Bahrain's Chicken Machbous

Bahraini Chicken and Spicy Rice or Machboos ala Dajaj. The Recipe of national dish of Bahrain.

Bahraini Chicken and Spicy Rice Recipe

Welcome after a big lazy Carnival like gap of holidays. It's been more than a week of ending Eid already and now I'm back with setting aside all my sickness and laziness, with a treat in hands.
For Eid I've shared Banana Cupcakes recipe with you which I also was planning to bake on Eid, but my whole plan gone out of the windows. Because Chand Raat went Unexpectedly busy that I didn't get chance to bake the cupcakes or even prepare for the frosting. I leave it all on eid day but on 1st Eid I slept the long hours of my life in the hope of getting freshen up to do anything in the kitchen but I wasn't found myself in the mood of working on that sweet aura of Eid. Laziness sucks, parties stopped me. I know Mom was noticing me lately and on second Eid she suggest me like this "Whats wrong? bake something your Phupho (Aunty) are coming." And you know what, that kind of Hit-on-my-back I wanted radically to get ride of chaos and do some baking. If you've been following me on Instagram you should know I did - yes, I did on that day when Phopho come and enjoyed Chocolate Cake bars with my handmade Tea. And I did on the next day too, the plain Muffins to take them for cousins, which they enjoyed and also shared on their social medias. Big feelings! That ways, Eid went good or I think pretty good in parties, sleeping and baking. Who need more else to do on holidays?

Bahraini Chicken and Spicy Rice Recipe. Chicken Machbous

As you know I am joining in Mena cooking club by Noor since last month and this is my second entrance in this club. This time Joanne host the Middle Eastern country Bahrain and give us the chance to learn and know the new ingredient and food from this region. This club is such a fun. Knowing the ingredient alone take an excitement journey in making of your final dish. I choose Machbous this time as savory dish to prepare, which is similar to Biryani or Pulao in Pakistan. But the two ingredients which set apart Machbous from them is Loomi (dried lime) and Baharat (the mixture spices) Well, making the baharat was a easy step for me because I see my Mom making garam masalah (all spices) ever now and then. I was about to use this in the dish but Aiza told me at the very moment that it's nowhere near garam masalah, and she really was telling me truth it was different in smell and taste too. Believe me I managed to taste the raw baharat and than instantly 1 tsp of sugar in my mouth to avoid over hotness - That tasting habit, Pheww. The main thing which I couldn't found was original loomi. When I give specification of loomi to vegetable vendor and asked about it, he got confuse for a while and then advised, "Baji, yeh limbo he lelou, taza hai."
Eng. trans. "Sister, take this lemon instead, its fresh."
So I had to use lemon in this dish instead of loomi. Nevertheless, it turned out pretty good with the same look as Pulao, but the flavor and aroma was totally different which I hadn't had before. It was the good experience anyway. Hop over recipe to enjoy yourself with this Bahraini treat.

Chicken Machbous | Bahraini Chicken and Spicy Rice Recipe.

First prepare Baharat:
  • ½ tablespoon black peppercorns
  • ½ tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick (about 1 inches long)
  • ½ teaspoon whole cloves
  • pinch of green cardamom seeds
  • ½ tablespoon paprika powder
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
Method: Grind all the spices in spice grinder well.

Chicken Machbous Recipe:
slightly moderated from Daring Gourmet.
serves 2-3

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • Chicken pieces (about 1.5 pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons ghee or unsalted butter
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 1 tablespoon baharat (see recipe above)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 hot green chile, seeded and diced
  • ½ tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 large cloves or garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1-2 dried limes/loomi (I used juice of half lemon.)
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1½ cups chicken stock
  • 1 cups basmati rice (soaked for at least 15 minutes, then rinsed and drained)
  • 1 tablespoon Rosewater for sprinkling
  • few Coriander leaves (optional)

  1. Heat the oil in a pot or wok over medium-high heat and fry the chicken pieces on both sides until the skin is brown and crispy. Transfer the chicken to a plate and leave the remaining oil in the pot.
  2. Add the ghee (or butter), reduce the heat to medium, and fry the onions until light brown, for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the ginger, garlic, and green chile pepper and saute for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the baharat and turmeric and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Return the chicken pieces to the pot. Add in tomatoes, dried limes, chicken stock and stir to combine. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for one hour.
  6. Add drained rice and stir to combine. Return it to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for another 15-20 minutes until the rice is done and has absorbed the liquid.
  7. Transfer Machbous to a serving dish. sprinkle with rosewater and coriander (optional).

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