Majboos Dejaaj ~ Emirati Chicken Rice
Recipe type: Rice
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 kg chicken, cut into medium pieces
  • ¾ tsp cumin powder
  • ¼ tsp clove powder
  • 2 tsp bezaar spice mix
  • 1½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • Juice of one lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2½ cup basmati rice
  • ¼ cup olive oil + more if needed
  • 3 large onions, sliced
  • 3 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 large loomi (dried lemon), holes made
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 bruised cardamom
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorn
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • 1 bunch coriander leaves, washed and chopped (leaves and stems included)
  • A fat pinch saffron, soaked in 3 tbsp boiling water
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  1. Combine all the ingredients under "for marinade" into a bowl and give it a good whisk.
  2. Add the chicken in and coat well. Set aside till use.
  3. Wash the rice well. Soak in water for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  4. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and fry them on medium-high flame till golden brown, caramelised. Drain and set aside.
  5. Add more oil if required. Add in the marinated chicken and fry both the sides till golden brown, it is not necessary that the chicken is cooked.
  6. Add in the tomatoes, whole spices, loomi and half the fried onions. Sprinkle in salt and pepper. Toss up the mixture to coat the chicken.
  7. Allow the mixture to cook for around a couple of minutes.
  8. Add in the water and stock cubes, close the lid and allow it to come to a boil. Adjust the seasoning and cook till the chicken is 70% cooked.
  9. Add in the rice and give a soft stir. Allow the water to boil with the rice.
  10. Reduce the flame to the lowest and cook till the rice absorbs the liquid and is almost cooked.
  11. Sprinkle in the remaining half of the fried onions, coriander leaves, saffron water and ghee, cover the lid with a kitchen towel and keep it tightly closed for another 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can cover up the pan with aluminium foil and close the lid.
  12. Switch off the flame and keep the rice undisturbed for 10 minutes. Open the lid, give a good mix and serve hot!
In the original recipe, the author adds a small can of drained chickpeas. You can add that during the addition of the "onion-coriander-saffron water-ghee" stage if you wish to. I do not add it since I don't like canned chickpeas.
Keep the quantity of water between 1½ cups to 1¾ cups for 1 cup of rice. The former quantity will give you dry and long looking grains while the latter will give you well cooked rice, just like mine.
Recipe by The Big Sweet Tooth at