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MENA Cooking Club: Bahraini Chicken Machbous

bahraini chicken machbous recipe
Chicken Machbous was this month's savoury recipe for MENA Cooking Club Members (sign up today!) to try. Chosen by Joanne from What's on the list? 

This dish is very similar to biryani I've cooked before except everything is cooked on the stove instead of going in the oven. Apologies misinformation ive been informed by a dear sister biryani is authentically made on the stove. 

I tried my best to get hold of baharat spice and loomis (dried black limes) but i'd already had bought numerous new ingredients this month so instead i used ras el hanout and a squeeze of lime juice.

It may not be authentic, but it was certainly flavourful and i plan to make it again and again, in sha Allah.

I looked online for more recipes of machbous and settled on this one by the daring gourmet and adapted it accordingly.

The use of cardamom and rose water in both this and bahraini halwa floats my boat.

Bahraini Chicken Machbous

Adapted from: the daring gourmet
Serves: 2-3
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 45 minutes
UK Cup = 250ml


1 onion, diced
1 1/2 tablespoons butter or ghee
1/2 tablespoon baharat spice mix (i used ras el hanout)
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
500 grams combination on chicken legs, thighs & breast (with bone and skin)
1/2 hot green chilli, seeds intact and diced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
120 grams fresh tomato, diced
3 cardamom pods, smashed
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 lime, juice only
1/3 vegetable stock cube dissolved in 1 1/4 cups boiled water
1 cup basmati rice (soaked for at least 15 minutes in cold water, then drained and rinsed)
2 1/2 tablespoon fresh coriander, chopped
1/2 to 1 tablespoon rose water for sprinkling (optional but highly recommended)


  1. Heat the butter/ghee in a large dutch oven or frying pan over medium-high heat and fry the chicken pieces on both sides until the skin is brown and crispy. Transfer the chicken to a plate and leave the remaining oil in the pan.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and fry onions until starting to brown, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and chilli and saute for 2 minutes. 
  4. Add ras el hanout, turmeric, ginger & cinnamon cook for another minute.
  5. Return chicken pieces along with cardamom, tomato and lime juice. Add vegetable stock and stir to combine. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour.
  6. Add coriander and drained rice and stir to combine (i use a wooden fork to do this). Return it to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until this rice is done and liquid has been absorbed.
  7. Turn heat off and leave covered for 10 minutes before sprinkling with rose water, fluff rice with a fork and transfer chicken and rice to a serving dish.

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At 9 August 2014 at 23:40 , Blogger Aiza said...

Firstly I love the food, and how did you manage to make both of the dishes? Wah, someone's getting ahead of us ;)
The rice looks fragrant and the Halwa- a perfect rosy goodness. MashAllah.
Also I live in the land of biryani and I have never seen it baked? If it is done it's a foreign concept to me.
Hope everything is fine and your kids have recovered.

At 10 August 2014 at 01:23 , Blogger Umm Hamza Harley said...

To be honest I don't know how I managed it considering I made them both during the last 3 days. JazakAllahu Khairan for your kind words and I thought oven cooking was the authentic method? Anyways potaoe potato it's all the same to us right. Alhamdulillah my children have recovered :)

At 10 August 2014 at 01:25 , Blogger Umm Hamza Harley said...

Btw I meant potatoe rrrrhhh this auto spell

At 10 August 2014 at 06:03 , Blogger mickeydownunder said...

G'day to you!
What a wonderful recipe and photo you submitted! Thank you for being this month's host and sharing the food love for you!
Cheers! Joanne @What's On the List

At 10 August 2014 at 13:03 , Blogger Sadaf F K. said...

Hats off to you for making both dishes this month. I couldn't ever able to do as you did at last days. MashaAllah both of them are pretty great. Delicious. :)

At 10 August 2014 at 13:08 , Blogger Umm Hamza Harley said...

Aww Thanks Sadaf i'm so glad i did because i've found 2 recipes i will definitely make again and again in sha Allah

At 11 August 2014 at 14:35 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn delicious!!!
we used to called it as Chicken kabsah, my moslem friend used to made it with lamb too....


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