Lunch and Dinner, Main Dishes, Middle Eastern Recipes

Yemeni Chicken Mandi

deliciously broiled chicken served on top of fluffy mandi rice

Prepare yourself for an extraordinary culinary journey featuring the timeless Yemeni Chicken Mandi, a dish that promises a delightful adventure filled with tantalizing surprises. The harmonious blend of flavors and textures in this dish creates a symphony of tastes that will undoubtedly leave you speechless!

Imagine tender chicken, cooked just right with special spices, resting on top of fragrant Basmati rice. But wait, there’s more! It’s also topped with crispy fried onions that add a savory crunch, and almonds that bring a nutty flavor. This recipe is a real winner and will make your taste buds dance with joy!


deliciously broiled chicken served on top of fluffy mandi rice
A taste of tradition.


What Is Yemeni Chicken Mandi?

 An aromatic rice and chicken dish infused with Middle Eastern flavors, Yemeni Chicken Mandi originates from Yemen; a country with a rich culinary heritage. Yemeni Chicken Mandi is traditionally prepared with succulent chicken, served on a bed of radiant golden rice.

However, that’s not what truly sets this dish apart. Authentic Chicken Mandi is cooked using a unique method that involves slow-cooking the chicken and rice together in a closed pot, allowing the flavors to meld and intensify. Once plated, the chicken is often topped with crispy fried onions, lending a delightful crunch, and accompanied by almonds that offer a contrasting nutty richness.

Although this Yemeni Mandi recipe is not cooked in the traditional way, it still tastes great!


Yemeni Mandi Cultural Significance

Yemeni Mandi holds a deep cultural significance within Yemen and the Middle East in general. It goes beyond being just a dish and plays a significant role in social and familial gatherings, celebrations, and traditions, particularly during Yemeni festive feasts. Here are some aspects of its cultural significance:

Symbol of Hospitality: This exquisite Arabian dish is often prepared and shared during special occasions, gatherings, and celebrations. It is a symbol of hospitality and generosity, reflecting the warmth and welcoming nature of Yemeni culture. Offering Mandi to guests is a gesture of honor and respect.

Cultural Expression: Yemeni Mandi is a form of cultural expression that showcases Yemen’s distinct flavors, techniques, and ingredients. It offers an opportunity for Yemenis to proudly share a part of their heritage with the world.

Culinary Heritage: Mandi showcases Yemen’s history and its place as a meeting point of old trade routes. The blend of spices used in Mandi reflects the region’s historical connections with various cultures, showcasing Yemen’s unique culinary identity.


Yemeni chicken mandi recipe with chicken legs and basmati rice
The perfect option for Family dinner recipes.

Top Tips

For the best results, go with long-grain basmati rice; it works like magic with the flavors.

It is best to use bone-in full chicken legs because it keeps the dish really tender and juicy. I do not recommend using chicken breast for this recipe since breast meat is usually dry.

Saffron is a must for this recipe, mostly because it adds a very beautiful yellow pigment to the rice and also gives a delicious aroma.

Use toasted almonds as the final touch in garnish. The crunchy taste will be so special and yummy.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How should I store Yemeni Chicken Mandi?

To ensure its freshness, store your Yemeni Chicken Mandi in an airtight container and keep it refrigerated for a period of 4 to 5 days.

Is it possible to freeze any leftover Chicken Mandi?

Certainly! To preserve your Chicken Mandi, simply store it in an airtight container or a Ziploc bag in your freezer. This method ensures its quality for a period of up to 3 months.

Can I prepare Yemeni Mandi in advance for special occasions?

Of course, you can! Yemeni Mandi can be partially prepared in advance by marinating the meat and precooking the rice. When you’re ready to serve, assemble the dish, layering the pre-marinated meat on the rice, and finish cooking or reheating. This allows you to enjoy the dish while spending more time with your guests.

Can I make Yemeni Mandi with other meats besides chicken and lamb?

Absolutely! While chicken and lamb are the most common choices, you can adapt the recipe to your preference. Beef or even fish can be used, adjusting the cooking time and seasoning accordingly for a delicious variation of Yemeni Mandi.

Do I need to soak basmati rice?

No, there’s absolutely no need to soak the rice.

Can I use short-grain rice?

For this recipe, it is much better to use basmati long-grain rice.


Yemeni smoked chicken served on top of fluffy rice decorated with finely chopped fresh parsley
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Ingredients for Yemeni Chicken Mandi

For the Chicken Broth:⁣

Onion: It gives this Yemeni Mandi recipe a pungent yet sweet flavor.

Bay leaf: It provides subtle, earthy aromas that enhance the overall taste.

Cardamom pods: These tiny flavor powerhouses enhance the dish with their slightly citrusy notes.

Chicken bullion: A flavor-enhancing ingredient, serves as the secret behind the savory essence of Yemeni Mandi.

Seasonings: Black pepper, garlic powder, coriander powder, Mandi spices, salt.

For the Rice:⁣

Basmati rice: Avoid using short-grain rice.

Onions: They infuse the Mandi with a savory sweetness that forms the foundation of its rich taste.

Fresh ginger: The zing of fresh ginger adds a lively kick to your Mandi.

Garlic: It gives an earthy allure, transforming Mandi into a rich and comforting dish.

Bell pepper: It brings color and freshness to the dish.

Mandi spices: This enchanting blend of spices is the heart of Yemeni Mandi.

Broth: It enriches every spoonful with its comforting essence.

Oil: Choose your preferred oil; sunflower, avocado, corn, or olive oil work well.

Saffron⁣: A must-have ingredient, it brings a beautiful golden color and a captivating aroma.


Spices for Chicken Mandi:⁣

You can either make your own mix or use a ready, store-bought mix.

Ginger powder

Garlic powder

Bay leaf

Cloves

Smoked paprika

Cardamom pods

Black pepper

Cumin

Cinnamon

Turmeric


deliciously broiled chicken served on top of fluffy basmati mandi rice and decorated with finely chopped fresh parsley
So tasty, so aromatic, so perfect!

Steps to Prep

For The Chicken

To start, add 3 tablespoons of oil to a pot, then add the quartered onion and mix until fragrant, then add the chicken.

Second, mix in the whole spices, followed by the rest of the powdered spices, and mix well.

After that, pour in enough water to cover the contents of the pot and let it boil for 30 minutes on medium heat.

Next, remove the chicken and broil it until its skin gets crispy.

For The rice

In a separate pot, add 3 tablespoons of oil. Sauté the finely chopped onions over medium/low heat for 15 minutes ensuring they soften without burning.

Once done, add the chopped 1-inch-size bell peppers with the garlic and ginger. Sauté for 5 minutes, then add the soaked and drained rice along with mandi spices and whole spices.

After that, pour in hot broth and adjust the salt according to your preference. Let it boil for 5 minutes before lowering the heat to low and simmering for 10-15 minutes.

Finally, light 2 pieces of charcoal or use liquid smoke. When both rice and chicken are ready, place the ignited charcoal in foil in the middle of the rice and chicken. Add a drop of oil to generate smoke.

Quickly cover the dish with foil, allowing it to sit for 5 minutes before removing the charcoal.

To Serve

Transfer the cooked rice to a large serving platter and place chicken on top of it.

For added texture and flavor, garnish with freshly chopped parsley, toasted almonds, or pine nuts.

Serve with fresh salad, hot sauce, or yogurt.

At last, you can sit and enjoy your perfectly flavored Yemeni chicken mandi!


Must-Try Recipes:

Mulukhiyah Stew (Jute Mallow Stew)

Chicken Musakhan Sliders

Kung Pao Chicken

Vegetarian Loaded Eggplant

Authentic Middle Eastern Chicken Shawarma

Middle Eastern Spiced Baked Chicken

Middle Eastern Restaurant-Style Chicken

Authentic Saudi Chicken Kabsa

Bukhari Rice and Chicken (Ruz Bukhari)

Yemeni Lamb Haneeth


If you’ve tried this recipe, don’t forget to rate it and leave a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience. You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.


Yemeni chicken mandi recipe with chicken legs and basmati rice

Yemeni Chicken Mandi

Fatimah
You will definitely fall in love with this amazing recipe! Yemeni chicken mandi is such an awesome combination of perfectly broiled chicken with fluffy aromatic rice. So delicious!
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Middle Eastern, Yemeni
Servings 1 people

Ingredients
  

For the Chicken Broth:⁣

  • 2 chickens cut as desired
  • 1 onion quartered
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 dry lime or lemon
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons mandi spices
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ginger powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons oil for sautéing
  • 1 tablespoon chicken bullion powder
  • water, to cover

For the Rice:

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • yellow onions
  • ½ inch block fresh ginger
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 dry lime or lemon (loomi)
  • ½ red bell pepper, cubed small
  • ½ green bell pepper, cubed small
  • ½ jalapeno, you can remove the seeds and veins for less flavor
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon mandi spices
  • 4 cups reserved broth
  • 3 tablespoons oil for sautéing
  • 1 teaspoon saffron highly recommended
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Mandi Spices:

  • 1 tablespoon ginger powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric

Toppings:

  • caramalized and crispy onions
  • toasted almonds
  • golden raisins
  • 2 lit up charcoal pieces with 1/2 teaspoon oil (to give it smokey flavor)

Instructions
 

  • Add 3 tablespoons of oil to a pot. Add the quartered onion, mix until fragrant, then add chicken.
  • Mix in the whole spices, then add the rest of the powdered spices and mix well. Add water to cover and let it boil for 30 minutes on medium heat.
  • Remove the chicken and broil it until its skin gets crispy. I like brushing it with some oil and mandi spices before crisping.
  • For the rice, add 3 tablespoons of oil to a pot. Add finely chopped onions and sauté over medium/low heat for 15 minutes, so they soften and do not burn.
  • Add the chopped 1/2 inch-size bell peppers with the garlic and ginger. Sauté for 5 minutes, then add the cinnamon stick and the dried lime, and add the soaked and drained rice along with mandi spices.
  • Add the hot broth, cover, and adjust the salt to your taste. Let it boil for 5 minutes before lowering the heat to low and simmering for 10-15 minutes.
  • Light 2 pieces of charcoal or use liquid smoke. When the rice and chicken are done, add the charcoal to foil in the middle of the rice and chicken and a drop of oil to let it smoke. Quickly cover the food with foil and let it sit for 5 minutes before removing the charcoal and discarding it.
  • Transfer the cooked rice to a large serving platter and place chicken on top of it. You can also garnish with freshly chopped parsley, toasted almonds, or golden raisins and caramelized onions.
  • Serve with fresh salad, hot sauce, or yogurt. Best served with Yemeni Sahawiq.

Notes

  • For the rice, use long-grain basmati for the best results.
  • For the chicken, use bone-in full chicken legs, which would keep the dish tender and juicy. I do not recommend using boneless chicken breast for this recipe since breast meat is dry.
  • Saffron is a must for this recipe. Mostly because it adds a very beautiful yellow pigment to the rice and also gives a flavorful aroma.
  • Use toasted almonds for a final touch in the garnish. The crunchy taste will be so special and yummy.
Keyword chicken mandi, chicken mandi recipe, Yemeni chicken mandi
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

18 thoughts on “Yemeni Chicken Mandi

  1. Candice says:

    5 stars
    If you don’t make this recipe, you’re missing out. This might be the best meal I’ve ever made all thanks to falasteenifoodie ! Incredible 😋

  2. Nivien says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is perfect in every single way. The flavors were amazing. Very easy to prepare. Doesn’t require a lot of time. I had to use wings to make because it’s all I had on hand but it still tasted sooo delicious. Never had Mandi like this before! The rice with the bell peppers was amazing. Loved it. Thank you for this recipe.

  3. Iman says:

    5 stars
    I will be making this tonight can’t wait!

    1. Iman says:

      5 stars
      Okay I made this and it was very delicious and easy to make I definatley recommend this!!!

  4. Bisma says:

    This looks so good! How many people does this recipe serve?

    1. Fatimah says:

      Considering 1 person might have 1 piece of chicken, I’d say 6-8 adults. Can easily be cut in half

      1. Bisma says:

        Got it thank you! Also one more question, if I only have chicken thighs could I still make the recipe? I know you mentioned to not make it with breast. And if I can use chicken thighs, do you have an estimate as to how many pounds of chicken thighs equates to the chicken pieces you used in this recipe? Thank you so much 🙂

        1. Fatimah says:

          I meant do not use anything boneless. It wont be as good.

  5. Enas says:

    5 stars
    Amazing recipe, we really enjoyed this meal. The charcoal gave an amazing taste, I will definitely be making this again!

  6. John Honai says:

    This recipe looks great. I am planning to cook for new year party. I see Chicken bullion is mentioned in the early description but didn’t see any mention about it in the actual recipe. How much chicken bullion is needed and at what stage to add it. Can you please clarify

    1. Fatimah says:

      Hello! Its in the broth stage 🙂 fixed!

      happy cooking!

      1. John hohai says:

        Thank you. I have one more question. Did you use chicken with skin or skinless chicken?

        1. Fatimah says:

          Hi, skin on chicken, and where it says “mandi seasonings” those are all ground spices, the rest are whole as mentioned.

  7. John Honai says:

    Is the chicken with skin or skinless better?

    1. Fatimah says:

      Hi, skin on chicken, and where it says “mandi seasonings” those are all ground spices, the rest are whole as mentioned.

  8. John Honai says:

    Does the whole mandi space like cloves and cinnamon need to be ground before using in the recipe or should I use it as whole?

  9. Mouna says:

    Hi Fatima,
    When you say saffron, do you mean powder or the threads? In the past, saffron threads have made my dishes taste mettalic so I’m afraid to use them again. Can you explain how to use saffron with this meal?

    1. Fatimah says:

      Hi! Saffron threads. The metallic taste is odd,however, it shouldnt give you that type of taste. You need to crush the saffron into powder using a mortar and pestle. Then let it sit in some hot water for a few minutes.

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