Before coming and settling in Kuwait with my hubby, I had the faintest idea about Arab dishes.All I had heard off and had some acquaintance with was the S-dishes namely,Shavarma and Shavaya.That too,the Indian version.The little knowledge I had about Arab dishes was too much shadowed by hear says such as"They are dishes where neither taste makers nor spices are added.You could not even say if it is sweet or sour."Imagine you being given a whole chicken,simply boiled in water with out adding anything else and cheerfully asked to eat...Well, I had serious doubts about my chances of survival while flying to Kuwait.
But the story was different when I started shaking hands with these dishes.At first they felt so plain and bland to my spice drenched Indian tongue.But later, when I had more chances to make friends with them,I slowly began finding sense in them.It was like old times,when a newly released Bollywood song would seem a nuisance to your ear,when you first listen to it,but later on when time and again you hear it, you start sensing the beauty in its tone...
That was how,I too became a Majboos lover.Coming to the recipe,I have tried a lot of varieties and this is what I formulated after much researches and feed backs from my friends and family. This is a recipe I perfected out after a lot of help from my cousin sister in law Sajitha, who is a great researcher but doesn't have a blog yet. You could try differently by adding more oil and more spices if you like,according to your taste.
3 cups Basmathi rice(soaked for at least 3 hrs)
1 whole chicken with skin (1 kg)
2 medium sized onions-sliced
2 tablespoon black pepper seeds
2-3 cinnamon sticks(of 2" length)
2-3 bay leaves
1 dried black lemon
2 pinches of saffron colour(optional)
4 1/2 cups of water
salt to taste For garnishing: Chana dal/ split chick peas - 2 tbsp white raisins , soaked for 2 min and drained - 2 tbsp
Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
1. Wash the chicken properly and cut them into halves or quarter pieces without removing the skin.Allow it to drain.
2. Heat 4 1/2 cups of water in a vessel and when it starts to boil add sliced onions,black pepper seeds and all the spices into it.Add the dried lemon piercing a hole in it using a knife. Add salt to taste.
3. Finally add the drained chicken to it.
4. Cower the vessel and allow to cook for at least one hour in medium to low heat until the chicken is tender and well cooked.
5. Now, take the chicken out from the spicy broth and keep aside. Sieve the broth into another larger vessel kept on medium heat and put the cinnamon sticks back to the broth
6. Add the soaked and drained basmathi rice to the boiling broth and cook in low flame covering the vessel.Stir the rice occasionally taking care not to break the rice. When the water starts to dry pour 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil over the rice and cover it up.When the rice is well cooked and all the water has dried up, carefully stir the rice once more and remove the vessel from heat. Transfer one fourth of the cooked rice to a bowl and add the saffron colour dissolved in one table spoon of water. Mix well with a spoon and keep aside Cook the chana dal in a pressure cooker with a little water, a pinch of salt and a pinch of saffron colour until tender. keep it aside. Heat a frying pan and add a tablespoon of oil to it. Add the raisins and fry until they are brown and puffed up. Remove from the pan and add this to the coloured rice.Now add the cooked chana dal to the same pan and saute for a few seconds adding garam masala powder.Add this also to the colored rice mixture
7. Now grill the cooked chicken halves in the oven keeping it at the top rack,until the skin is brown and crispy.
You can fry the chicken by adding some oil to a big pan and frying in medium flame.Make sure all the sides are evenly fried and crispy by turning it around.After taking the chicken out you can pour the remaining oil over the cooked rice so that it gets a nice flavour.
Pour the cooked rice into a wide plate and keep the grilled chicken pieces on top of it.Garnish with the coloured rice mixture with raisins and chana dal. Serve hot with dakkoos and salad.