May 22, 2012

From Middle East with Love

Hi, it's me! ^_^

Finally I'm able to make an appearance on the site after M.I.A last week. You might think that I was lazying around the house *because of the disappearance act* but that's not it. Actually, last week was pretty hectic in the house. My sister was home for college break and also there was my dad's birthday on Monday. Naturally, we put together a little feast to celebrate. Ever since my dad had his first taste of Nasi Maqlubah or better known as Arab Rice, he specifically requested the dish to be made on special day such as this.

With a middle eastern dish on the menu, we had to do the prepping early on or else the rice could not be serve on time for lunch. It wasn't hard to cook the rice at all. You just need to the cooking ahead than usual for there are a few deep frying to do before mixing it all together.
How do we came to have a fondness for nasi maqlubah?

It started like this...A neighbor from our old neighborhood introduced us to it. She and her family lived in the middle east for quite some time hence the knowledge on making the dish. Just a smell was tempting enough to make your stomach grumble even if you're not hungry. The dish basically consist of rice, meat(chicken/beef), spices, onions, and vegetables(egg plant+green chilies+potato). Much like a one-pot-meal. And it also serves with a side of tomato and cucumber salsa. A complete meal in one set! Okay, lets get to the recipe shall we?

Nasi Maqlubah a.k.a Arab Rice
Serves 4 

Make ahead Spiced Deep Fried Chicken: 
8 chicken pieces, half of a large chicken
2 Tbsp briyani mix powder
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp crushed black pepper

** Clean the chicken parts. In a large bowl, mix the briyani powder + salt + black pepper. Rub the seasoning well over the meat, cover with a cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before proceed to deep frying. Deep fry until browned and cook through. About 10 - 15 minutes. Set aside.

Make ahead Cucumber & Tomato Salsa:
2 medium size cucumber, diced
3 tomatoes, diced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp chopped parsley

** Combine and mix all ingredients well in a small bowl, cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

The Rice:

4 potatoes, thinly sliced into rounds
2 egg plants, sliced into rounds (1/2 cm thick)
** Fry the potato slices until crisp. Drain on kitchen towel, set aside. Quickly fry the egg plant slices in the hot oil for about 30-40 seconds. Drain the oil, set aside.

2 1/2 cups white rice, use basmathi rice for best result
2 Tbsp ghee/clarified butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp briyani mix powder
5 cups water
1 Tbsp crushed black pepper
2 1/2 tsp salt
2 green chilies, thinly sliced

  1. Wash and rinse the rice. Set aside
  2. Heat a large pot over low heat, and melt 2 tablespoon ghee in it. Add in onion slices, stir fry until translucent and fragrant. Add in the briyani mix powder + 4 cups water + black pepper + salt + green chilies. Give it a stir to mix, turn up the heat to high and let the soup mix come to boiling
  3. Then add in the washed rice. Give it a few stirring, add the fried potatoes and egg plants. Cover with a lid, reduce heat to very low. Let cook until all the water has been absorbed and the rice cooked through (about 30 to 40 minutes)
  4. Uncover, put in the fried chicken pieces into the pot. Let cook for 5 minutes more, then turn off the heat. Leave the pot on the stove to steam and dry out the rice for 30 minutes
  5. To serve: Take a piece of the chicken into individual plate, scoop out the rice. Serve with the cool cucumber salsa on the side

Having this rice for lunch will make you ask for a second serving. It always does in our family... ^_^

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