Ramadan Cooking: Chef Ammar’s Chicken Mandy with Rice and Arabic Salsa
04 Jun 2017

Ramadan Cooking: Chef Ammar’s Chicken Mandy with Rice and Arabic Salsa

04 Jun 2017

I’ve been quite good about making something for buka puasa almost every day now, usually appetizers and snacks on weekdays, and a full meal on weekends.  I had a giant whole chicken in the freezer waiting for me to do something with, so I decided to try out Chef Ammar’s chicken mandy with rice.

I saw Chef Ammar make this dish from one of his shows I found on YouTube.  As always the ingredients list they displayed on screen differred from what he actually used on set, which was strange, so I had to figure out a few things on my own.

I made adjustments to the recipe written below after my first attempt at making this.  Overall I thought the rice was delicious and didn’t change a thing, but the flavor of the chicken from the other recipe I’ve tried was better.  The salsa was the perfect accompaniment to this dish, and I highly recommend taking just that little bit of extra time to make it.  Give it a try!

Chef Ammar’s Chicken Mandy with Rice and Arabic Salsa


  • 1 (1.5 kilogram) whole chicken
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric (serbuk kunyit)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or ghee
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 7 cloves (cengkih)
  • 7 allspice
  • 7 cardamom pods (buah pelaga)
  • 2 green chillies, halved lengthwise without splitting the stem
  • 1 birds’ eye chilli (cili padi), crushed
  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
  • 2 black limes (loomi)
  • 2 cups long-grain basmati rice, washed and soaked in water for 30 minutes, and drained
  • 1 1/2 chicken stock cubes, diluted in 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable cooking oil
  • 1 small piece natural coal
  • Yellow food coloring (optional)


Preheat the oven to 260 degrees C (fan 240 degrees).

Butterfly the chicken and remove the wing tips (the backbone and wing tips may be reserved for stock, if you like).

In a small bowl, combine the paprika, turmeric, black pepper, and salt.  Season the chicken inside and out with the spice mixture.

Place the chicken breast side up in a roasting tin.  Place the over rack in the upper-middle position, put the chicken in the oven legs first and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, until the outside of the chicken starts browning.  Lower the temperature to 230 degrees C (fan 210 degrees) and continue roasting, until an instant thermometer reads 65 degrees C when inserted into the thickest part of the breast, about 25 minutes.  Cover in aluminium foil and let rest for about 15 minutes before cutting.

While the chicken is roasting, cook the rice.  In a large pot or your rice cooker pot over high heat, heat the olive oil.

Add the chopped onions, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, cloves, allspice and cardamom and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.

Add the green chilies and cili padi and continue cooking, stirring, until fragrant.  Add the mixed vegetables and the black lime, and stir to combine.

Add the rice, the chicken stock, and salt.

Cover and cook, stirring once in between, until the rice is done and all the liquid has evaporated, about 35 minutes.  If using a rice cooker, transfer the rice cooker pot to the rice cooker and continue cooking until done, stirring once after the liquid has almost completely evaporated.

When the rice is done, make a well in the center.  Place a small bowl containing a bit of vegetable oil, and add a small piece of red-hot coal into the bowl.  The coal will start to smoke.  Cover the pot and let sit for about 10 minutes.

When the chicken is done, brush with the yellow food coloring (Optional).  Heap the rice onto a large serving platter, and top with the roasted chicken.  Serve with the Arabic salsa.

Arabic Salsa

  • 1 tomato, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 Thai chillies (cili padi)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)

Add all the ingredients into a blender and blitz until evenly pureed.  Serve with the chicken mandy and rice.

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