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Average: 3.4 (7 votes)
Serves 4-5

This is a traditionally Arabic dish that is also known as Mandi, and is a staple in most homes across many Arabic countries. It can be made with chicken or lamb. Everyone has a different way of making this finger-licking dish, here is my way. :)

Powdered spices
1 tsp.
coriander powder
1/2 tsp.
cumin powder
1/2 tsp.
all-spice (garam masala)
1 tsp.
black pepper powder
1/4 tsp.
ginger powder
1/4 tsp.
cardamom powder
1 tsp.
red chilli powder
pinch of saffron
Whole Spices
cinnamon sticks
cardamom pods
black pepper
chicken with skin, cut into 4 or 8 pieces
3 cups
2 tbsp. butter plus 4 tbsp. oil
onions, chopped finely
fresh tomatoes, blended with skin
1 tsp.
tomato paste/puree
1 tsp.
garlic paste
1/2 tsp.
ginger paste
grated carrot
1/2 tsp.
grated lemon rind/zest
salt as needed
Ingredients for Garnish
almonds, blanched and peeled
small handful of pine-nuts
1 tsp.

Keeping the skin on the chicken helps keep the meat very moist and tender. You can remove and discard the skin later before eating if you want. But try and cook with the skin on for best results! :)

For Garnishing

Heat the butter until it melts, then add the nuts and raisins. Fry in the butter until the raisins are plump. Turn off and set aside to be used later for garnishing.

For Chicken

Heat the oil and butter, then add the onions and fry until they start to turn golden. Add the ginger and garlic tastes, followed by the whole spices. Fry for a minutes, then add the powdered spices, lemon zest, blended tomatoes and tomato puree. Cook these for a few minutes until the tomato mixture thickens, then add the chicken pieces and sprinkle some salt.

Sauté the chicken in the tomato mixture on high heat for 2-3 minutes, then add 4 cups of water. When it starts to simmer, cover and keep the heat on medium, and let this boil for 25 minutes or until the chicken is done.

You can soak your rice whilst the chicken is boiling, for about 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and keep them covered in a bowl. Now measure out the water that is remaining in the pan. You will need 1 and a half cups of broth for every cup of rice, so adjust as needed by adding water to the reach the required amount. (if your rice requires more water per cup than mine does, then adjust as per your experience with the rice you use). Bring to a boil and add the pre-soaked rice and grated carrots if you're using them. Adjust salt.

Let this cook on high heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring now and then, then reduce the heat to medium and keep cooking it whilst covered until the water diminishes, giving it a stir every now and then to make sure all the rice is cooked evenly and perfectly.

Once you find there is very little water left in the rice, reduce the heat to the lowest point possible. Seal your pan by using a tight lid or wetting a kitchen towel and placing it over the pan then placing a lid on top of it. Leave the rice to continue steaming on very low heat for a good 10 minutes.

In the meantime either shallow fry for a few minutes on each side the chicken pieces that you had set aside, or grill them on a bbq grill or in the oven, just until the color turns nice and golden...for about 5 minutes or so. Do not over-do the frying/grilling as this will dry your chicken out. The chicken is already cooked so you just want a crisp and appealing colored exterior.

Grilling the chicken pieces on a bbq grill tends to give the chicken a lovely 'Mandi' aroma. Mandi is a (natively) Yemeni method of making Kabsa whereby the meat is cooked in a special hole in the ground covered with clay like a tandoor that is then covered until the dish is ready. So I prefer to grill my chicken pieces on a bbq grill to get a hint of the authentic mandi kabsa flavor, since (unfortunately) I don't have a hole in the ground in my back-yard! :P

Serve the rice and place the chicken pieces on top and garnish with the nuts/raisins, and a bowl of hot n spicy tomato chutney. We love adding some fries as an accompaniment to the meal, but this is entirely optional. Some people like to garnish with boiled eggs.

So whatever takes your fancy, have at it and enjoy!



Wonderful website Fauzia, great and awesome work MASHALLA!....keep it up:-)

I LOVe your recipes and always tried them. I love your website too. But can you please add a printer friendly version as well?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

InshaAllah we may add that feature in the future, thanks for the comment! :)

Salam dear. Can this dish b prepared wiv mutton or beef? Which one wud taste better?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, yes you can...normally mutton would taste better although chicken is best. :)

hi Fauzia. thank you lots for youre wonderful recipes.. what is grated lemon rind/zest

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Hi, it is the grated peel of lemon. Not the white part under the peel, just the light top part.

assalam o alaikom fauzia long time no posts no additions every thing ok?i hope so.I need to know can kabsa be semi prepared for a later date with good tasty results. planning to make it for my mother in law.Is it as tasty as all your other recipes?jazakillah khair.

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, all well alhmd. By semi prepared, what do you mean exactly? You can do a few preps but the meal is best made and served fresh. :)


Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, thank you! The broth is actually the gravy that we cooked the chicken in. Measure that out and then add water to it if needed to adjust the amount according to the measurement required. :)

ur site is worth noticeable. i tried many of your recipes and everthing turned out well.
as u mentioned above... how to prepare the broth? and should we cook the rice in the remaining gravy, in whoch we cooked chicken.???

pls may i knw wt changes should be made in this recipe if i am trying out this with beef

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Sorry have never tried it with beef.

Salam. If i use 2 chicken and 4 cups of rice, do i double the whole recipe including the amount of water i put in the chicken? Thnxs :)

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, this recipe requires 3 cups of rice. If you are doubling the recipe you will need 6 cups of rice not 4. And yes if you double one thing you should double all too. :)

If using lamb how much shd I use?one kg

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Yes 1 kg.

Making this on friday n let u know the result

hello, can u pls tell about madghot, which is the recipe we get from same kitchen where we get mandi. it is a sort of chicken adn rice cooked together in a pressure cooker. pls let me knw and if u can send me in a email, i will be thnkful to u (naeemokarvi@hotmail.com)

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Hi, sorry at the moment I do not have the recipe posted yet. Will try and add it soon inshaAllah. :)

The best ever rice recipe! Excellent flavor! Will try many another your recipes!

Aslmkm..I tried this recipe n it turned out too gud alh,, but it was lil spicy for my younger kids,, will cut the amount of red chili nxt time.. in sha Allah..jazakAllah fauzia,, hubby liked the taste very much,,

Assalamu alaykum, from where can I get chicken with skin in karachi?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, no idea, am not from karachi. But I assume any butchery would have them.

Salam can u plz tells me which rice to use..nd can u plz tell me exact recipe of Arabic paratha ..stuffed with mince nd egg..

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, I use basmati rice. Please type mtabaq on the search bar to get the arabic stuffed bread.

Hi, I haven't heard of grated lemon rind/zest. Do we make it ourselves (by grating the top peel of the lemon as mentioned above), or is it available in supermarkets? Or can I just use something else instead like the juice of the lemon? :P

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Hi, make it yourself, grate just the outer peel.

Also, can you please link the recipe for hot n spicy tomato chutney?