Mandi is a method of preparing Kabsa as per Yemenis style. This is a method of cooking meat inside a tandoor|oven (or rather a hole dug in the ground and covered inside by clay). To cook mandi, dry wood is placed indide the tandoor and burned to generate heat turning into charcoal. Then the meat is kept inside the oven and allowed to cook in a closed condition. The term Mandi originates from Arabic because of the dewy soft and moist texture of the meat. Mandi is a rice dish with meat and the spices. The meat usually Lamb or chicken. It is a very popular dish in all Arabic countries. There are many variations found in the preparation of Kabsa. The amount of spice added to the preparation varies. Mandi| Kabsa is considered the main dish served during special events, such as Eid, weddings, and feasts.
 Lets see how to prepare this yummy festive mandi easily at home with out a tandoor. 

Mandi recipe

Basmathi Rice- 4 cups
Chicken with skin-1.2 kg
Mandi spice mix- 1 tablespoon
Turmeric- 1/2 teaspoon
lemon- 1/2
Dry lemon- 1-2
Salt- to taste
ghee|butter- 1 tablespoons
oil-1 tablespoons
cinnamon, cardamom and cloves- 3 pieces each
Onion, chopped- 2 large
Red chilli powder- 1 teaspoon
Dry ginger powder- 1 teaspoon

Mandi Spice Mix:
cumin seeds- 1/2 tablespoons
coriander seeds- 1 tablespoons
cinnamon- 3-4  one inch pieces
dry Ginger- 1 big piece (2 inch)
bay leaf- 2
peppercorns- 1/2 tablespoons

For Tomato Chutney:
tomatoes- 3
green chillies-3
garlic-4 cloves
salt- to taste

Arabic food picture


For Mandi Spice Powder:
  • Slightly roast the spices till the aroma arises and when you touch (to check) the spices should be hot. Do not over roast it.
  • Finely powder it in a blender jar and transfer it to an air tight container.
For Meat Marination:
  • Wash and cut the chicken into half if you wish.
  • Take a tablespoon of mandi spice, add turmeric, salt and mix well. Rub the spice mix over the chicken.
  • Squeeze the lemon juice over the chicken and apply thoroughly all over the chicken.
  • Allow to marinate 2-3 hours.
For Stock and Rice preparation:
  • Soak the rice for 30 minutes.
  • In a deep wide pan add a tablespoon of ghee and oil together;  Add the cinnamon, cardamom and cloves.
  • Now add the onion with some salt and cook till soft. Now add the marinated meat and cook the meat in high flame; Brown the meat for 3 minutes.
  • Add a teaspoon of red chilli powder and dry ginger powder and mix well and add 5 cups of water(extra one cup to compensate the evaporation loss while cooking chicken), 1/2 tablespoon of mandi spice powder, 2 dry lemon, 2 green chillies and salt to taste.
  • Close with a lid and cook till the meat cooks well (around 20-30 minutes)on medium flame. If you are planning to brown the skin on oven 20 minutes is enough.
  • Remove the meat from the stock and add the rice. close with a lid and cook till the rice is done.
  • I have browned the skin of the meat further in a preheated 180 degree oven  for 20 minutes.(this step is optional, people donot have oven can skip this step)
  • You could bake the rice too if you have a oven proof vessel while browning the skin of the chicken. Or else simmer on top of flame and cook the rice. 
  • Finally arrange the meat inside the rice pot and if you wish to get a smoky flavour, keep a small bowl and keep a piece of charcoal and add quarter teaspoon of ghee and close with a tight lid.(optional)
  • Before serving garnish the dish with almonds|pine nuts| cashewnuts, raisins and fried onions.
For Tomato Chutney:
  • Roughly chop tomatoes, green chilies and garlic; add inside the blender jar with some salt.
  • Blend to make a slightly coarse paste.
  • Add 1/4 cup of water if you find the consistency of the chutney thick.
kabsa image

kabsa image

Oman food image