Mandi (Yemeni chicken and rice) المندي


Mandi (Arabic: المندي‎) is a traditional Yemeni dish, usually made from rice, meat (lamb or chicken), and a mixture of spices. The meat used is usually a young and small sized lamb to enhance the taste further. The main thing which differentiates mandi is that the meat is cooked in the tandoor (taboon in Hadhrami), which is a special kind of oven. The tandoor is usually a hole dug in the ground and covered inside by clay. To cook mandi, dry wood is placed in the tandoor and burned to generate a lot of heat turning into charcoal. The meat is then suspended inside the tandoor without touching the charcoal. After that, the whole tandoor is closed without letting any of the smoke out. 

Ofcourse, I don’t have a tandoor oven at home, so I will do mandi in the regular oven.

  • 1 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 2 tbs samneh or (ghee)
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 1 stick cinnamon 
  • 5 pieces whole gloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 chili pepper (optional)
  • 5 whole cardamoms 
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tsp salt for soaking the rice

For chicken:

  • 4 pieces chicken
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander1/2 tsp ground lumi (dried lime)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1/2 tsp paprika 
  • 1/2 ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom 
  •  1/2 tsp white pepper 
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 2 tbs corn oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon


  1. Wash chicken pieces, and pat dry
  2. In a small bowl mix all chicken spices, lemon juice and oil
  3. Massage chicken pieces with the spices mixture.
  4. Preheat oven to 350F.
  5. Wash rice until water runs clear
  6. Soak rice in water and 1 tbs of salt for 20 minutes
  7. Meanwhile, in a big non stick skillet, sear the chicken pieces 5 minutes on each side. Set aside.
  8. In the same skillet, sauté onion in the samneh( ghee butter) until translucent 
  9. Drain water from rice
  10. In an oven safe baking dish, add onion, tomatoes, rice and all the whole spices and the broth
  11. Taste the broth to adjust salt
  12. Add the chili pepper if used
  13. Cover the baking dish with heavy duty aluminum foil
  14. Make small holes on the foil, and place chicken on top of the foil
  15. Bring another piece of foil, and cover chicken tightly and completely with it to prevent steam from coming out.
  16. Cook in the middle rack of a preheated oven for about 1 1/2 hour, or until chicken is tender.
  17. To serve, take aluminum foil off, and spoon the rice in the serving dish with chicken pieces on top
  18. Garnish with toasted pine nuts


  • Notes:
  •  you can double up the recipe, depends on how many people you have.
  • The amount of salt you add to the rice makes a big difference in the taste.
  • In this recipe, chicken will cook on the steam of the broth
  • This step is optionl, to obtain the smoke flavor, before serving, bring a piece of charcoal and burn it on the top of the stove. Meanwhile,  cut a small piece of aliminium foil, and put some olive oil in it. When charcoal is ready, add it to the olive oil. Put the charcoal with aluminum foil in the middle of the rice and cover the rice tightly for two minutes. Remove it , and serve.

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