Ruz al Bukhari Bil Dajaj
Bukhari Rice (known in Arabic as Ruz al Bukhari) is a Saudi Arabian speciality (some say it is Afghani by origin). It is by far one of my favourite Arabic meals and is a fragrant flavourful rice dish normally served with roast chicken (Dajaj). I usually serve this dish with Salata Hara (a fresh and spicy tomato sauce), some chopped fresh salad and a small side of fried potato cubes (because we certainly love potatoes in my home!) :)
Wash and soak the rice for about 30 minutes.
In the meantime, heat the oil in a pot, add the whole spices (cinnamon, cardamom and cloves). Then add the chopped onions and fry until transluscent. Do not brown them. Add the garlic and stir it in.
Next, add the chicken pieces. Sprinkle the powdered spices (cumin, coriander, turmeric, cardamom and black pepper powders). Stir and allow the chicken to fry for a few minutes and get well coated with the spices until the chicken looks slightly golden.
Add the thick tomato paste/puree and the freshly pureed/chopped tomatoes and some salt. Add the bouillon cube if you are using it. Cook for another couple of minutes then add the water. Bring to a boil and then immediately reduce the heat to low. Cover and allow the chicken to simmer gently in the water for 15 minutes.
Be sure to have the heat on low at this point if you want the chicken to be tender. High heat and a rolling boil will toughen the meat. Do not be tempted to simmer for longer than 15 minutes.
Once the 15 minutes are up, uncover and carefully remove the chicken pieces onto a baking tray or dish. Brush melted butter on the pieces of chicken and place the tray under a very hot grill for a few minutes to give a quick golden 'roast chicken' colour. If you do not have an oven, simply lightly fry the chicken pieces on a hot pan for some extra color. Do not overcook the chicken! When done, cover the chicken pieces and set aside.
Now, carefully measure the broth that you have left in the pot. I normally need 1 1/4 cups of broth/water for every cup of rice that I use. If the broth is less than what you need, add some extra water. If it is more, then remove the excess.
Add the carrot cubes into the broth and bring to a boil. Drain the soaked rice and add that in too, adjust salt.
Let the rice cook on high heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then reduce the heat to medium, cover the pot and allow the rice to cook until water dimishes, giving it a stir every now and then to make sure all the rice is cooked evenly and perfectly.
When you find there is very little water left in the rice, reduce the heat to the lowest point possible. Place the roasted chicken pieces on top of the rice, then seal the pot tightly. Allow to steam for 10 minutes without uncovering.
If you like, you can fry some golden raisins in a teaspoon of butter until they plump-up and keep them ready to sprinkle over the dish when served.
Serve your fragrant Ruz Bukhari topped with lovely moist Dajaj, sprinkled with some raisins and the spicy Salata Hara for an authentic Arabic meal experience!!