Arseeyah is a simple and hearty rice and chicken dish. I consider of the UAE’s great comfort foods. It is a great food for young children (it is one of my children’s favorite foods) and adults love to eat it as well. I cook this often during Ramadan and it is also a dish which is always made at my sister-in-laws house every Eid for breakfast time. I like to make this for a simple lunch or dinner.
This past April, Sharjah had a Heritage Festival. If you are able to go please do it is held every April. Anyway, this was a common dish being offered there. I was able to ask one of the women there how she made hers and it was the same except that she used basmati rice instead of calrose (short grain) rice like I do but she assured me that it could be made using the calrose rice. I have never tried making Arseeyah with basmati rice.
Arseeyah is very easy to make and only has just a few ingredients. I use chicken breast to make mine but you can definitely use a whole chicken which will give you more flavor of course. Okay, now for the recipe.
2 cups of calrose (short grain) rice
1 kg (2 pounds) of chicken breast or 1200 grams of whole chicken
2 liters of water (about 8 cups)
1 large piece of cinnamon bark
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper powder
Melted Samen or ghee
In a medium size pot add the chicken, water, and cinnamon bark. Boil the chicken breast for one hour or the whole chicken until it is falling off the bones. Remember to skim off the scum. Strain and reserve the broth.
Cool and then debone the chicken. The chicken will now need to be cut into finely chopped pieces.
In a large pot add the rice, the strained broth, the chopped chicken, salt, pepper and cardamom powder. Stir.
Bring to a boil and then simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. The pot needs to be covered. Every ten minutes go and stir the Arseeyah so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pot.
I like to use this heavy spatula to help stir and scrape the Arseeyah.
Every ten minutes you will need to stir the Arseeyah.
Turn off the heat and remove the lid to let all the steam out.
Once, it finished cooking it will look like this…not dry but still moist.
Taste for salt.
With an electric mixer set on high, mix the Arseeyah until the rice and chicken are “melted” into each other very well.
Arseeyah needs to be served hot.
Place the Arseeyah onto a platter and spoon melted samen (ghee) over the entire surface and smooth out. Since it is Ramadan I am serving the Arseeyah in a huge hot pot (I just love these! It will keep the food nice and hot for hours!).
Variation: I like to add 1 can of Nestle Cream to the Arseeyah and then mix it well using the electric mixer.
I hope that you try and enjoy my recipe!
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