Ramadan Cooking: Eman’s Chicken Mandy
10 Jun 2018

Ramadan Cooking: Eman’s Chicken Mandy

10 Jun 2018

It’s the last weekend of Ramadan. Gosh, time really flies.  I wanted to make Chef Wan’s briyani gam with chicken kuzi, but I was missing a few ingredients and I’ll only be going to the market tomorrow.  Since I’ll also be eating out tomorrow, if I wanted to make something, tonight was my only window of opportunity to do so.  I decided on Eman’s chicken mandy, which I’ve been meaning to try for quite some time now.

I fell behind schedule and ended up rushing to have it ready for buka puasa, so this time I skipped the smoking process and completely forgot the fried onion and cilantro garnish.  Flavour-wise I think this was great, and the rice to water ratio was pretty spot on.  The original recipe called for saffron coloring which was supposed to give the chicken a nice reddish tone, but since I don’t have any on hand and have no idea where to get it, I’m thinking of using smoked paprika next time.

Will definitely make this again.

Eman’s Chicken Mandy


  • 1 (1.5 kilogram) chicken, cut into halves
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon Saudi spice mix
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves (bunga cengkih)
  • 5 cardamom pods (buah pelaga)
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup yellow jumbo raisins
  • 3 cups long grain basmathi rice, washed and drained
  • Fried onions, for garnish
  • Chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (fan 160 degrees C).  Place the oven rack on the lowest shelf.

In a small bowl, add the turmeric, Saudi spice mix, paprika, and 1 teaspoon salt.  Stir to combine.

Pat dry the chicken both inside and out using paper towels.  Place the chicken in a large bowl.

Sprinkle the spice mix over the chicken, and rub evenly using your hand.  Set aside.

In a large Dutch oven over medium high heat, heat the oil.

Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Add the cloves, cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks.  Stir to combine.

Add the jumbo raisins and stir to combine.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt.

Add the rice.

Add about 5 cups of water.  Gently stir to combine.

Spread the rice into an even layer in the pot.  Place your (clean) index finger just on top of the rice layer and check the water level.  The water level should be the same as the first joint of your index finger.

Place a wire rack over the pot.

Gently place the chicken on the wire rack.

Transfer the pot and the wire rack, legs in first, to the oven and bake, until the thickest part of the chicken breast reads 65 degrees C on an instant read thermometer, about 1 hour.  If not using a thermometer, use this Roast Timer as a guide; because the chicken is butterflied, you can check for doneness at the halfway point.

Remove the pot and chicken from the oven.  Carefully place the chicken on top of the rice.  Place a small ramekin or bowl inside the pot, and add a bit of oil in it.

Over an open flame on your stove, heat a small piece of charcoal until it becomes red hot.

Place the red hot coal in the ramekin containing the oil.  The oil should immediately start to smoke.

Quickly cover the Dutch oven with its heavy lid and let rest, about 20 minutes.

Remove the lid and discard the charcoal, remembering to douse it with water beforehand.  Cut the chicken into pieces and place on a serving platter.

Garnish the rice with the fried onions and chopped cilantro.  Serve warm with a side of Arabic salsa or achar.

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