Recipes from Bahrain: Machbous ala Djaj (Spiced Chicken with Rice)

Recipes from Bahrain

Machbous ala Djaj (Spiced Chicken with Rice)

Country: Bahrain
Course: Main
Makes: 6 to 8 servings


  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or butter
  • 1 tablespoon baharat
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 3 or 4 lb chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 strip lemon rind
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley


  1. Melt the ghee or butter in a saucepan and frying the onions until they are transparent and beginning to turn brown. Add the baharat and turmeric and stir for another two minutes or so.
  2. Add the chicken pieces to the pot and turn to coat. Cook over a medium heat until the pieces are lightly browned on all sides.
  3. Add the tomatoes, cloves, lemon rind, cinnamon, cardamom pods and salt. Stir to get everything well incorporated, then add the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover. Simmer for about 45 minutes.
  4. Wash the rice in cold water and drain. Add the rice, cilantro and parsley and bring back to a simmer.
  5. Keep cooking for another 35 to 40 minutes, until chicken is tender and almost all of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and let rest for 10 minutes.