Saudi Arabian Mandi Rice: A Fragrant And Flavorful Dish

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Saudi Mandi rice is a flavorful and aromatic dish that is a staple in Saudi Arabian cuisine. It is traditionally made with long-grain rice, seasoned with a unique blend of spices, and cooked alongside tender pieces of lamb or chicken. The rice absorbs the rich flavors of the meat and spices, resulting in a comforting and satisfying dish that is perfect for a special occasion or a casual weeknight meal.


How to Make Chicken Mandi
How to Make Chicken Mandi

2 cups long-grain basmati rice, rinsed and soaked for 30 minutes

  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces (or 1 kg lamb meat, cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 3 black cardamom pods
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 cups chicken broth (or lamb broth for lamb recipe)
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)

  • Directions:

    1. Marinate the Chicken (or Lamb): In a large bowl, combine the chicken pieces (or lamb) with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, black pepper, cumin, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, and turmeric. Mix well and marinate for at least 30 minutes, or preferably overnight for deeper flavor.

    2. Sauté the Aromatics: Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and cook until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger, and cook for an additional minute until fragrant.

    3. Add Spices and Broth: Add the bay leaf, cardamom pods, black cardamom pods, and cloves to the pot. Stir for a few seconds to release their aromas. Pour in the chicken broth (or lamb broth) and bring to a boil.

    4. Cook the Chicken (or Lamb): Add the marinated chicken pieces (or lamb) to the pot. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and tender (or lamb is tender). If using lamb, the cooking time may vary depending on the size of the pieces.

    5. Prepare the Rice: While the chicken (or lamb) simmers, drain the soaked rice and rinse it again with fresh water.

    6. Assemble the Mandi: Once the chicken (or lamb) is cooked, carefully remove the pieces from the pot and set them aside on a plate. Season the broth with salt to taste. Spread the drained rice evenly over the bottom of the pot. Pour the seasoned broth over the rice, making sure the rice is submerged just slightly. Do not stir the rice.

    7. Steam the Rice: Cover the pot tightly with a lid and bring the broth to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and steam the rice for 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through and fluffy. The liquid should be absorbed completely.

    8. Rest and Fluff: Remove the pot from the heat and let the rice stand covered for an additional 5 minutes to allow the flavors to develop further. Fluff the rice gently with a fork before serving.

    9. Serve and Enjoy: Arrange the cooked chicken pieces (or lamb) on top of the fluffy rice. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley (optional) and serve hot. Enjoy the flavorful and aromatic Saudi Mandi rice with a side of your favorite vegetables or a simple salad.

    Nutrition Facts (per serving)

    Calories: Approximately 450-500 calories per serving (depending on the fat content of the meat)

  • Fat: 20-25 grams
  • Protein: 30-35 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 40-45 grams
  • Sodium: Varies depending on the amount of salt used

  • Please note: This is an approximate nutritional breakdown and can vary depending on the specific ingredients used and portion sizes.


    Saudi Mandi rice is a delicious and versatile dish that is sure to please your taste buds. The combination of fragrant spices, tender meat, and fluffy rice creates a truly satisfying meal. With its relatively simple preparation process, this recipe is perfect for both experienced cooks and beginners alike. So, next time you’re looking for a new and exciting dish to try, give Saudi Mandi rice a go!


    1. What can I substitute for chicken or lamb in this recipe?