Zerbian chicken is a wonderfully fragrant Saudi dish. Turmeric and cilantro give the dish a fresh look and taste while the simple spices keep up with Saudi traditions. This dish is usually created using a whole chicken but really my family and I enjoy the breast so that is usually what I use. Please remember when cooking Arabic rice NEVER remove the lid once you place it on the pot. The steam is what actually cooks the rice as it sits. Once the rice has finished small holes will appear all over the top of the rice, this is why I use glass lids.
4-6 boneless and skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 cups basmati rice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 large white onion
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1/3 cup yogurt
4 cardamom greens, bruised
1 tablespoon fresh ginger sliced
1 small cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1. In a 4-quart saucepan on high heat add 1 tablespoon oil, rice, cilantro, 1/2 of onion and water. Bring to a full boil then reduce to low and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle some parts of rice with turmeric, cover and allow sitting for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a sauté pan on medium heat add remaining oil. Add chicken and remaining onion allowing to fully cooking until chicken is no longer pink and onions are tender. Add cardamoms, ginger, cinnamon, pepper and cumin, mix well.
3.Add rice and yogurt into the sauté pan, combining all ingredients well. Allow to cook on low for 10 minutes covered. Place al roz al Zerbian on a serving dish and sprinkle pine nuts on top.
Yields: 4-6 servings