Saturday, May 15, 2010

Abla's Chicken And Rice (Djaj a riz)

When I first tasted this festive looking dish at Abla's almost a decade ago, I went to heaven and back. When I found the recipe in a cookbook (written by Abla Amad titled Abla's Lebanese Kitchen*) given to me by one of the tummies, I went to heaven and back again. This is another impressive looking dish that is uncomplicated and economical to have on the menu for your next dinner party. I was cooking for just the two of us but this is enough to feed up to 6 people with other dishes so do adjust the quantity accordingly.
P.S I cooked a whole chicken using the Chinese method and finished the rice in a rice cooker instead.
* Abla Amad is the doyen of Lebanese cooking in Melbourne. Her acclaimed restaurant Abla's, a Melbourne institution has been operating at the same location in Carlton since 1979.

recipe adapted from Abla's Lebanese Kitchen
serves 4 as part of a Lebanese meal
you'll need;
1 x 1.2 kg free range chicken (or 2 large chicken breasts skin and bone on)
500 g of lamb mince
1 cinnamon stick
20 g of butter
1/2 tsp of cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp of all spice
1/2 tsp of black pepper
1.5 cups of long grain rice
2.5 cups of chicken cooking water
1/2 cup of almond slivers
1/2 cup of pinenuts
sea salt to taste

Place chicken with cinnamon stick and a pinch of salt and cover with boiling water. Bring it to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes. Remove chicken and let cool, reserve the chicken cooking water.

Cook lamb mince in it's own juices for 10 minutes, stirring and breaking up lumps. Add butter, salt  and spices and continue to cook for 10 to 15 minutes til mince is lightly brown and a little toasted. 

Fry nuts with a little olive oil til golden.

Wash and drain rice then mix in the fried lamb mince, pour in the chicken cooking water and cook in the  rice cooker til done. If you don't have a rice cooker use the absorption method in a pot instead.

While the rice is cooking, shred the chicken into nice neat pieces.

Place half the nuts in a large bowl...

Arrange chicken pieces neatly all over the bowl....

Follow by the rice, press the rice down then place a plate over and revert it carefully.

I served the dish with a simple Lebanese salad of tomato, cucumber, lettuce and mint.

I will certainly cook this beautiful dish again!


  1. I've never tried Lebanese food, but this looks delicious...almost too pretty to eat. Really nice photos too!

  2. oooohhh boleh jadi gila makcik lihat makanan begini...sedapnya tapi angah dah warning agar makcik kena jaga makan sebab dah bertambah "montel'..nanti kena cuba masak nasi yang begini bila dah kurus sikit:)

  3. Harriet from CarltonMay 15, 2010 at 1:58 PM

    I was at Abla's a week ago ;) The restaurant is a block away from my house! This is something we order all the time and now I'm able to cook it at home, Thanks!

  4. What a fabulous looking dish! You are right about being not very complicated, I am very curious about a dish that has both lamb and chicken in it :)

  5. salam tummy..bila kerumah tummy mesti suka n seronok..dapat 'makan' sedap2..hehe untuk hari raya mesti best ni..lagi pun yg bestnya tummy tunjukkan gambar cara nak masak..nampak mudah..nak cuba ..instead of lamb kita guna beef sedap ke tummy.

  6. Wow, such a fabulous recipe! Thanks so much for sharing it. Probably, you can try a few more recipes from that book & share with us! hehe.... Have a fabulous weekend!
    Cheers, Kristy

  7. Wow...indeed a completely new n gorgeous recipe..Love to give a taste. Happy weekend dear.

  8. OMG! look at that! I also realised this is quite healthy despite having the festive tag. Lamb and chicken in a dish will be the first for me!

  9. I have heard about this dish from my friends. It looks fantastic and I can't wait to try this either at the restaurant or home!

  10. A very interesting chicken dish. Looks absolutely fascinating!

  11. This is such a beautiful dish and something that would wow your guests for sure!

  12. Un plat magnifique et qui doit être absolument délicieux.
    J'en fais un qui lui ressemble un peu et qui est syrien :
    Je note ta recette pour l'essayer.
    A bientôt.

  13. As soon as I saw the simmering of chicken with cinnamon I knew it had to be a winner! Any food from Lebanon is a winner. Although I have never seen it in this fashion I will try to find the book!

  14. wow, this looks sooo yummy and delectable. Gotta try it sometime. Love the recipe.

  15. WOW! What a beautiful dish, must bookmark it ~ thanks !

  16. spectaculaire cette présentation de poulet
    bravo tu es excellente
    bonne journée

  17. WOW...beautiful and unique looking recipe..nice step by step presentation.

  18. This is my kind of pot meal...looks too good

  19. Yummy! yummy! I want some please!

  20. What a beautiful dish. Must be fragrant as well.

  21. That is one festive looking dish! You're right, it looks impressive but sounds manageable, will definitely try it out. Your meals make me so hungry, I'm going to invite myself over one of these days.....(and I'll bring dessert :))

  22. What a fantastic looking dish! I have never tried Lebanese food.
    That sounds really gorgeous!
    Have a great day!!
    B xx

  23. I love the presentation!! So beautiful!

  24. This sounds great and your pics are excellent! Am I too late for dinner?

  25. Yummy! What a wonderful blend of flavors! This is sure to be a winning recipe with my family. Thanks!

  26. Gorgeous - I do love the spices that help create this luscious dish.

  27. I was not aware of this lady in Australia; all I keep hearing about is Greg Malouf, who does not like to stick to traditional dishes; this one is definitely traditional and you did a beautiful job creating it; it is reminding me that it has been a long time since I have had it or made it!

  28. 没有试过lebanon菜肴,你真的好厉害!

  29. That is a beautiful dish darling! I am so going to make this for our next dinner party! Thai steamed prawns for dinner tonight! :)

    Sophia xxx

  30. Wow it looks really pretty! The boys saw this before me and left a note saying this is what they want for dinner haha. It looks quite simple, I just need to get some lamb mince now. Wish me luck!

  31. Bo,
    Thank you! I will post more recipes from the book!

    cikmanggis ,
    Haha makcik hidangan ini tidak "fattening" kerana cuma ada sedikit mentega sahaja, Cubalah :)

    Thank you! I am glad you like the dish! :)

    Thank you! They work well together! :)

    Terima kasih makcik.. Memang sesuai untuk Hari Raya. kalau pakai daging lembu juga enak!

    Thank you! I certainly will post more recipes from the book!

    Jay ,
    Thank you very much!

    rosa ,
    Thank you! It is very simple and healthy I agree.

    Thank you! I hope you will try it soon!

    Thank you very much!

    Lyndsey ,
    Thank you very much! :)

    Je vous remercie!
    Il est très semblable, je vais essayer votre recette bientôt!

    natural selection,
    Haha I agree! Thank you! I hope you are able to get the book over there.

    Thank you very much!

    Thank you! I hope you will try it!

    Merci beaocoup!

    Suman Singh ,
    thank you very much! I am glad it is helpful!

    Thank you very much!

    little panda,
    haha thank you!

    thank you! The smell is wonderful!

    shaz ,
    Thank you very much! You must! I am counting on you for the dessert!

    Betty ,
    Thank you very much! xxx

    Thank you very much!

    Thank you! A little late but I can make it for you again!

    Thank you very much! I hope you will cook this for them!

    Claudia ,
    Thank you very much!

    tasteofbeirut ,
    She is not as high profile as Greg Malouf but even he is a big fan of her! In the kitchen of her restaurants only old Lebanese ladies cooking there and her food is very traditional :)

    haha 謝謝!你一定要試呀!

    Sophia darling,
    Thank you very much please do! xxx

    love to eat,
    Oh that is very cute! I can't wait to find out how it turns out!

  32. wow, beautiful presentation! Must be really fragrant and delicious with all the spices and nuts!

  33. pigpigscorner ,
    Thank you! Yes the kitchen smells wonderful afterwards too!

  34. Lebanese food is the staple diet in heaven.


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