1 chicken, cut into pieces. (skin and bone intact)
1 onion, chopped finely
1 rounded Tbsp garlic, crushed to a paste
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ‘Baharat’ – Arabic Spice Blend
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp red chilli powder (cayenne)
¾ tsp black pepper powder
½ tsp cumin powder
4 green cardamom pods
1 dried lime (available in Arabian / Medditteranean Delicatessen Shops ) or dry your own if you can.
2 cups  finest quality long grain basmati rice
4 ¼ cups water
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion ( for frying), chopped finely
4-5 Tbsp blanched and slivered almonds



Clean the chicken. Rinse well and keep drained.
Soak the Basmati for 5 minutes. Then rinse well and keep drained.
Preheat the oven to 175 ºc/350ºF.
To a pot large enough to hold the chicken and stock, add the drained chicken, one chopped onion, the garlic, salt, Baharat spice, coriander power, red chilli powder, black pepper powder and cumin powder.
Add the water and bring to a boil.
Add the cardamom and Dried lime.
Cover. Lower heat to a very light simmer and cook covered for 15 minutes.
Skim off any scum that forms on top occasionally.
On another burner, add the olive oil and the remaining chopped onion to a small pan. Stir on low heat. Cook for around 10 minutes, till light golden in color without getting crisp. (The heat should be low but maintain a constant sizzle in the pan.)
Once the chicken has been cooked, remove the chicken from the stock with a slooted spoon / strainer.
Place in a greased oven proof dish with the skin side up. Cover with foil and bake for – 35 minutes. (reduce this time to – 20 min if using skinless chicken)
 Sprinkle mild red chilli powder or paprika and drizzle some olive oil over the chicken. Return to the oven to bake uncovered for the remaining 5 minutes, closer to the top grill of your oven. Or use Broil Setting.
Strain the stock that is left in the pot. Add the soft golden onions in olive oil as well as the drained basamti. This rice must be cooked as slowly as possible.
( I like to cook it till there is just some water left to be absorbed, then I transfer the rice to a thermal cooker – you can put the pot that the rice was cooked in directly into the thermal cooker if it fits, OR put the wet cooked rice into a smaller pot that fits and close the thermal cooker quickly. Keep it in this pot till its time to serve. It stays warm and is perfectly cooked with the perfect amount of moisture, without any crisping of rice on the bottom. I also add the roasted chicken into the same pot to let them steam together till time to serve.)
Toast the slivered (blanched) almonds in a dry pan till golden and toasted.
Serve the rice with the roasted chicken on top. Sprinkle the toasted almonds over the rice and serve with lemon/ lime wedges.
Serve with a cucumber and yoghurt salad or Arabian Spiced Tomato Sauce (Dakkous)

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