Fadheela Ahmed from Bahrain shows us how to make
majboos aldajaj (chicken with rice).
Majboos aldajaj (Bahraini chicken with rice)
1 whole chicken, quartered, or chicken thighs or
breasts, preferably with skin on.
3 cups basmati rice
3 Tbsp oil
2 onions, chopped
1 carrot, grated
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 green capsicum, chopped
1 red capsicum, chopped
hot water to cover
2 Tbsp plain yoghurt
Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp Bahraini spice mix (kebsa) (see tips
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
5 cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Tbsp dried lime powder (loomi) (see tips
2 sticks cinnamon
1 stock cube (she uses Maggi)
Wash the rice and leave to soak in warm water for about half
Cut the chicken into halves or large pieces and wash to
remove any blood.
Retain the skin, which will go golden and crisp.
Chop the onions, tomatoes and capsicums and grate carrot.
Prepare the spices.
In a large pot, heat the oil and cook the onion until it
starts to turn a light golden brown.
Add the chicken pieces and cook until they begin to brown.
Stir in the grated carrot, then add the tomatoes and
Add boiling water until chicken is almost covered, then add
all the spices and stir to mix.
Cover and allow to simmer for half an hour.
Remove the chicken and place on an oven dish.
Drain the soaking water off the rice and add the rice to the
sauce the chicken was cooked in.
Bring to the boil, then cover tightly with tinfoil and lid,
turn the heat down and leave to simmer for 15min-20min until
the rice is cooked and the water absorbed.
Meanwhile, mix the yoghurt and tomato paste and spread on the
Place under a grill until the chicken is golden.
Pile the rice on a large platter and arrange the chicken
pieces on top.
Serve with a salad.
Fadheela Ahmed prefers to use a whole chicken cut into
quarters as the bones add flavour.
However, to demonstrate this dish she could not find whole
halal chicken so got halal chicken pieces instead.
Everyone has their own mix of spices.
She uses a spice mix (kebsa or Gulf baharat) sent from
Bahrain, which includes cumin, coriander, cinnamon, turmeric,
ginger and red and black pepper.
Kebsa is available from ethnic food stores such as the Indian
Food Market in St Andrew St, Dunedin, as are loomi (dried
You can use fish or other meat instead of chicken in this
Soaking rice reduces the cooking time of the rice and
improves the final cooked texture.