Chicken Machboos (Bahraini Spiced Chicken and Rice)

It is very easy to find locally raised foods here in Portland. In fact, i think it is harder to find non-local chicken than local chicken. So this national dish of Bahrain was made with some local PNW chicken.


The pickled jalapeños we picked up at a farm market we stopped at during our wanderings in the cascades last weekend.


I thought this would be a good meal, but it surpassed my expectations, it was delicious!

I found the baharat spice mixture at Barbur World Foods on one of my wanderings while Cam played indoor lacrosse. That store was a real find and will be a great source of fresh and packaged ingredients for my Persian cooking.

Chicken Machboos is traditionally served with chicken pieces on the bone, skin on. I like how the meat becomes very tender and falls apart, so I used boneless, skinless thighs.


Chicken Machboos

 Adapted slightly from Kimberley Killebrew,

Total time: 1 hour 55 mins

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 lbs skinless boneless chicken thighs

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 large onions, diced

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

5 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon baharat spice mix (can be found at a middle eastern food store or online)

1 teaspoon turmeric

2 large roma tomatoes, diced

2-3 dried limes (loomi), several holes punched throughout each one

5 green cardamom pods

1 stick cinnamon (about 2 inches long)

1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

2 1⁄2 cups chicken stock

2 cups basmati rice (soaked for at least 30 minutes, then rinsed and drained)

1 pickled jalapeno per person sliced, for serving


Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and fry the chicken pieces on both sides until the skin is brown and crispy. Transfer the chicken to a plate and leave the remaining oil in the Dutch oven.

Add the butter, reduce the heat to medium, and fry the onions until starting to brown, about 10- 12 minutes.


Add the ginger and garlic, saute for another 2 minutes.

Add the baharat and turmeric and cook for another minute.


Return the chicken pieces to the Dutch oven along with the tomatoes, dried limes, cardamom pods, cinnamon and salt. Add the chicken stock and stir to combine. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for one hour.


Add the drained rice and stir to combine. Return it to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for another 15-20 minutes until the rice is done and has absorbed the liquid.


Serve, with the pickled jalapeño, and enjoy!


Serves 4-5



6 Comments Add yours

  1. Is that spicy food? Have a great day. Vonny


    1. It can be, you can put a diced hot pepper in during cooking. I did not because my son does not like hot food, so we add the pepper afterwards


      1. Oh ok..I can’t eat spicy food too..thanks for sharing this recipe 👍


      2. Then just leave out the jalapeño, it should be fine – and is very flavorful


      3. Ok..thanks so much


Let me know what you think of this post, and if you try the recipe, please let me know how it was and any suggestions you have. Thanks, Andrea

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