Bahrain - Machboos
So many spices went into this dish, both to the chicken and risotto styled rice. Very flavorful and just a hint of spiciness to add to the flavor, not take away from it.
The awesome part is the rice has a risotto like consistency. And the chicken… it’s versatile. You can either let it simmer with the rice, or you can broil it (or grill!) to get some char on it. Delicious overall. Great flavors.
4 chicken thighs
2 onions, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
14-oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup rice, rinsed and washed
2 tablespoons butter
3-4 tablespoons oil
1-inch ginger, minced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp turmeric
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lime
1/2 tsp saffron
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp chili
Note: you won’t need the full amount of Baharat spice that you make separately, so you can either just use a teaspoon of everything, or set it aside for later use.
Mix 2 tablespoon of the Baharat spice with 1 tablespoon of turmeric. Set half aside, and mix the other half with salt. Rub the salt mixture on the chicken. Let side for about 15 minutes.
Heat a large pot on medium-high heat and add oil. When the oil is shimmering and hot, add the chopped onion and sautee for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pot and sprinkle with half of the cinnamon and all of the lime zest. Fry the chicken on both sides until golden.
Cover and set the heat too low. Let it cook for an additional 3 (yes, three) minutes.
Add the garlic, ginger, and diced tomatoes to the pot. Add salt and half of the chopped cilantro. Remember the other half of the Baharat spice you set aside? Add that to the pot as well, mix, and cook for 3 minutes.
Add water, and raise the heat to medium. When the water starts to boil, lower the heat again to low, cover, and let it cook for 45 minutes. When it’s done, remove the chicken.
Add rice to the sauce and cook for roughly 2-3 minutes. Add more water, enough to cover the rice. (At this point, make sure to turn your oven on to broil.) Raise the heat to medium, and let it cook, making sure to occasionally stir to avoid the rice sticking to the pot.
When the rice has a bit of a risotto consistency, add butter and lemon juice. Give it a good stir and remove the pot from the heat.
At this point, your broiler should be ready. Mix a little bit of oil with a dash of cinnamon. Give it a good mix and brush the chicken. Add to the broiler and let it go for about 5 minutes. Serve!
Note: this works best with thighs and drumsticks with the skin. You can also let the chicken completely simmer in the rice if you’d like.
Recipe adapted from Spice Traveller.