Machbous Ala Djaj (Bahrain)

READY IN: 1hr 50mins
Recipe by GiddyUpGo

This recipe is from week 20 of my food blog, "Travel by Stove." I am attempting to cook one meal from every nation on Earth, and Bahrain is my 20th stop. Machbous is a spiced rice dish, considered by many to be the national dish of Bahrain (a small island nation in the Persian Gulf). This version is made with chicken.

Top Review by UmmBinat

This is good. Since you are going for authenticity, I would add a black loomi (dried lime) or two. I did use the lemon peel as well but I'm sure it's in there for the lack of obtaining the former. I would leave it out but be sure to add loomis which adds an authentic flavour. I would garnish with a bit of fresh cilantro like the photo as well or it will look boring. I added some yellow raisins and sliced blanched almonds toasted in butter to the top of our as well. I used butter, chicken which I removed the skin out of preference, good quality canned plum tomatoes, sea salt, to taste, more water and then just strained and measured the amount needed to cook Basmati rice, flat leaf parsley, plus the rest of the ingredients. Maybe I will make this again with just loomi, & note to self not to soak the rice. Made for Welcome to Bahrain!

Ingredients Nutrition


  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.

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