Mandii is an Arabic rice pilaf that originated in yemen. It’s a traditional, beautiful fragrant dish made with many aromatic spices that give an amazing depth to the rice. It’s made with either lamb or chicken. It’s cooked in a special oven that is built in the ground. In this recipe we are going to make our own version of that oven and make this recipe in our modern kitchens. —Nancy
1 hour 30 minutes
For the chicken/ Lamb
Chicken pieces with bone and skin/ 1 small Lamb shank
Citric acid (food grade), if not available you can use the juice of two lemons
Saffron yellow powder food color, if not available you can use any food coloring or can be omitted
Chicken spices ( I like to use my own blend made of sage, thyme, oregano, mustard seed powder, black pepper, basil and cayenne pepper)
For the rice
Basmati rice ( washed and soaked in water for half an hour)
Small Onion diced
Saffron yellow powder food coloring
Dried galangal, if not available use the fresh ones supplied in thai shops
Toasted pine nuts or almonds for garnish
For the chicken:
Marinate the chicken with all the ingredients and leave for 30 minutes
If you are using lamb:
Wash and dry the lamb shank well and then mix the rest of the ingredients and rub the shank with it.
For the rice:
Process the tomato, half the onion and 2 garlic cloves, chicken spices, the yellow food coloring and the turmeric.
Preheat the oven on 180 degrees centigrade.
Now using a dutch oven, place the oil on medium heat and add the cinnamon stick, cloves, bay leaves, cardamon, dried lemon, dried galangal (or fresh) and saute to bring out the aromas of the spices.
Now add the processed mix and saute till the you smell the beautiful aromas.
Add the rice and sautée for 1 minute then add approximately one cup Water or half the amount of water called for the type of rice you are using. Leave for 5 minutes on the stove top.
Now with the lid off, cover the dutch oven with a layer of aluminum very well to provide a good seal around the edges, then prick the foil with a fork( these act as a sieve) and place the chicken or lamb on top. You can use a steamer rack or insert if you have. Cover with the lid and place in the oven for approximately 1 hour. Check mid way for the chicken if it’s done and remove the lid and leave the chicken to brown.
Plate by placing the rice first and
the chicken or lamb on top and drizzle with toasted almond or pine nuts.
Now it’s ready