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Machboos Chicken

Slofoodgroup Team août 12, 2023

What is Machboos Chicken?

Machboos chicken is a comforting dish made with an aromatic blend of fragrant spices. It is enjoyed in Middle Eastern countries and is considered the National dish of Bahrain.

To make machboos, many layers of flavor are melded together in a satisfying broth that is further enhanced by using it to braise bone-in chicken. Once the chicken is cooked and the juices have infused the broth, it is removed and the broth is used to cook basmati rice.

The ingredients used to flavor the dish vary from recipe-to-recipe, but it wouldn’t be machboos chicken without the use of dried lime and a wide assortment of warming spices such as cinnamon and cloves. Oftentimes, fresh chiles will be used to add a bit of heat to the dishes but we love the way our habanero powder is evenly distributed throughout the dish, so we used just a bit of our ground chiles and paired it with bell peppers for added sweetness.

How to Make Machboos Chicken In A Dutch Oven


  • 1 ½ cup basmati rice
  • 3 pounds bone-in chicken legs and/or thighs, skin-on
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 large, whole yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sweet cream butter
  • three cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice berries
  • ¼ teaspoon habanero powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of salt, plus more for seasoning chicken
  • ½ teaspoon of pepper, plus more for seasoning chicken
  • 3 cups broth (vegetable or chicken)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 dried lime, holes poked through the skin
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in halves or thirds
  • 5 cardamom pods, crushed to reveal seeds
  • 4 cloves, slightly smashed to release oils
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • ½ cup chopped bell peppers
  • dried fruit like raisins, mango, dates, or the like, optional
  • raw, slivered almonds, optional
  • cashews, optional
  • parsley and/or cilantro, optional


  1. Heat a large, flat-bottomed dutch oven over medium heat and melt your oil.
  2. Liberally season your chicken with salt and pepper and fry it on all sides until it is golden brown (about 5 minutes per side)
  3. Remove chicken from the pan, turn the heat down to low, and add onions and butter. Stirring occasionally, cook your onions until they are nicely caramelized.
  4. Add the garlic and turn the heat up to medium cook for another 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in your tomato paste, habanero powder, turmeric, ground ginger, cumin, salt, pepper, and allspice.
  6. Slowly stir in your broth to ensure the tomato paste and spices are well incorporated.
  7. Use a bit of cheese cloth and cooking twine to create a sachet for your cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves, and cardamon. Place that, the bay leaf, and the black limes, bell peppers, and tomatoes into the mixture.
  8. Turn the heat up and boil for 3 minutes. Turn heat down, add your chicken back in.
  9. Close the lid and place the chicken in a preheated oven at 375℉ for 30 minutes.
  10. Return the pot to the stove and remove the chicken, black limes, and spice sachet. Set the chicken aside and throw away the limes and sachet.
  11. Add the rice and bring back up to a boil. Stir, turn heat down to low, and return the lid. Cook for 20 minutes. Add the chicken back in, placing it on top of the rice and not stirring it in. Leave the lid off and cook for an additional 10 minutes in the oven.
  12. Garnish with your choice of cashews, almonds, dried fruit, and herbs like parsley or cilantro.