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Lebanese Rice with Chicken (Riz 3a Djeij) Recipe

Photo: Lebanese Rice with Chicken

This is probably the most popular dish in Lebanon; it is appreciated by adults and children alike. The same rice recipe is used for stuffing leg of lamb, turkey, whole chicken, etc… If some kids don’t like eating chicken, you can serve them the rice accompanied with natural yogurt, they’ll surely love it. My mom used to accompany this dish with béchamel sauce but I prefer preparing the sauce with the bouillon that I get from the chicken. It’s a question of taste, they’re both equally good. Or as I said, you can just skip the sauce and serve it with plain natural yogurt.

This recipe yields 6 to 8 servings

Lebanese Rice (aka Oriental Rice)
3 tablespoons oil
1 large onion finely chopped
500 grams minced beef meat
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon dried bay powder
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 chicken bouillon cube
2 ½ cups long grain rice
4 cups boiling water
Heat oil in a large casserole and add onions. Once the onions are tilted, add the meat and stir until cooked through. Add pomegranate molasses, salt, and all the spice; stir for 5 minutes.  Add the rice and stir for 1 minute. Add the water and bouillon cube, lower heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes. Once the rice is cooked remove from heat and keep covered 10 minutes before serving.

Preparing the Chicken
2 tablespoons oil
3 chicken breasts (approximately 750 grams)
2 cups water
1 apple quartered
1 cinnamon stick
3 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tea bag (optional)
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon ginger powder

Heat oil in a deep skillet on medium high and add chicken breasts. Cook chicken until golden brown, turn to cook on the other side. Once the chicken is completely cooked add the water, apple, teabag, and all the spice. Turn heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked, strain the juice and reserve to make the sauce.

Note: I use the tea to give the sauce a dark a color and some extra taste. It can be omitted without any problem.

For the sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
Juice from cooked chicken (or 1 ½ cups chicken stock)
1 teaspoon soy sauce

In a small casserole heat the butter over low heat until melted. Add the flour and keep stirring until slightly browned.  Slowly add the chicken and use a whisk to completely dissolve the flour/butter mixture. Add soy sauce and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and serve with the rice and chicken.

Toasted Nuts
2 tablespoon whole or halved almonds
4 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons peeled pistachios
1 teaspoon oil

In a skillet heat oil and add almonds. Toast over low heat while constantly turning. Once the almonds are slightly colored, add the pine nuts. Toast until golden brown in color. Add the pistachios and stir all together for 30 seconds.

To serve, place the rice and top with half a chicken breast, sprinkle with toasted nuts. Serve sauce on the side.

Hope you enjoy this dish from my home country.

Alf sahtein  i.e. bon appétit 

Source: zmagictouch.com

More from the Lebanese Recipes Kitchen:

Traditional Bahraini Chicken Machboos
Spiced Lebanese Pine Nuts and Raisins Rice with Turkey
Spicy chickpea rice “kedreh”
Chicken Beryani  
Chicken Majboos  
Beryani with lamb  

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