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Chicken Mandi with Rice



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
cardamom pods
whole cloves
whole peppercorns
2 tbsp. oil for the rice
cinnamon stick
food coloring (optional)
a piece of natural coal
bay leaves

How to make

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.



I was waiting for this recipe and here it is. Can't wait to try. Thank you very much Katherine.

12.20.2013 Reply


thanks for your comment, i hope you ike it :)



I love Yemen

02.20.2014 Reply


I would like to know what is hawaij spice mix .how to make hawaij spice mix at home .

03.08.2014 Reply




can you show how to make ogda, fahsa, and meat mandi. thank you

03.25.2014 Reply


What is Hawaii spice mix? Can I make it myself or I have to buy it. Thanks

04.05.2014 Reply


you can make it or buy it or substitute arabic 5 spice



i cant belive that finally i found such beautiful Yemeni recipes. thnx alot to You

04.13.2014 Reply


i had tried out a lot of times to make it... but from your recipee it became marvelous... thanks a lot...

04.15.2014 Reply


Thanks for this recipe.been looking for it...

04.15.2014 Reply


What's step # 7 for? Thanks

04.19.2014 Reply


sorry the rest of the instruction got cut off. you need to head the coal and place it n the oil. then close the lit o the pot to smoke the chicken, the video explains it clearly



Thanks you it's really easy to make and my kids and wife love it

04.21.2014 Reply


Hi Katherinerine

My husband is yemeni and I too cook yemeni saudi traditional  arabic dishes. And with your recipes I feel we Re connected to middle east being in Auckland. The mishwie  chicken and rice is very teasty n your simple recipe is easy to follow. 

Thanks for taking time to put all this videos and recipies

Shukarann kathir 


04.24.2014 Reply


Thank you so much for sharing this authentic recipe. I loved it, the rice was very flavorful.

07.12.2014 Reply


Hi..I would like to know some kind of chutney receipies, that i can hav wid mandi...coz I have tasted it but have no idea of making it...thanks..

07.22.2014 Reply




I do not have an oven, is there any ,other method to make this without oven, if yes please advise I am tempting to eat mandi ...thanks in advance

07.27.2014 Reply


Hello and thanks for your comment. The traditional way is with with and outdoor oven. I have used a outdoor grill for this before and the taste was better than the oven because it gives a smookey flavor. The only issue is its hard to time the rice and chicken cooking in the grill but it can be done. You could also cook the rice and chicken on the stove but i think it won't be exactly like mandi but close. 


abu mohamed


08.21.2014 Reply


my husband lived all his life in saudia....he misses d food from there...i have no idea about saudi food...but watever i make from ur blog...he verifies as authentic...d mandi was very tasty

thankx alot..

08.31.2014 Reply


Hi, thank you for this recipe - so simple and yummy!

I do have a question about the rice though.  Does the rice stay in the oven all the time when roasting the chicken? Doesn't it dry up after sitting in the oven for more than an hour?  Or do you take the rice out midway?

Lookng forward to your reply!

09.02.2014 Reply


Hi Faizah, thanks for your comment and sorry for taking so long to respond. I kept the rice in the whole time. It doesn't get dried out but it does absorb a lot of water. Turning the rice just once can help. It is also easier to use a cut up chicken because the time is less to cook it and it is more in line with the time of cooking rice.



hi may i ask if where did u turn on the oven down or up? coz im wondering why did the color of chicken turns brown

09.15.2014 Reply


This is wonderful!!! Can you please make a video as well of how to make zurbian/zerpyan ?????!

11.28.2014 Reply


What type of rice are u using basmati rice? Or jasmine rice?

12.08.2014 Reply






I just made this and it turned out fabulous! Thank-you for sharing it! I just have one question; can I use this recipe for lamb mandi? Thanks again!

01.05.2015 Reply


Hi I wanted to know u put the rice in a without covering it and then the same time u put the kitchen on top for an hour and half it won't burn or over cook the rice and chicken do I cover anything or leave it over

05.27.2015 Reply



06.08.2015 Reply


Hello Katherine, I just wanted to thank-you for this recipe. I've been craving mandi since leaving the Emirates (I currently reside in Canada) for a long time now and I can happily say my craving is now satisfied! With everything that's happening in Yemen I hope your family is safe and sound.

10.15.2015 Reply


made this tonight and it turned out exactly like yours. I even made the sahawiq sauce for it and it was delicious. Thanks for the great recipe, far better than all the others I looked at. This seems the most authentic.


11.04.2015 Reply


Hi Katherine. I tried your recipe and it was awesome, the smoky flavour was incredible. I am from Argentina,and i live here. I never been to Yemen but I ve been to UAE 2 times for holidays, because I have a friend living there. I tried Chicken Mandi in many restaurants there but the one I made following your recipe was the best. Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge, keep uploading recipes!

Best regards,

11.08.2015 Reply

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Best recipe ever!

06.26.2016 Reply


Thx alot ... Very easy and yummy recipe... I had tried... Super.. Can you please share mutton Mandi recipe or mutton madhbi .. Rgds

05.13.2017 Reply


i have been doing your recipe and it is really the best mandi recipe i found. i just wanted to ask how i can do it if i wanted to cook it with laham (mutton).

12.24.2017 Reply


I make the laham version by cooking lamb shanks in water with cloves, peppercorns, I quartered onion and 1 stick of cinnamon. Skim the surface. When meat is tender drain but reserve water for the rice. Then I cost the meat in a mix of melted butter and hawaiij and roast in the oven for 20 mins. Then boil rice in meat water, strain, place meat on top, place a piece of burning charcoal on top in foil, cover lid for 5 mins to smoke.

03.10.2018 Reply


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