Spiced Chicken & Rice

 Photo by Savannah Van der Niet

Photo by Savannah Van der Niet

There’s a Lebanese place in Red Hill that does the most insane vegetarian savoury rice and lentils, with charred bits of eggplant and chewy fried onion. I’ve never been able to cook eggplant right, but this is my attempt at something close to what they do. But also with chicken. 

INGREDIENTS

RICE
750g Basmati rice
200g Lentils
200g Raisins
5 Cloves of garlic
2 Large onions
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground coriander
½ bunch fresh coriander
200g Pine nuts
Olive oil
1 Lemon

CHICKEN
1.5 kilos chicken breast.
1.5 tablespoons turmeric
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 preserved lemons
(from a jar)

Boil the rice and the lentils separately – the rice for 10-15 mins and the lentils for 25-30 – until they’re tender. Combine the two, then fry the garlic, raisins, pine nuts and spices together in a seperate bowl. Mix through the rice and lentils, adding more spices and salt if it’s a bit bland.

Slice the onion into circles, separate the individual rings, then deep fry them in about 1 cup of olive oil until light brown and crispy. You don’t have to do this – you could dice them and fry with the garlic instead – but I think the long bits of fried onion through the rice give it a different texture and more interesting flavour. When you’re ready to serve, toss through a bunch of fresh coriander and squeeze some lemon over it.

Cut the chicken into strips (try and make them roughly the same size so they cook in the same time). Coat the chicken in the spices and preserved lemon and leave to marinate for about an hour. Shallow fry it in a pan (you might have to cook it in batches to make sure it’s cooked – don’t give your friends the raw chicken voms), then serve on top of the spiced rice.