Saudi Arabian Chicken and Rice (Saliq)
How to Make Saliq Rice and Chicken
Saliq, or saleeg, is a rice and meat (typically dark meat of chicken) dish that is popular in Saudi Arabia and quite often prepared for occasions of celebration. It is savory and comforting, made by boiling meat with cardamom, onion, garlic, and other fragrant flavors. The broth from the boil is mixed with full fat milk (we used cream for extra richness) and used to slow cook both short and long grain rice to a pudding-like consistency (much like Italian risotto). The chicken (or other meat) is basted with ghee or butter at a minimum (but often other seasonings as well) and then finished at high temperature in the oven.
While this meal is slow-cooked, it is mostly a hands-off preparation that is perfect for feeding a crowd. Try it out and let us know what you think in the comments.
The Best Recipe for Saleeg
- 4 bone-in chicken leg and thigh quarters
- 1 cup long grain rice
- 1 cup short grain rice
- 6 cardamom pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 whole, peeled onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- Enough water to cover chicken for boiling (about 6-8 cups)
- 1 ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- ½ teaspoon cracked pepper
- 2-3 mastic tears
- 2 cups full-fat milk or cream, plus 1 teaspoon
- 2 ounces butter or ghee
- ¼ teaspoon saffron
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- Soak the saffron in a tablespoon of milk or cream
- Place the chicken in a pot and cover with water.
- Add in the cinnamon, cardamom, onion, garlic, 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper, and mastic tears and turn the heat up to high-heat. Allow it to boil for 30 minutes.
- Remove the chicken and reserve the stock.
- Remove the solid ingredients and add in the rice.
- Bring the liquid back up to a boil (there should be about 4 cups left). Then, turn the heat down to simmer and cover. Stir the rice every 5 minutes or so and cook for 25 minutes. Add more liquid if needed.
- Preheat your oven to 450℉.
- Melt your butter and stir in the saffron mixture and cumin.
- Sprinkle the remaining salt over the chicken.
- Brush the butter mixture over top of the chicken and place it in the oven for 10 minutes.
- After the rice has cooked for 25 minutes, most of the liquid should be absorbed. If not, skim the excess and discard. Add in the cream and stir. Cook for an additional 15 minutes (this should be done at the same time that the chicken is in the oven.
- Switch the oven to broil and watch closely until the chicken is golden brown and the skin is crispy.
- Season your rice with additional salt and white pepper, if desired.
- Spoon the rice into a large, shallow dish and place the chicken on top, drizzling any remaining butter from the pan overtop.