It was in 2017 that I stumbled upon this recipe by Recipe Tin Eats when I was browsing through rice recipes on Pinterest. This one-pot rice dish is perfect if you love mild flavours in your rice. This is different from the popular Arabic rice dishes like Kabsa and Mandi because here the chicken pieces themselves carry a lot of flavour. If you are someone like me, a fan of road-side shawarmas, this is the rice dish for you. The best part? It is a very simple one-pot recipe with minimal cutting and chopping. Isn’t that the DREAM?
Here’s how to make this Shawarma Rice
Start off by marinating the chicken pieces in the shawarma spice rub. I used chicken thighs with skin on that weighed 1 kg. It is best if you marinate it over night in the refrigerator so the chicken pieces absorb in all those juices and flavours. I have used paprika in the spice rub which you can substitute with red chili powder; but remember to add less of it because red chili powder is much hotter than regular paprika. Also, if you do not have access to coriander seeds, use a teaspoon of coriander powder instead. Similarly substitute olive oil with regular cooking oil.
Now you can use canned chickpeas in which case you don’t need any preparation but if you are using dried chickpeas, remember to soak it overnight. Wash them well the next day and pressure cook for one whistle and let it cook in the pressure cooker till the pressure settles. Now you might want to remember to not throw the cooking liquor from the chickpeas. Save it for later, believe me it works wonders.
For the rice, I have used Basmati rice but I personally believe Sella rice will be better for this recipe because it seems to work better for all the middle-eastern rice dishes. Wash the rice and soak in water for half an hour. Drain the rice well before using it.
Now when you fry the chicken, fry the chicken pieces in olive oil with skin side down. This is done because the skin side takes longer to cook. It took me about 10 minutes on the skin side on medium flame to get it right. After you flip them, it won’t take much time to cook the other side.
Saute onion and garlic in olive oil before adding the spices. Then add the soaked rice and let it fry for some time till it changes in colour. Add chickpeas and then add chicken stock and water. I used 1 cube of Maggi chicken stock in 1.5 cups of chickpeas cooking liqour to make the chicken stock. You can substitute with the water if you don’t have either. Make sure you add salt only after adding the stock because the stock will have some amount of salt in it. Add pepper as well. Close the lid and let it cook for 5-10 minutes on medium flame till the water evaporates. Then when you see that the water has somewhat evaporated place the chicken pieces, skin side up and cook with lid closed till rice gets properly cooked.
Top with sultanas or raisins and cilantro/parsley. Make a quick plain yogurt dip on the side.
Lastly, if you make this shawarma rice with chickpeas, be sure to leave a comment! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram!
Cumin – 2 tsp (ground)
Pepper – 2 tsp (ground)
Cinnamon – 1 inch (ground)
Cardamom – 4 (ground)
Coriander seeds – 2 tsp (ground)
Garlic – 4 (minced)
Lemon juice – 3 tbsp.
Olive oil – 1/4 cup
Salt – 1 tsp
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Paprika – 2 tsp
Red chili flakes – 1/2 tsp
CHICKEN AND RICE
5 chicken thigh fillets, bone in, skin on – 1 kg
Olive oil – 1 tbsp
Onion – 1 (finely diced)
Garlic – 2 (minced)
Basmati/Sella rice – 1.5 cups
Chicken stock (or water) – 1.5 cups
2 cups water
¾ – 1 tsp salt
Cardamom powder – 1 tsp
2 cinnamon sticks
Chickpeas (cooked/canned) – 1.25 cups
Raisins or sultanas (optional)
Cilantro/coriander leaves, roughly chopped (optional)
1. Mix the Spice Rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Slather onto the chicken, covering both sides and marinate overnight (minimum 1 hour).
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet/wok over medium high heat. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until light golden brown.
3. Remove chicken and the excess oil along with burnt bits. Leave some oil.
4. Add garlic and onion. Cook for 2 minutes until translucent.
5. Add cinnamon and cardamom powder and saute for a few minutes.
6. Add rice and stir so the grains are coated in oil and become a bit translucent.
7. Add chickpeas, chicken stock and water and season with salt and pepper. Close with lid on and let it cook till water evaporates a bit.
8. Place the chicken on top – it should be half submerged with the skin above the surface. Pour in the juices from the plate as well.
9.Then place a lid on and let it cook till the rice gets cooked.
10. Remove chicken and mix the rice well. Garnish with sultanas/raisins and cilantro/parsley.
All photos © Nihala Parveen