Chicken Majboos is a traditional dish in the Middle East. Much like Biryani in South Asia or jollof rice in West Africa, majboos is a rice dish that combines various vegetables, spices, and meats. What differs Majboos from other rice-based cuisine is its use of saffron and other garnishes (such as raisins and cashews), which adds to the texture of the final dish.
Due to Oman’s geographic location at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula and large Asian migrates, it’s interesting to see the influence of other regions on the formation of Omani cuisine as we know it today. Understandably, Omani cuisine varies between regions, but the core staple of rice, cooked meat, and various South Asian-inspired flavors are prevalent throughout the country.
I visited Oman without knowing much about its cuisine but was quick to fall in love with its delicious food, one such dish was chicken majboos.
Chicken Majboos is a popular dish in Oman. Although it differs between each household, the main ingredients remain the same. My friend from Oman taught me this recipe during a camping trip at Fins Beach and I can guarantee that it’s both easy and delicious! (It doesn’t require saffron or cashews, though you can add some if you prefer!)
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 2 medium tomatoes, cubed
- 1 eggplant, sliced
- 2 medium potatoes, cubed
- Chicken thighs (~ 3 pounds)
- 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups of rice
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 4 tablespoons of tomato sauce
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon of cardamon powder
- 1 teaspoon of red pepper
- black pepper to taste
1. Cut and clean the chicken. Rub it with the curry powder, cardamom powder, red pepper, and salt. Let it marinate on the side while you wash and soak the rice for 15 minutes. Drain the rice and set it aside.
2. Slice the eggplant and potatoes. Sprinkle salt to taste. Put 3 tablespoons of oil in a dutch oven. Once the oil is heated, place the veggie slices inside the pot for 10 minutes on medium heat, flipping them every 1-2 minutes so that both sides are a deep golden brown. Once finished, take the slices out of the pot for later use.
3. Empty and clean the pot as necessary. Put two spoonfuls of oil inside on low heat. Carefully place the marinated chicken in the pot for 15 minutes until it’s partially cooked. Mix 4 tablespoons of tomato sauce with the chicken for 5-10 minutes. Mix in the onions, tomatoes, and garlic, and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. Afterward, put 2 cups of chicken stock inside the pot and increase the heat to medium. Let it simmer on medium for 10 minutes.
4. In the meantime, heat the last cup of chicken stock along with ½ water in another bowl. Once heated, place the dry rice inside with salt to taste, and let it sit on medium heat for 10 minutes.
5. Turn down the heat for the pot with the chicken and scoop out a ladle-full of soup to leave on the side. Place the deep-fried eggplant and potato on top of the chicken. Place one layer of the semi-done rice on top of the potatoes. Empty the soup you took out earlier on top of the rice and place the remainder of the rice on top. Cover and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.