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3 lbs of bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt or labneh
1 Tbsp Tangier
2 Tbsp Izak
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp salt or 2 Tbsp shio-koji (shio-koji will yield more tender chicken)
2 1/2 cups basmati rice
2 Tbsp salt
1 cup fried shallots (I always buy these as a time-saver, but you can also make them by frying sliced shallots in oil until they are crispy and brown)
1 bunch fresh cilantro, washed, stemmed, and chopped
3 Tbsp Spiced Raisin Marmalata
Big pinch of saffron threads mixed with 1/2 cup hot water
1/4 cup ghee or clarified butter, melted
You can either leave the chicken thighs whole if they are small, or cut along the bone into two pieces if the are large. Trim and excess fat and discard, but leave the bones and skin.
Marinate the chicken. Rub the pieces with salt or shio-koji, then mix with the yogurt, Tangier, Izak, olive oil, garlic, and ginger. Allow to rest in the refrigerator for a few hours, or overnight.
Heat 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot, add the salt and rice and give it a good stir.
Boil for 4-5 minutes, until the rice appears cooked but still has a firm bite to it.
Drain in a sieve and start the chicken.
Add the chicken (including all the marinade) to a large pot with a lid (you can re-use the rice pot if it has a lid), cover and bring to a simmer (this should take 7-8 minutes). Remove the lid, stir the pieces, and cook for 4-5 minutes more.
Arrange the chicken in a single layer on the bottom on the pot, trying to get the skin side down (this will help keep anything from sticking). Add 3/4 of your fried onion and cilantro, reserving the rest for garnish.
Add the par-cooked rice in an even layer on top.
Dot the top of the rice with small spoonfuls of the Spiced Raisin Marmalata, then drizzle the saffron in hot water and the melted ghee over the top of the rice.
Cover and once you see steam escaping reduce the heat to low and cook for 30 minutes.
Remove and allow to rest, covered, for 10-15 minutes.
Open the lid and be blown away by the incredible aroma.
Serve by scooping out the rice and chicken with a big spoon, making sure to get some of each. Garnish with the remaining cilantro leaf and fried onion.
I like to also serve a bit of salted yogurt on the side, you can stir finely chopped shallot and or Shabazi N.38 into the yogurt also for more flavor.
This recipe also works great with cubes of lamb shoulder or beef chuck. Increase the initial cooking time (before you add the rice), to 45-60 minutes to ensure tender results. If the meat gives up a lot of liquid, reduce it before adding the rice. I strongly prefer shio-koji to salt in the marinade also for its tenderizing properties.
Try using Salvador N.19 in the marinade instead of the Tangier & Izak, and add chopped green beans, canned butter beans, and bit of tomato paste. Use crispy onions but omit the cilantro. Top the rice with the saffron water and olive oil.
As above, try experimenting with different spices and toppings to create new flavor sensations! The method stays the same so it's a great way to experience something different without having to learn a new technique. Try a spin on taco/burrito night for example. :)
Food images and recipe © Christian Leue.
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