Chicken Mandi- The Ultimate Recipe and How I overcame my Writer’s block

Chicken Mandi
Chicken Mandi

wpid-wp-1425378533889.jpeg

Every cuisine in the world has its own aromatic ingredients which give a unique depth of flavor to their dishes.. We can never relate to that part of the culinary world without its  distinct aroma and flavors. Aromas and flavors play an integral part in deciding the delectability and lusciousness of the dish. In other words, they are the soul of food.

Mandi is a traditional dish of Yemen and as a matter of fact, the entire Arabian Peninsula.The USP of this dish is its fragrant smokey rice topped with dewy and moistly flavorful meat, crunchy almonds and caramelized onions. The Arabic word ‘Mandi’ is derived from the word ‘Nada’ which means ‘Dew’. Traditionally it is cooked in a special clay oven,known as ‘Tabun’ that is built into the ground . Live, hot coal is placed on top as well and no steam is allowed to escape till the dish is cooked.

I first had a taste of this epicurean delight on one of my visits to the middle east. Ever since, I have been hunting for that ultimate recipe which could be made at home and be the closest match to the original in terms of aroma and flavor. None of the restaurants in my city could capture the lusciousness of the original Mandi in their versions.

Recently, one of my dear blogger friend Jhuls posted this recipe of Chicken Mandi which immediately appealed to me and gave me the feeling that my hunt would come to an end. I read and reread it and finally mustered the courage to make it. The recipe is very clear and the result was exceptional.Thank you dear Jhuls for sharing this awesome recipe. The rice turned out to be very flavorful and the chicken was tender and succulent. The varying of temperature of the oven during the cooking process ensured that the skin stayed crisp and the meat was juicy and fall apart.

The only problem I faced was to match the sizes of the wire rack and the rice pot. I was lucky to find a rectangular  bake and serve glass dish which exactly fit the wire rack. I made my own ‘Hawaij spice mix‘ and that is highly recommended.


Recipe: Chicken Mandi


 

Ingredients:

  • Chicken, either 1 whole or split into halves is best
  • 1 tsp. hawaij spice mix (recipe below)
  • 1/8 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter for the chicken marinade
  • a pinch of saffron threads soaked in 1-2 tbsp. water
  • 4 cups of Basmati rice
  • water for rice (according to the instructions for your rice)
  • salt to taste (I used 3 tsp for 4 cups of rice)
  • 2-5 green chilis (to taste)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • cardamom pods
  • whole cloves
  • whole peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp. oil for the rice
  • cinnamon stick
  • food coloring (optional)
  • a piece of natural coal
  • bay leaves

Instructions:

  1. The night before (or several hours) place the saffron threads in a couple tablespoon or so of warm water. Let this sit until the water turns deep orange.
  2. Mix together the hawaij spice mix, turmeric and melted butter. Spread this generously over the chicken, cover and marinate for a couple of hours. (You can add salt to the chicken marinade, if desired)
  3. In a large pot, sauté the onions in oil over medium heat until soft. Turn off the heat and add the rice, cardamom, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, chilis, salt, and water.
  4. Place a wire rack over the pot of rice and then place the chicken on top of the wire rack, making sure that the pot is larger in diameter than the chicken. Place both in the oven at 425 F

wpid-20150205_200412.jpg

wpid-20150205_200705.jpg

 

  1. Start off cooking the chicken/rice for 15-20 minutes so that the outside of the chicken starts the browning process. Then lower heat to 325 to cook it through nice and slowly which will give the chicken a nice texture and fall off the bone. Cook it until the juices run clear or internal chicken temp is 165 F. I recommend using a thermometer especially if this is your first time cooking a chicken. Whole chicken may take 1 hour and 45 minutes. Half chicken is 1 hour, depending on how big or small your chicken is.
  2. Remove the rice and chicken and let sit for a few minutes before cutting the chicken. Fluff the rice. Now is also the time to add the saffron and/or food coloring to the rice.
  3. Cut the chicken and place it in the rice pot. Place a small ramekin in the middle with vegetable oil inside. Then add the red hot coal inside the oil and cover the pot with a lid. It should smoke, giving the rice a smoky flavor.

Recipe from Jhuls@ thenotsocreativecook and Sheba Yemeni Food.

Serving Suggestions: Sprinkle some crisp roasted or fried Almonds , Pistachios and Caramelized Onions just before you serve.

wpid-wp-1425378801972.jpeg

HAWAIJ SPICE MIXTURE RECIPE :

 INGREDIENTS

  • 6 1/2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons green cardamom pods
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons ground turmeric

Instructions:

Place peppercorns, cumin seeds, cardamom pods, and cloves in a small skillet and toast over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder; grind and mix with turmeric. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months.

Hawaij spice mix
Hawaij spice mix

Recipe from  Jhuls@thenotsocreativecook and Martha Stewart


I am taking the Chicken Mandi for my Fiesta Friday friends.As usual it is being hosted by Angie@The Novice Gardener. Co-hosting this time are the fabulous  Caroline @Caroline’s Cooking and Elaine @foodbod. Come along and have fun..

A Big Thank You to all my friends and community

Last week was a memorable one. The world was divided into two. No, not over wealth, woman or power. But as you all know over that dr…. I am not even spelling it out because I know, we have all seen and heard enough of it and can’t bear to  read it once more 😉

wpid-img-20150303-wa0051.jpg

And as most of you know,I was caught up with the dreaded Writer’s block, which was pretty frustrating.I thought it would take a long time to get back on the groove. But a big huge thanks for all my wonderful friends and supportive community who stood by me and inspired me to hit the keys again. ❤ ❤ ❤

A special thanks to:

They are all wonderful people who own beautiful blogs.Please do visit them if you haven’t already. They have all given me practical and interesting  suggestions to help overcome my writer’s block.

Check them out:

  • ‘well here is a little encouraging – i was feeling the same – but i INSISTED my muse wake up – I gave her a poke lol – one image of desert air – no idea why or where i was going – tugged at an old memory a bit – pretended i was someone else -and voila! poem! we all get these days (or weeks) – the thing is not to dwell on the block – jump it – it doesnt matter where you land. If all else fails try some of my prompts’
  • ‘Oh no! I had writer’s block earlier this week too! it’s so so frustrating! I had to bang my head a bit and actually watch some sad movies to get myself out of it!
    I hope it gets unblocked soon!’
  • ‘Until the words find their way from your brain to the keyboard…cook! That way all of your delicious recipes and beautiful photos will be ready to publish. 🙂  Hang in there…this too shall pass!’
  • ‘No worries!! Thats a part and parcel of the blogging journey! Whenever an ideas strikes i keep a note of it in my phone as a list and look them up when i am faced with the Block! But at times I am simply stuck and not able to write even after checking out The List :)’
  • ‘Sometimes you just have to take a break and eat some junk food. That’ll get you back into the swing of things ;-)’
  • ‘Oh dearie me, I hope you get out of that slump pronto skd. We couldn’t NOT have you visiting and attending the parties on Fridays now would we? The weather perhaps? It’s enough to get everyone down in the dumps’.
  • ‘I am going through the exact same phase… “Writer’s block” or is it nature’s way of saying do something else’
  • ‘Make your easiest comfort food.. Even if it’s toasted bread!’
  • ‘you’re not alone! I totally relate – yesterday it felt that I took a looooooong time to write not very much at all – even when the words came, they did not translate as I repeatedly hit the wrong keys… my solution – feed that inner muse – all it’s favourite simple comfort food 🙂 might be why I am not the skinniest of souls but hey! Peace to you and try to give yourself a break, no one can be as amazingly awesome as you appear everyday ;)’
  • I can definitely relate to this skd! I hope it clears soon! sometimes just writing anything at all can help clear up the head and get you going again, so hopefully writing this has pushed you in the right direction. Try not to stress too much about it, the words will come eventually, they always do!
  • ‘Funny! You’ll get your groove back. Just keep writing.’
  • ‘Ha! You are very talented. So happy that you didn’t skip us this week.’
  • ‘guess you got over the writer block as you wrote these lines, my friend’
  • ‘But bravo!! YOu don’t have writer’s block at all, because you have written an amazing poem!! 😀 I so appreciate this post!! :-)’
  • Been there! Still there actually…
  • Some days are like this.. Loved all ur pics.. especially the wall to bang. I do that a lot
  • ‘ we all have these moments.
    Life of a blogger.Tell me about it. I don’t know why I get all the traffic i do…’
  • ‘Your poem is beautifully crafted, just like all your recipes!’

Aren’t they all awesome. All these suggestions really inspired me and here I am back to blogging.

Thank you once again.

Advertisements

35 Comments Add yours

  1. Glad you have overcome the block! Mandi is one of my favorite dishes here in Abu Dhabi…Atleast once in a month we try Mandi while we eat out here 🙂

    And hey thanks for the mention and link back 🙂 Its an awesome blogger network!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. skd says:

      Thank you dear Bilna. It’s God’s grace and the support of all of you that I over came the block so fast 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jhuls says:

    Wow! Your Mandi is so delicious. I was just thinking of doing it again as my rice was so yellow. 😀 Thank you so much for the mention, dear friend! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. skd says:

      Thank ‘you ‘ dear Jhuls for sharing such an amazing recipe.Its not just this time but every time from now when ever I make the Mandi I will remember you. 💕

      Like

  3. Mary B says:

    looks delicious:) and happy you overcame the writers block:)
    beautytruuth.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. skd says:

      Thank you Mary. I am so glad I could ☺

      Like

  4. story teller says:

    The support makes you feel so loved! Sending you a bear hug and a plate for some of that absolutely mouth watering chicken mandi!!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. skd says:

      True dear. It’s very encouraging. Thank you for the bear hug. One from me too. And waiting for the plate 😉 Would love to share with you 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Nancy says:

    Well look at you, skd…you’re back! Cooking AND writing about it too. 🙂 I’m so happy to see you got your mojo back. Thanks for the mention and kind words. YOU are my sunshine friend too. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. skd says:

      Thank you dear Nancy ❤ If it wasn't for all your wishes and words of encouragement, I would have been stuck for a couple of weeks more
      Hugs and regards ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nancy says:

        Hugs to you!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. skd says:

        ❤ 🙂

        Like

  6. Welcome back skd. I knew it was just a hiccup not really a block. You did Jhuls proud with this recipe. It came out beautifully!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. skd says:

      Thanks a ton dear Julie 🙂 That’s major relief. It wouldn’t have been faster without your motivation. And I was really nervous doing Jhuls recipe. Glad I didn’t let her down ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Just happy to see you are back where you belong! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. fazal says:

    Congratulations SKD
    Even when you get blocked your rhyme and vocabulary is marvellous.Almighty bless you with all success
    Mandi is a good dish for a break from Biryani

    Liked by 1 person

    1. skd says:

      Wow! Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement.

      Like

  8. What a delicious and flavorful Chicken Mandi. It looks perfect and really appetizing. I’m sure Jhuls is jumping in front of her screen 😀 SKD, I dream one day I can write like you…Have a nice day 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. skd says:

      Awwww…OMG!…. (faint on the floor), Sprinkle sprinkle… Linda, did you just say that. That’s an awesomely kind compliment.Thank you so much.Coming from you, it’s very big for me, because I am a huge fan of your blog,, esp. your Algerian posts. have a nice day too dear ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Jhuls says:

      How did you even know that about the jumping thing, Linda? 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Great recipe and you mentioned some talented people.:-)

    Like

  10. I don’t know what I like more, the wonderful recipe (i remember loving it when Jhuls first posted it) or the wonderful support and encouragement that your blog friends provided, how lovely 🙂
    Lovely to see you at the party tonight, skd, enjoy Fiesta Friday xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. skd says:

      Thank you Elaine. You echoed my feelings. I was really overwhelmed by the support and encouragement of the wonderful community. It matters a lot. Then after Jhuls first posted the recipe I had large shoes to fill. I was a bit wary about doing that. I am glad you liked it ☺

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do love this community, it’s the best ever xx

        Liked by 1 person

      2. skd says:

        I agree Elaine and thank you for being an amazing host. Its a pleasure to be in your party💕

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Yum this looks delicious! So glad you over came your writers block, sometimes you just have to ride it out!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. skd says:

      Yeah I am so glad I did. I needed a push and a shove to get me out of my slump lol 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  12. The Hawaiian Spice Mix sounds wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. skd says:

      It is the soul of the dish ☺Adds a beautiful flavor to the chicken

      Like

  13. singhcircle says:

    Mandi rice – a regular weekend favorite from the Syrian restaurant down the road.the pictures are amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. skd says:

      Thank you so much. Presenting this dish to readers like you from the middle east who are well versed with these dishes is quite intimidating. thank you for the verdict.

      Liked by 1 person

Hey! Do let me know what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s