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Arabic chicken machboos on a platter

Arabic Chicken Machboos

  • Author: caroline
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1x


An traditional Middle East dish of spiced rice and meat – this Arabic Chicken Machboos is both flavoursome and delicious. 

The default recipe serves one.


  • 1 large chicken leg
  • 65g / 2.3oz (1/3 cup) basmati rice
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 onion (brown or white)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 180ml (3/4 cup) chicken or vegetable stock 
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • 1 loomi (4-6 holes pierced in the skin with a knife) or 1 tsp lime juice
  • 2 cardamom pods, with a small slit cut into each with a sharp knife
  • 1 small cinnamon stick

For Spice Mix:

  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp fennel seeds
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp crushed coriander seeds


  1. Mix together all the spice mix ingredients. Pat the chicken dry with some kitchen towel and use a small amount of the spice mix to rub into the skin. Leave for at least 15 minutes while you prepare everything else. Rinse and soak the rice for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat half the oil in a large frying pan/skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sear on all sides (you just want the skin to turn a light golden brown – not to fully cook) and then set aside.
  3. Add the onions to the pan and fry for around 5-6 minutes until softened. 
  4. Add the garlic, spice mix, cinnamon stick and loomi to the onions and cook for a further minute before stirring in the stock, tomato and raisins. Add the chicken back to the pan, season well and reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. 
  5. After 15 minutes remove the loomi, cinnamon stick and discard and remove the chicken and set aside. Stir the rice into the mixture increase the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes. Until the water has mainly evaporated. Reduce the heat to low and cover and cook for a further 15 minutes.
  6. While the rice is cooking, heat the remainder of the oil in another frying pan over medium-high heat and when hot, add the chicken. Cook and turn regularly until the chicken is dark brown and a little charred. It should take around 8-10 minutes to get a good deep colour and crispy skin.
  7. Serve the rice on a plate and then add the chicken on top. Garnish with some fresh parsley or mint and serve with some raita drizzled over the top. 


  1. If you are using loomi for this recipe then one will be fine if you are cooking up to 4 portions – you don’t need to increase the number of loomi used
  2. You also do not need to increase the amount of cinnamon if multiplying the recipe
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Hob
  • Cuisine: Arabic


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 713
  • Fat: 27g
  • Carbohydrates: 79g
  • Protein: 36g

Keywords: arabic, rice, dinner, middle eastern, chicken