Chicken, either 1 whole or split into halves is best
1 tsp. hawaij spice mix
1/8 tsp. turmeric
2 tbsp. melted butter for the chicken marinade
a pinch of saffron threads soaked in 1-2 tbsp. water
4 cups of rice (I like a lot of rice, but you can half it to 2 cups if you like)
water for rice (approx. 5-7 cups, I used 6) you need less water than usual
salt to taste ( i used 3 tsp. in the rice)
2-5 green chilis (to taste)
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp. oil for the rice
food coloring (optional)
a piece of natural coal
1. The night before (or several hours) place the saffron threads in a couple tablespoon or so of warm water. Let this sit until the water turns deep orange.
2. Mix together the hawaij spice mix, turmeric and melted butter. Spread this generously over the chicken, cover and marinate for a couple of hours.
3. In a large pot, sautee the onions in oil over medium heat until soft. Turn off the heat and add the rice, cardamom, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, chilis, salt, and water.
4. Place a wire rack over the pot of rice and then place the chicken on top of the wire rack, making sure that the pot is larger in diameter than the chicken. Place both in the oven at 425 F.
5. Start off cooking the chicken/rice for 15-20 minutes so that the outside of the chicken starts the browning process. Then lower heat to 325 to cook it through nice and slowly which will give the chicken a nice texture and fall off the bone. Cook it until the juices run clear or internal chicken temp is 165 F. I recommend using a thermometer especially if this is your first time cooking a chicken. Mine whole chicken took about 1 hr. 45 min.
6. Remove the rice and chicken and let sit for a few minutes before cutting the chicken. Fluff the rice. Now is also the time to add the saffron and/or food coloring to the rice.
7. Cut the chicken and place it in the rice pot. Place a small ramekin in the middle with vegetable oil inside. Then add the red hot coal inside the oil and cover the pot with a lid. It should smoke, giving the rice a smoky flavor.