow onions, finely chopped

3) 1 big potato quartered (more if you so desire)

4) 1tbsp of curry powder–less if you have the spicy kind

5) 2 cloves garlic, finely minced

6) 2 tblsp of finely chopped cilantro

7) 2 tbslp of Olive Oil

8) Salt to taste

To make the rice–

My aunt made the rice in a pressure cooker, and I have noticed that it is definitely tastier if you do so. But you can make in a regular pot. Place pot under medium heat , add the oil, onions and green chilly pepper and let brown. Then add the red chilly sauce, cumin and coriander and let cook for about 2 minutes. Then add the tomatoes and salt and cook until the tomatoes soften. Then add the tomato paste and let cook for one minute. You will end up with this red paste. Add the rice and mix well, and then cover entirely with hot boiling water, cover and leave on low until rice is cooked. Optional–toss with fresh chopped cilantro.

As for the chicken, very easy. In a covered pot, place all the ingredients for the  curry chicken. Mix well,  cover, and leave on medium heat for an hour or so–until the potatoes are cooked through and the chicken pulls from the bone, and the oil rises to the surface. Garnish with finely chopped cilantro. Serve with the rice above, or with bread.

May Allah (swt) grant my aunt Wafa Jannah for teaching me such a delicious and quick meal.

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Zurbiyaan


What is distinct in this dish is the taste of the most expensive spice in the world–saffron. In Aden this is a dish we usually make for special occasions–weddings and special guest. It is usually made with lamb but I have tried it with chicken and it turns out just as good. You have to be generous with the spices for this dish to turn out aromatic.

You will need:

1) a pound of lamb cut into medium pieces

2) 4 patatoes halved

3) 2 onions–sliced

4) 2 tblsp of regular white flour [I use organic unbleached white flour]

5) 2 tblsp of olive oil

6) tblsp of either balsamic vinegar (recommended) or white vinegar

7) 1 tblsp of lemon juice

8) 3 cups of basmati rice

9) 2 tblsp of ground cumin

10) 2 tblsp of ground coriander

11) a few pods of cardamon

12) a few peppercorns

13) a couple of cinnamon sticks

14) 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon

15) 1/4 tsp of black pepper

16) 1/4 of tsp of food coloring (orange)–half of which we will sprinkle on the rice.

17) about two pinches of saffron threads (one to marinate the lamb in and the other to sprinkle on top of the rice)

18) 1/2 cup of yoghurt or sour cream (whichever you prefer)

19) salt to taste

 

The night before you intend to make this dish, marinate the lamb and patatoes in ingredients 9-19 +lemon juice + balsamic vinegar + olive oil  . Deep fry the onions after coating them with flour, and add half of it to the marinated lamb mixture for flavor.  Place in an oven stoneware dish or pyrex (enough to accomodate the meat and 3 cups of half boiled rice) and refrigerate.

3 hours before your guests come, add 1 cup of water to the marinated lamb and cover (either with its lid or with foil. Place in a 350 F preheated oven for 2 hours, or until the lamb is tender. Make sure it does not dry out–if you feel it will then reduce the temperature to 300 F.

Boil some water with salt, a few peppercorns, cardamon pods, and sticks of cinnamon. Boil the rice until it is almost done. Drain the rice and leave aside.

When the lamb and patatoes are cooked through layer the rice on top. Sprinkle the rest of the saffron and food coloring. A little water–about a 1/4 of a cup evenly sprinkled. Distribute the rest of the fried onion on top of the rice and OPTIONAL : Take a piece of natural coal –about the size of a nickel or quarter. Light it up, and place in a nest made of the outer and first inner layer of an onion. Place in the middle of the pot , add a few drops of oil to the coal and cover and let the smoke permeate the dish. It will give it a nice smoky flavor. Then cook in the oven at 300 F for another hour–or until the rice is cooked through.

OPTIONAL : I like to add three dabs of butter or aromatic ghee on the face [surface] of the rice. It gives it an extra special aroma and taste.

We usually serve this dish with pickled lemons in red chillie sauce and with yoghurt on the side.

ENJOY :)

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Iranian Rice



This is a very flavorful rice that is a highlight on any lunch or dinner table.

For four people you will need:

1) 1 cup rice (half boiled and clean or any water)

2) 4 carrots grated

3) 1/4 cup of raisins (i use both yellow and black raisins–the combinations adds more color to the dish)

4) 1 tsp of fresh ginger grated

5) 1 cube of chicken buillion (i used Maggi)

6) 1 medium onion cubed

7) 3 tblsp of oilive oil

8) 1 jalapeno (or green chilly) quartered lengthwise

9) 1 tsp curry powder (or as desired, less if you would like it less spicy)

10) sprinkle of saffron threads

11) 2 tblsp of Orange Blossom Water

In a pan, sautee the onions in the olive oil. When they are golden brown add the grated carrots and the raisins and let the carrot reduced. Once the carrots are reduced, add the chicken buillion cube, jalapeno pepper, ginger, curry powder and 1/2 cup of water. Let it cook under medium heat until the sauce is thinckened-about 7-8 minutes.

Once it is ready. Then take an oven pan (3x3inches) and place the sauce at the bottom and spread the half cooked rice on top. Sprinkle the saffron and the orange blosson water and sprinkle about 3 tblsp of water and cover with foil. Place in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

Serve hot.

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Fish Biryani


I used Shan spice mix for this Fish Biryani. You can get a variety of Shan spices from either Middle Eastern or Indian stores. Nowadays Cub Foods and other retailers are also carrying them–although their variety is small.

You will need:

1) 2 7oz salmon steaks quartered (you can actually use any fish you like but you want one that holds up and does not break easily. Fresh tuna would be another good choice)

2) 1 1/2 cups of Basmati rice

3) one medium sized onion cut into thin slices

4) 3 small patatoes halved

5) 4 cloves of garlic minced

6) 2 tblsp of plain yoghurt

7) Juice of 1 whole lemon

8) 2 tblsp of finely chopped dill (DILL AND FISH ARE A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN)

9) 2 tblsp Oilive Oil

10) Salt for the water you will boil the rice in

11) 1-2 tblsp (depending on how spicy you would like it) of Fish Biryani Shan Spice Mix

Boil some water with salt–when it comes to a boil add the rice and let it cook until ALMOST done. Run it through a sieve and keep the rice aside while you make the sauce.

Sautee the onions and patatoes in the olive oil until the onions are golden brown. Add the fish, lemon, and spice mix together and let cook for about 3 minutes. Add the youghurt, 1 tblsp of dill, and 1/4 cup of water and let cook for about 5 minutes under low heat. THERE IS NO SALT IN THIS MIXTURE BECAUSE THE SHAN MIX IS ALREADY SALTY.

Once the fish is cooked through and the sauce has thickened. Take an oven dish (8x8in) and place the sauce in the bottom and the spread the rice on top. Sprinke with a little additional water (about a quarter of a cup as we need the half cooked rice to cook completely). Cover with foil and place in a 350 degree oven for about half an hour.

Spoon onto a serving dish, and gently toss so the two layers combine to give you the radiant orange and yellow hues that this dish offers. It is as pleasing to the eye as it is the palate. Sprinke with a tblsp of dill and serve with raiti (cucumber sauce)

For the raiti or cucumber yoghurt sauce–grate 4 baby cucumbers with a cheese grate and squeeze all the water out of it. You an put it in a sieve and squeeze it between your fingers. If you miss this step your raiti will become watery and flavorless. You can either use sour cream or yoghurt or a combination of both that I think works best.

Place the grated cucumber in a bowl, add 4 tblsp of yoghurt, 1 tsp of white vinegar, squeeze in a little lemon, sprinke of salt and pepper. Mix together and enjoy. you can also add some finely chopped cilantro, dill or mint.

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