Yemeni Chicken Mandi is another dish which my husband loves. and this is just my version of it. This dish might look very complicated but it is the easiest I’ve made so far. Mandi is a huge aromatic rice platter with a serving of slow-cooked meat. It is usually cooked in a tandoor which is an underground pit & is covered by clay on all the sides. As usual I roasted the chicken & the onions in the oven @ 380° F for 1 hour & 30 minutes. I like to slow roast it as it renders a juicy chicken & doesn’t dry out the meat. All you need to do is marinate the meat in spices, yogurt & lemon juice the previous day so it soaks up more flavor. The rice is cooked with the juice from the meat & caramelized onions. We had it with my homemade Tzatziki dip.It is definitely a meal fit for a king!
- Chicken leg Quarters – 2 legs (with skin)
- Yogurt – ⅓ cup
- Salt to taste
- Turmeric powder – ½ tablespoon
- Kashmiri red chilli powder or smoked paprika – 2 tablespoons
- Red chilli powder or Ground Cayenne pepper – 2 teaspoons
- Coriander powder – 1 tablespoon
- Cumin powder – 1 tablespoon
- Juice of one orange
- Ginger garlic paste – 1 ½ tablespoons
- Vegetable oil – 3 tablespoons
- Chopped cilantro – ½ cup
- Thinly sliced onions – 1 cup
- Basmati rice – 1 cup
- Bay leaf – 1
- Cinnamon stick – 2 inches
- Whole cardamom – 2
- Cloves – 3
ROASTING THE CHICKEN :
- Marinate the chicken leg quarters in ground turmeric, coriander, cumin, red chilli powder, 1 tablespoon kashmiri red chilli powder, orange juice, salt, ginger garlic paste, ⅓ cup yogurt and 1 tablespoon for 12 hours or overnight in the refrigerator..
- The next day, preheat the oven to 380 degrees F (190 degrees C) and line a wide baking tray with parchment paper/butter paper. Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil on the parchment paper and place the marinated chicken leg quarters on the baking tray. Add the rest of the kashmiri chilli powder/smoked paprika( 1 tablespoon) onto the chicken and coat evenly. Drizzle the rest of the vegetable oil (1 tablespoon) on the chicken legs and roast in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
- NOTE:While the chicken is roasting in the oven, you will notice the dripping(juice) from the meat.For the first one hour, we won’t baste the chicken with its juices but use the chicken dripping to make our rice. Collect the juices and store them in a small container. This should be done every 15-20 mins whenever the chicken releases enough oil. We need about ¼ to ½ cup of the chicken dripping to make the rice.
- After the first 30 minutes of roasting the chicken, flip the chicken and cook the other side for another 45 minutes. This time evenly scatter the thinly sliced onions (1 cup) over the chicken and continue baking. (continue extracting the juices every 15 minutes)
- After 45 minutes, flip the chicken again, add a splash of orange juice and continue baking for 15 minutes. (this time you can baste the chicken with the leftover chicken dripping and caramelized onions on the baking tray.)
- Once it’s done, turn off the oven and let the chicken legs stay warm in the oven until ready to serve.
- In a pressure cooker, Add 1 cup of washed basmati rice and the chicken dripping. (approximately ½ cup). Add salt to taste, bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and pour 2 cups of water. Mix everything until well combined. Seal the pressure cooker and turn on the stove. Let it cook for just 1 whistle. Turn off the stove and let the pressure release naturally. Open the cooker after the pressure releases and fluff up the rice with a fork.
In a wide serving tray, place the rice and top it with the roasted chicken leg quarters. Add caramelized onions onto the chicken and rice and finely garnish with cilantro and sliced lemons/oranges. Serve it hot with some chilled Mediterranean Tzatziki dip.