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Spiced Chicken with Basmati Rice

4 Servings

1 hour 30 minutes active

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Machboos (which goes by multiple spellings) is considered the national dish of Bahrain, but also is popular in other countries on the Arabian Peninsula. With a base of fragrant basmati rice, machboos might be made with chicken, lamb or fish, and the spicing varies recipe to recipe but always is rich, complex and warm. The dish can be elaborate and ingredient-intensive, but it inspired us to create this simple, single-skillet rendition that’s doable on a weeknight. Black limes (also called dried limes) are sun-dried whole limes used in Middle Eastern cooking. With a tangy, slightly smoky, subtly floral quality and notes of fermentation, their flavor is inimitable. A couple of black limes pierced with the tip of a knife are a terrific addition to this dish, but they’re optional, so don’t hesitate to leave them out; the chicken and rice still will be delicious and aromatic. Either bone-in thighs or breasts work well, so use whichever you prefer, or even a combination. If using breasts, cut each one in half crosswise with a sturdy chef’s knife.




Don’t add the browned chicken to the rice mixture until the rice mixture reaches a boil, and make sure it’s still at a boil before covering the pan and reducing the heat to medium-low. If the liquid is not sufficiently hot, the rice will cook unevenly.

1 hour

30 minutes active


  • 2

    teaspoons ground turmeric

  • 2

    teaspoons ground cumin


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January 24, 2023
My whole family loved it
Roberta S.

I made it and meh, what a disappointment. Was it easy to make; absolutely yes! I had very high hopes, however after I tasted it, I knew it was missing something.
Perhaps if it had garam masala, cinnamon, or even saffron, it might have helped.
It is a simple one dish pilaf dish, common in the Middle East.
Perhaps if I had purchased the 'black limes,' it might have made a difference.
Again, it's ok, but don't expect much.
Will I make it again, as is, no. I will tweek it with reservations.
Perhaps if you want a one pot pilaf, you should consider the Afghan Kabul Pilau.