Chicken Mandi

Chicken Mandi

Mandi is a traditional yemeni dish and is now cooked widely in arab countries. The word “Mandi” comes from the arabic word “nada” which means dew. Mandi is usually prepared in an underground pit lined with clay and the meat is suspended in the air above the rice. The steam from the coals cooks the meat and the juices drop into the rice making the rice more flavourful. Nowadays, this dish is prepared in an oven or on the stove-top.

Mandi is usually prepared with rice and meat and a mix of blended spices. Unlike the biryani, this dish is easy to prepare and not much work is needed for its preparation. I have cooked chicken mandi in the oven. The flavour is quite different and unique but yet flavourful and delicious.

Do give this recipe a try and let me know in the comments. Happy cooking!

Chicken Mandi

Preparation Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 1 hour 15 min

Total Time: 1 hour 45 min

Yield: 4 servings


For Arabic Spice Mix

  • Coriander seeds- 2 tbsp
  • Cinnamon stick- 1 tbsp
  • Cumin- 1 tbsp
  • Cloves- 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder- 1 tsp
  • Cardamom pods- 1 tbsp
  • Dried lime- 1

For rice

  • Oil- 5 tbsp
  • Basmati Rice- 3 cups
  • Cinnamon stick- 2
  • Cardamom- 5
  • Cloves- 6
  • Raisins- 1/2 cup
  • Onion- 2,sliced
  • Ginger-garlic paste- 1 tbsp
  • hot water- 4 and 1/2 cups
  • salt- to taste

For Chicken

  • Chicken- 1 Kg
  • Arabic Spice- 2 tsp
  • ginger-garlic paste- 1 tbsp
  • Salt- 1 tsp
  • Saffron- a pinch, soaked in hot water
  • Turmeric powder- 1 tsp
  • Olive oil- 1 tbsp
  • Charcoal- 1

For Arabic Salsa

  • Tomatoes- 4 medium
  • Garlic cloves- 4
  • Coriander leaves- a handful
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Chillies- 2
  • Salt- to taste


  1. For Arabic Spice Mix– Roast all the ingredients mentioned above except turmeric powder. Remove the seeds from the dried lime. Cool the whole spices and blend them to a fine powder. Then add turmeric powder. Store this mix in an airtight jar.
  2. For Chicken marination– Cut the chicken in half. In a small bowl, add arabic spice, salt, ginger-garlic paste, saffron, turmeric powder and olive oil. Mix it well. Rub the marinade onto the chicken. Marinate the chicken for half an hour or overnight if possible.
  3. For Rice– In a pan, add olive oil, once the oil becomes hot, add the onions. Cook the onions till they turn brown. Add in the ginger-garlic paste, whole spices i.e., cinnamon stick, cardamom, cloves and raisins. Saute till the raw smell of the ginger-garlic disappears. Transfer the whole mixture onto a baking dish. Add in the rice, hot water and salt according to taste. Place a wire rack on top of the baking dish and place the marinated chicken on top.
  4. Preheat the oven at 180 degree celsius for 15 min and place the baking dish inside the hot oven. Bake the dish for 1 hour.
  5. Once the rice and chicken is cooked. Remove the chicken from the wire rack and place it inside the baking dish on top of the cooked rice. Place a small bowl inside the dish and put some oil. Heat the charcoal till red hot and place them in the bowl containing oil. Immediately cover the baking dish with an aluminium foil so that the smoke does not escape. Smoke the entire dish for 15 min. After 15 min remove the foil and the bowl. Cut the chicken into smaller pieces and stir the rice once before serving.
  6. For Arabic Salsa– Blend all the ingredients into a coarse paste.
  7. Serve Chicken Mandi with Arabic Salsa.

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