Category Archives: Rice Dishes

Vermicelli Rice and Baked Chicken

I made Vermicelli Rice and Baked Chicken for lunch yesterday.

The Vermicelli Rice goes really well with curry and I used this spice rub for the baked chicken which I originally posted about here a few years ago.  I like to use it mainly for baked chicken, grilled salmon, or lamb roast.

Okay on to the recipe…

Vermicelli Rice

1 cup of uncooked vermicelli noodles

2 cups of uncooked basmati rice

2 tablespoons corn oil


Prepare the basmati rice according to my recipe  “How to Cook Basmati Rice”

While you are waiting for the water to boil for the rice you can prepare the vermicelli.  In a wok, heat the corn oil and add the vermicelli noodles.

Lightly stir the noodles until they turn a dark golden brown.  Remove from heat and set aside.

When the water boils and you are ready to put the rice in also add the fried vermicelli.

Boil for 5 minutes and then drain.  Put back in the pot and keep warm until ready to serve.

Baked Chicken


1 kg (2 pounds) whole chicken

1 medium tomato cut into half

1 medium onion quartered

3 cloves of garlic left whole

salt and pepper

spice mixture


Wash and pat dry the chicken.  Season the tomato, onion, and garlic with salt and pepper.  Stuff this into the chicken.

Prepare the spice mixture and rub it all over the chicken.

Bake in a 350F oven for 1 1/2 hours or until done and tender.


Arseeyah (Ar-see-yah)

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!

Print this recipe.

Kabsa Rice

My husband has been craving Kabsah all this month.  I have made it at least 4 times this month!

This rice dish is so easy to make and is so flavorful.  I am giving you a basic recipe (which can be easily doubled or tripled!) but it can easily be jazzed up with the addition of 1 cup of frozen green peas.  I like to serve this rice with lamb (recipe will follow…I promise).

Kabsah Rice


1 cup of uncooked basmati rice (rinsing and soaking just like in this post)

1 tablespoon of corn oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

4 cloves

2 small pieces of cinnamon bark

1 teaspoon black pepper powder

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon caradamon powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 1/2 cups of water or stock


In a medium-sized pot, heat the corn oil and add the onion, cloves, and cinnamon bark.  Saute until the onion becomes golden.

Add the garlic, all the spices, and tomato paste.  Mix well and then add the water/stock.  Let boil a couple of minutes.

Drain the uncooked rice and add it to the stock.  Gently stir.  (Note:  at this point you can add that 1 cup of frozen green peas if you wish to jazz up your rice a little bit).

Let the rice boil until there is hardly any liquid left that you can see from the top of the pot.

Cover and turn the fire/heat to very, very low.  And cook for 15 minutes.

Remove the cover and let the steam dissipate and then re-cover the pot.

Rice is ready after 15 minutes.

The rice is now ready to serve!  I suggest that you turn your pot upside down onto a big platter.  My reasoning is that if you should scoop the rice directly out from the pot you will break the grains of rice and it will look mushy.  So this is what I do…

Turn pot upside down onto a platter.

Turn pot of rice over onto a platter and  separate it out with a fork or gently fluff it out with a serving spoon…Look!  No mushy rice!

Not a clear pictures…but you get the idea!


Vegetable Rice Pilaf

This is a delicious and fairly simple rice dish that is seasoned with a medley of Indian spices…mixed and cooked in a broth flavored with coconut milk.

I have made this with the Chicken Makhtoum recipe from yesterday and the flavors from both dishes blend together beautifully.  Of course, it will also go well with a nice, thick gravy-like  lamb stew or with baked chicken.

For this recipe you will need:

4 tablespoons corn oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, diced into small pieces

2 fresh green chilies, chopped (I choose to de-seed the chilies to lessen the heat)

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3 cups of hot water

1/4 cup of coconut powder

2 Maggi chicken stock cubes

1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 cloves, whole

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

2 cups of basmati rice

In a large bowl, add coconut powder and slowly add a bit of the hot water and mix into a smooth paste.  Add the remaining hot water and mix well.  Add the Maggi stock cubes and the spices except for the cloves and mustard seeds.

Stir together and let sit for about 2 minutes until the stock cubes melt.  Stir again.

In a medium pot, heat the 4 tablespoons of corn oil.  When hot add the onions and carrots and sautee until the onion has softened.

Add the cloves, mustard seeds, green chilies, and garlic.

Stir well and then add the coconut milk mixture.

Bring to a boil.  Once it starts boiling, add the basmati rice.  Stir gently a couple of times.  Bring back to a boil.  Cover and reduce the flame to very low.  Cook for 17 minutes.

When done, gently fluff the rice with a fork and serve hot.  Enjoy!



How to Cook Short Grain Rice

I have a little secret to share with you on how to cook short grain rice without it being sticky.  In the US, Calrose Rice is a brand that sells short grain rice.  Here in the UAE short grain rice is also known as Egyptian Rice or Rice Misri.

The most important thing about cooking the rice this way is that you have to be patient for just about 5 minutes. That is just part of my secret.  The other part is that you will be lightly stir-frying the rice in a bit of oil to cook away that starchiness that makes the rice sticky.

The following recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, quadrupled, etc.

Here are the ingredients you will need:

1 cup of uncooked short grain rice (Egyptian Rice)

1 tablespoon cooking oil

1 ½ cups of boiling water

Salt to taste (optional…I don’t like to add it)

In a medium-sized saucepan heat the cooking oil and add the uncooked rice.

I used a wok in this picture.

Gently stir the rice so that each grain will be coated with the oil.

Turn the heat to medium.

Now for the next 5 minutes (a little more or little less) you will have to stand at the stove and gently stir that rice (preferably with a wooden spoon) until it turns from its original opaque color to where the grains look like tiny pearls.  If you want you can also stir-fry the rice until the grains are a golden color.


  • You have to be very careful not to let the rice burn because it will, very quickly, if left unstirred or the flame/heat is too high!
  • Be careful of stirring too vigorously because those rice grains will fly and they are hot if they land on your foot!

Once the grains of rice have turned color (it is very noticeable) then you will add the boiling water.  Be careful when adding the boiling water because it will splutter wildly. Put the top on the pot and reduce the heat to very low.

Cook the rice for 17 minutes.  Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.

And there you have it…short-grain rice that is light and fluffy and not sticky!

(I’ll will post a picture of the finished product soon, InshaAllah.  I just forgot to take a picture of it.)

How to cook Basmati Rice

I have a finicky Emirati husband.  Basmati rice has started many wars in my house.  

There were times my husband would refuse to eat the rice I cooked and would go to one of the public kitchens and buy a container of cooked rice to eat with the stews I cooked.

The rice was either overcooked in that it was mushy or  undercooked and still crunchy.  I used to just add water and cook it with the quick-boil method but the rice would stick together.

It has taken me years to learn how to properly cook basmati rice so that it turns out nice and fluffy.  The secret is in the size of the pot you use and how long you let the rice soak.  You need an extra-large pot to cook the rice in.  The rice needs lots of room to move around when it is boiling.

Here is my recipe:

2 cups of Basmati rice (I use India Gate because the rice has been aged and the kernals of the rice are long…plus it has a delicious taste!)

india gate

extra-large pot


1 tablespoon cooking oil

a timer

Place the rice in a large bowl and fill it up with water. 

Carefully wash the rice so that you do not break the kernals.  Cup your hand slightly and slowly wash the rice.  I turn my hand in the bowl 20 times. 

Drain the water and repeat the above two more times. 

Drain the water and then pour water over the rice again with enough water to just cover the rice by about an inch.

Now you let the rice soak for at least 30 minutes but better if you let it soak for an hour.

Meanwhile, fill the extra-large pot half way with water.  A good guide is to use 3 liters of waters for every 1 cup of rice.

Add 1/4 cup of salt and 1 tablespoon of oil to the pot of water.

Bring the water to a full rolling boil.

Drain the rice in a strainer and add to the pot.  Stir once.

Cover the pot with a lid and when the water starts boiling again remove the lid.  This takes about a minute.

Have a large strainer waiting in the sink to drain the rice.

Let the rice boil for exactly 5 minutes.  Trust me when I say exactly 5 minutes because if it is less time or more time it will greatly affect the texture of the rice.

Drain the rice in the strainer and gently, very gently, shake the strainer to get out all of the excess water.

Return the rice to pot and keep warm until ready to serve.

When you are ready to serve the rice.  Gently fluff the rice with a large fork or large wide serving spoon.

Arrange on a platter.

An tasty variation:

At the end of cooking the rice you have the option of adding fried onions.  It is very, very delicious!  I do not do this often because it is fatty but try to at least make it this way once.  You will need the following:

1 small onion, chopped

1/4 cup cooking oil

Heat the oil in a frying pan.  When hot add the chopped onion and stir.  Stir the onion every now and then until it becomes a nice golder color.

Now take a large spoon and scoop out the fried onion and scatter it over the cooked rice that is still in the pot.  Drizzle the oil that you cooked the onion in over the rice. 

When it is time to serve the rice.  You will fluff the rice and the onion and oil will be incorporated into the rice.  Yummy!

(No pictures available right now, but I will post ASAP)

Spiced Tomato Rice


This is a wonderful and an extremely easy to make and rice dish that is delicious on its own served with a side dish of yogurt as a complete vegetarian meal or as a nice complement to my version of baked chicken. 


If you are married to a finicky  Emirati husband who is reluctant to try dishes that he did not grow up with then this dish, in my opinion, with the spices I have used gives it a close enough Arab or Indian flavor that he will be used to.  I am sure that this will become a family favorite.


This recipe can easily be doubled and is terrific to take to a potluck or Ramadan get-together.


2 cups of basmati rice, washed and soaked for at least 30 minutes

2 tablespoons of ghee

½ cup of chopped onion

1 cup of chopped tomato

¼ cup of chopped cilantro

½ cup of chopped green bell pepper

1-2 cloves of minced garlic

1 green chili chopped; or deseeded and chopped (this ingredient is optional)

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

½ teaspoon ginger powder

½ teaspoon cardamom powder

¼ teaspoon red Kashmiri chili powder

1 cinnamon stick

2 Maggi chicken stock cubes

Pinch of black pepper

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 cups of hot water


In a large pot, sauté the onion in the ghee until lightly browned. 


Add the tomatoes, bell pepper and cilantro. Stir well.


Add all of the spices, Maggi stock cubes, and tomato paste.  Mix well.


Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for 15 minutes.


Drain the rice and then add to the pot.


Add the 3 cups of hot water.  Gently stir.


Bring to a boil.  Lower the fire to very low and cover.  Cook for 17 minutes.


Serve this with my recipes for yogurt and cucumber salad and tangy baked chicken.

Mitchboos, Machboos, or Makboos with Chicken or Lamb

Mitchboos, as I call it, is actually the boiling of rice in stock.  It can be made from chicken, lamb, fish or shrimp.  Mitchboos is delicious using any of the mentioned meats.  The recipe is quite simple and uses ingredients that are readily available here in the UAE or can easily be found at your local Indian grocery store. 



1 chicken (750grams to 1kg) cut up into 8 pieces or 1 kg of lamb stew meat with bone


2 cups of chopped onions

3 cloves, or more, of grated garlic

1 inch cube of grated ginger

2 cups of chopped tomatoes

½ cup of chopped cilantro (kuzbara)

1 green bell pepper, chopped


1 teaspoon of Madras curry powder (I use the Ship brand)

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon tumeric powder

1 teaspoon of dried black lemon powder

½ teaspoon cardamom powder

½ teaspoon cinnamon powder

¼ teaspoon red Kashmiri chili powder

2 Maggi chicken stock cubes

1 teaspoon of salt, optional


1 green chili pepper

1 whole dried lemon ball

3 cups of water


2 cups of Basmati rice (gently rinsed three times and left to soak for at least 30 minutes)



In a large pot, sauté the onions and the chicken (or lamb) until nicely browned.  Avoid burning the onions.


Add the garlic, ginger, tomatoes, cilantro, and bell pepper.  Mix the ingredients well and sauté for about one minute.


Now add the spices and stir very well.  Turn the heat to low and cover with lid.  Leave it to cook for about 10 minutes.


Now add the green chili, the whole dried lemon, and the water.  Let this stew gently boil for 45 minutes if you are using chicken (or 1hr 45 minutes if you are using lamb).  You will want the meat you are using to be thoroughly cooked and tender.


Now you will need a colander and another pot because you will strain the stew.  Put the meat mixture back into your cooking pot.  Add the rice.  Do not stir!


Measure the stock and it should be 3 cups of stock, if not, add more water and stir.  Now add this to the pot with the meat and rice.  Gently stir because you do not want to break up the rice kernels.


Bring the mitchboos to a boil and then turn the fire to lowest setting (I call it turning the fire to low-low).  Simmer on this very low fire for 17 minutes.  Turn off the fire and remove the lid so that the steam will escape and will the mitchboos will not turn soggy.


Gently remove the mitchboos onto a large platter.  Gently break up the rice so it will not look packed together on your serving plate. 


Serve with pickled onions, a plate of fresh greens (locally called roowaid, jarjeel).



Yellow Rice

This rice recipe is very simple. You will be using the stock from Fried Chicken Emirati Style to make this rice.

This is my daughter Fatima’s favorite rice. Actually it is the only time I can really get her to eat rice.

Yellow Rice

2-3 cups of basmati rice

chicken stock


generous pinch of saffron

1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons tumeric (if you are not using the chicken stock from the recipe above) or use the food coloring option below.

2-3 drops of yellow food coloring, optional

Gently wash the rice in three changes of water. Let the rice soak in water for at least 30 minutes.

Strain the stock into a large pot.

Add the saffron and food coloring and enough water to fill a very large pot 2/3 full.

Bring to a boil.

Drain the rice and add to the boiling stock. Stir once or twice very gently.

Let boil for 6 minutes and strain the rice.

Note: DO NOT throw away the stock! I will now give you a recipe for a very delicious chicken soup!