For 6 very generous portions you need

2 Cups rice, Basmati or other

125ml brown lentils

Lightly crush the Cardamom pods to release their flavour

1 stick cinnamon, split

2-4 cardamom pods, slightly bruised

5ml turmeric

5ml chilli flakes

5ml ground cumin

5ml salt

Optional: 3-4 curry leaves

500ml water

For the marinade

250ml plain yoghurt

4 All spice or Pimento

10ml ground cumin

8ml ground coriander

5ml ground turmeric

10ml root ginger, grated 10ml crushed garlic

30ml masala or good quality curry powder

5ml salt

Approximately 600g de-boned chicken thigh or drumstick meat

2 medium white onions, sliced

Oil for frying

For layering

The remaining marinade mixed with 250ml crushed tomatoes, here I used the Indian flavoured tomatoes

To finish

A pinch of saffron threads (optional)

50g butter or ghee (clarified butter)

To prepare

Place the rice and lentils in the water with the spices. Boil until the rice is grains are plump but still firm. Drain the rice.

Heat the oil and fry the onions until they are golden. I find this is best done in a small wok as less oil is used. Reserve the remaining oil. Set the drained onions aside.

Mix the marinade and add the chicken, stirring to ensure they are well coated. Let the chicken stand for at least 30 minutes.

Pour just enough of the onion oil in a large pan to cover the surface. The pan must be least 5-6cm deep and can go into the oven. Heat the oil, shake off the excess marinade & flash fry the chicken pieces. They need not cook through, but it is nice if they brown slightly. Remove the chicken and set it aside.


For the layering:

Spoon half of the rice into the pan that you have just used for the chicken.

Arrange the chicken in an even layer over the rice, sprinkle half of the onions over.

Mix the tinned tomatoes with the remaining marinade and spread this over the chicken layer.

Top with the remaining rice.

Finally sprinkle the remaining onions on top. Of you have saffron at a few threads.

Dot the butter or Ghee over the surface.

Cover with a lid or foil

Cook for about 7 minutes on high heat and then turn heat down to a gentle simmer for about 40 minutes


Place the covered dish in a

If you are serving the dish later or the following day, refrigerate it until 90 minutes before serving.

Allow it to stand at room temperature for about an hour. Place in 180°C oven for 30 minutes to reheat thoroughly.

Serve with tomato and cucumber sambals

Tomato: Cubed tomato, finely chopped onion, coriander, sliced red chilli and a dash of red wine vinegar

Cucumber: Diced cucumber, chopped fresh mint, chopped fresh coriander, sliced green chilli add either 15ml lemon juice or 150ml plain yoghurt