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Bahraini Chicken Machboos


Machboos is the traditional Arabic rice dish cooked in a chicken broth flavoured with a blend of spices and dried loomi. The recipe I am sharing is Bahrain style but I can't call it exclusively Bahrain as I have used Bezar spice mix which is an Emirati spice blend 😉 and included few other spices like cloves and cardamom to make up for a traditional Bahrain Baharat.  Every family has their own version of Baharat and so I am not going to delve into it. You may choose to get a store-bought Baharat or use my bezar spice mix recipe and make this machboos. 
Bahraini Chicken Machboos
I didn't know about machboos until my mother-in-law asked me if I had prepared machboos rubyan for her son. 🤐 Rubyan is Arabic for prawns and the only seafood F consumes but I very rarely use them. After I moved to Abu Dhabi, I decided to try making his family favourite. A quick search on the net got me to Um Safia's page on Food. com (which is no longer working now) and made her Traditional Bahraini Chicken Macbhoos sometime during last Ramadan. It was the first time I tried machboos and F loved it but he also mentioned it tastes different from his mom's. I made it a few times by now and shared on Stories - it was a hit among you all! Thank you! But I recently asked my mil (umma) for the recipe her sons grew up having while in Bahrain, I am sure for a time like this lockdown due to covid19, a whiff of nostalgia is a hug in the tummy. I must say her recipe is almost the same except that she doesn't use any spice blend! insha'Allah, I will make that way next time. 

What is the difference between Kabsa and Majboos?

Essentially both are same. Kabsa, considered as the national dish of Saudi Arabia is a rice and meat dish served with fried raisins and almonds along with yoghurt sauce and green salads for the side. The name is derived from the word kabs, meaning "press" which is the technique used in cooking Kabsa. The variations of Saudi Kabsah are popular in the neighbouring Gulf States of the Arabian peninsula including Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait as Machboos, meaning "to be engaged". So the difference between Kabsa and Majboos is in the type of spice blend used and the addition of almonds and raisins. You all must be aware of Kabsah spice mix, Baharat spice mix, as they are available in every supermarket here. But I have not seen Bezar spice mix being sold! 🤔


In this pic below, I did add some fried almonds because I had them but it does not usually feature in Bahrain Machboos so I did not include it in the recipe details. 
Bahraini Chicken Machboos

How to make Bahraini chicken machboos?

Once you make kabsa or machboos you will give our biryanis a rest. Trust me! This is so easy to put together for a Friday lunch that your legs will thank you and you can have quality time with family. I have to say the same for my Kacchi Biryani recipe too 😋 But I highly recommend not to skip Loomi, the black dried lime! It imparts the flavour that is hard to substitute.

Here is the step by step recipe for Chicken Machboos:

Marinate the chicken with all the spice powders and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes.  I have used (bezar spice mix or Baharat, turmeric powder, cumin powder, cardamom powder and cinnamon powder) 

Bahraini Chicken Machboos - Steps

Wash and soak the rice for 30 mins or as per packet instruction.

Bahraini Chicken Machboos - Steps

Heat butter or ghee in a deep wide pot on medium flame.
Add the cloves, the finely diced onion, green chillies, dried lime and saute for a minute.
Add the ginger-garlic paste and saute for a minute.

Bahraini Chicken Machboos - Steps

Add the marinated chicken along with the chopped tomato.
Cook on high until all of the chicken pieces turn white. (~5mins) Meanwhile, prepare hot water.

Bahraini Chicken Machboos - Steps

Add the hot water and salt to taste. Bring this to a boil.

Bahraini Chicken Machboos - Steps

Cover and cook on medium flame until the chicken is cooked through. (~10mins)
Remove the cooked chicken pieces and keep aside.

Bahraini Chicken Machboos - Steps

Add a fistful of chopped coriander leaves and lime/lemon juice.

Bahraini Chicken Machboos - Steps

Add the soaked rice and salt to taste.

Bahraini Chicken Machboos - Steps

Bring this to boil on a high flame until you can see the grains on the surface. 
Reduce the flame to lowest. 
Slide a heat diffuser or flat pan underneath.
Cover the pot with foil and then the lid.
Let it cook for another 15 mins.

Bahraini Chicken Machboos - Steps

Meanwhile, roast the cooked chicken on stovetop or oven with some butter.


You may place back the roasted chicken on top of the rice and serve or transfer the rice to a platter and place the roasted chicken over it.
Serve with salad and laban or yoghurt.

Bahraini Chicken Machboos

Bahraini Chicken Machboos Recipe

INGREDIENTS

1 cup basmati rice
3 whole chicken legs (or one 700gms chicken)
1 teaspoon bezar spice mix or Baharat 
1/2 teaspoons turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 tablespoon butter/ghee
3 cloves 
1 medium-sized onion
a few green chillies
1 loomi (dried black lime)
2 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
1 large tomato
Salt to taste
2 cups boiling hot water (you may add a tablespoon or 2 less if your rice cooks faster)
Fresh coriander leaves
Juice of half a lime
Butter to roast the cooked chicken

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Marinate the chicken with all the spice powders and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes
  2. Wash and soak the rice for 30 mins or as per packet instruction
  3. Heat butter or ghee in a deep wide pot on medium flame
  4. Add the cloves, the finely diced onion, green chillies, dried lime and saute for a minute
  5. Add the ginger-garlic paste and saute for a minute
  6. Add the marinated chicken along with the chopped tomato
  7. Cook on high until all of the chicken pieces turn white. (~5mins) Meanwhile, prepare hot water.
  8. Add the hot water and salt to taste. Bring this to a boil 
  9. Cover and cook on medium flame until the chicken is cooked through. (~10mins)
  10. Remove the cooked chicken pieces and keep aside
  11. Add a fistful of chopped coriander leaves and lime/lemon  juice
  12. Add the soaked rice and salt to taste 
  13. Bring this to boil on a high flame until you can see the grains on the surface. Reduce the flame to lowest. Slide a heat diffuser or flat pan underneath, cover the pot with foil and then the lid. Let it cook for another 15 mins
  14. Meanwhile, roast the cooked chicken on stovetop or oven with some butter
  15. You may place back the roasted chicken on top of the rice and serve or transfer the rice to a platter and place the roasted chicken over it
  16. Serve with salad and laban or yoghurt (some pappadams won't hurt :-)) 
Bahraini Chicken Machboos

Click here for a fancy meatballs majboos recipe!

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Bahraini Chicken Machboos


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