Rice is the most important food crop of the developing world and a staple food for more than half of the world’s population. It is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates to sustain good health being rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. There are many different types of rice with several qualities, suiting different consumer preferences. Quality factors in rice relate to the length of the grain, stickiness, aroma, texture, and flavour.

Although cooked in several different ways, on their own, they are extensively used in a wide variety of food. The egg whites help give volume, thicken, bind mixtures, glaze surfaces and the egg yolks help to emulsify.

Oryza Sativa (Asian rice) – contains two groups: indica (long-grain) and japonica (short-grain). Other types of Asian rice include glutinous rice and aromatic rice.

Oryza Glaberrima (African rice) – includes short and long grain varieties.

To learn more about the different types of rice, you can go through the introductory lesson - Rice… A Full Meal In A Pot!

Rice Recipe of the Day - The Chicken Mandi

The Chicken Mandi

About Chicken Mandi

The word “Mandi” “المندي‎” in Arabic, is a traditional Yemeni dish from Hadhramaut in Yemen and very popular all over the Arabian Peninsula including Egypt and Jordan. It is also a favorite among the Hadhrami people in the Malabar region of Kerala, India.

The word “Mandi” comes from the Arabic word 'nada', meaning dew, and actually describes the moist 'dewy' texture of the meat.

Mandi is made from rice, meat (lamb or chicken), and a mixture of mild but intense spices. The main thing that differentiates the Mandi is that the meat here is traditionally cooked in a special earthen oven called Taboon in Hadhrami.

The Taboon is usually a hole dug into the ground and covered on the inside with clay. To cook Mandi, dry hardwood is placed in the Taboon and then burnt with intense heat, allowing the hardwood to turn into charcoal. The meat is then suspended inside the Taboon without touching the hot charcoal below, after which the Taboon is carefully closed, so as not to let the smoke out.

Raisins, pine, or peanuts are normally added to the rice as garnish, these are to one's taste. Mandi is considered as a special main dish and generally served during special events, such as Eid, weddings, and feasts.

This Dish

The rich juices of the perfectly cooked and tender chicken get soaked up with the spiced rice that results in a delicious and delicate flavorful dish.

Recipe Card (to serve 4 pax)

Ingredients Quantity
Chicken leg (thigh & leg attached) 2 pieces
For the Marinade
Garlic (minced) 2 tbsp
Lemon juice 1/2 cup
Chili powder 1/2 tsp
Black pepper powder 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder 1/2 tsp
Ginger powder 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder 1/2 tsp
Salt as required
For the Rice
Basmati rice 1 1/2 cups
Ghee 1 tbsp
Onions (sliced) 2 medium
Water 2 1/4 cups
Cardamom pods 5 pieces
Cloves 5 pieces
Cinnamon stick 1 piece
Saffron 1/4 tsp
Chicken stock cube 1 cube
Salt as required


Method of Cooking

1. Preheat oven to 220˚C.

2. In a bowl, add the chicken and marinate with minced garlic, lemon juice, black pepper, chili pepper, cumin powder, ginger powder, coriander powder, and salt. Marinate for 30 minutes. (preferably overnight)

3. Wash the rice, and soak in water for 10 minutes, then drain.

4. In a medium pot, fry the onion slices in ghee until golden in color. Add the rice, and mix for about 5 minutes on medium heat.

5. Place the rice and onion mixture in a deep oven tray. Add water, chicken stock cube, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and saffron.

6. Cover the tray with aluminum foil, and pierce the foil in several places with a knife. Place the chicken pieces on top of the pierced places of the foil. Cover the chicken and the tray with another layer of aluminum foil, and seal it tightly on all sides.

7. Place the tray in the oven, for 1 hour until the chicken and rice are well done then remove from the oven.

8. Arrange the rice in a serving dish with the chicken set on top of it.

9. Always serve hot.

Tip: For Smoking: In a pot place the rice and make a gap in the middle of the rice placed. Add a ramekin with a little butter then place the chicken around the ramekin bowl.

Light up the charcoal on the stove for about 2-3 minutes till heated up well and then quickly place the heated charcoal into the butter-filled ramekin and cover the rice pot with a tight lid or aluminum foil for about 10 to 15 minutes.

During this time the smoke from the hot charcoal will smoke up the Mandi to give the authentic smoked flavor and taste.