riz a djej

Lebanese Chicken and Rice

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This traditional Lebanese Chicken and Rice recipe is the definition of comfort food. Flavorful, seasoned rice mixed with golden pine nuts and topped with tender shredded chicken and toasted almonds! 

riz a djej

What is Lebanese chicken and rice?

Lebanese Chicken and Rice also known as Riz w Djej or riz ala dajjaj, which basically translates to rice on chicken. It is made on almost every large Lebanese special occasion, from family gatherings to holidays or birthday parties and placed on the center of the table! Lebanese chicken and rice is a popular dish in Middle Eastern cuisine and every culture makes it differently. Some add ground beef (hashweh) to the mixture; however, the recipe that I grew up on only includes chicken that’s been boiled and using the chicken stock to cook the rice.

how to make riz a djej recipe

Ingredients you’ll Need to Make Riz a Djej:

(Scroll to the end of this post to get exact measurements and a printable option)

Chicken: I think that the secret to a good Chicken and Rice recipe is in the chicken. Using chicken thighs and legs is the key, as they tend to be much more moist and tender than chicken breasts. You can always mix it up too! Also, always reserve the chicken broth to use it later when cooking your rice. When boiling the chicken, I like to add dried bay leaves and cinnamon sticks for extra flavor.

Rice: I like to use long grain rice such as Uncle Bens in this recipe, because I love the texture of it and because you can almost never over cook it. No matter what, it will always turn out great. The ratio of rice to chicken broth is about 2-2.5 cups of broth for every 1 cup of rice. However, you can use basmati or short grain rice if you’d like, just keep in mind that it will take less time and less chicken broth to cook.

Middle Eastern Spices: Ground cinnamon and ground all spice.

Salt: Used in chicken stock and in the cooking the rice.

Pine nuts: I toast it a little, just until golden brown before adding the rice and spices and mixing them all together.

Toppings: I used whole raw almonds, but you can use slivered almonds as they are much easier to find. You can also substitute for cashews.

chicken and rice topped with toasted almonds

How to Make Lebanese Chicken and Rice:

Prepare the Chicken:

  • Place chicken legs and thighs in a large pot over medium high heat and add enough water to cover the chicken completely.
  • Bring chicken to a boil, skim excessive fat that rises on top, using a large spoon.
  • Add bay leaves if available and cinnamon sticks for extra flavor.
  • Cover the pot, reduce heat to medium low and let simmer, until the chicken is fork tender and cooked through. This will take about 30-40 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let cool. Once chicken is cooled enough to handle, shred into coarse chucks. Set aside.
  • Reserve chicken broth for cooking the rice.

Prepare the Rice:

  • Rinse your rice very well until the water runs clear, drain and set aside.
  • Place a medium size pot over medium heat, heat butter and the pine nuts. Stirring constantly until pine nuts turn light brown in color.
  • Add the rinsed rice, salt, ground cinnamon and all spice and mix well. Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Cover rice completely with the reserved chicken broth (about 4- 5 cups) and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium low, cover the pot and simmer until the rice is fully cooked, around 25 mins.

Prepare the Almond Nuts Topping:

  • Place small pan over medium heat, heat olive oil for couple minutes.
  • Add the almonds and stir constantly, until golden brown. This will take around 4 minutes. Set aside.

 Assemble the chicken and and rice serving dish:

Assemble the dish by placing the rice on a large serving platter, topped with a layer of coarse shredded chicken and then sprinkle with almonds on top.

The final result? A flavorful and tasty Chicken and Rice dish. And a wonderful smelling house!

I sure hope you enjoy it as much as we do and that it brings you a measure of comfort too.

Lebanese chicken and rice

What to Serve with Lebanese Rice and Chicken:

Serve riz a djej with plain yogurt or your favorite salad, it is really good paired with Fattoush salad or Tabouli. 

More Lebanese Chicken Recipes?

Lebanese Chicken Shawarma

Chicken Tawook

Chicken Soup With Vegetables

Moghrabieh

Chicken Freekeh

There is nothing like Lebanese Chicken and Rice for Dinner. Having grown up with it, watching my grandmother, my mother make it, and now being able to share it with my family is a pleasure. It’s special. Not to mention, super yummy!

If you like this Lebanese chicken and rice, riz a djej dish or any other recipe on The Salt and Sweet Kitchen, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! You can also follow and tag me on my Instagram page!

Riz a Djej Recipe

riz a djej

Lebanese Chicken and Rice

Yield: 6-8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Lebanese Chicken and Rice also known as Riz w Djaj is made on almost every large Lebanese special occasion, from family gatherings to holidays or birthday parties and placed on the center of the table! 

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 4 chicken legs
  • 5 cups water- for boiling the chicken
  • 1-2 cinnamon stick
  • 2 teaspoons salt 
  • Few bay leaves- if available

For the rice

For Almond Topping

  • ½ cup raw sliced or whole almonds 
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

Prepare the Chicken:

  1. Place chicken thighs and legs in a large pot over medium high heat and add enough water to cover the chicken completely. 
  2. Bring chicken to a boil, skim excessive fat that rises on top, using a large spoon. 
  3. Add bay leaves if available and a cinnamon stick for extra flavor. 
  4. Cover the pot, reduce heat to medium low and let simmer on, until the chicken is fork tender and cooked through. This will take about 30-40 minutes. 
  5. Remove from heat and let cool. Once chicken is cooled enough to handle, shred into coarse chucks. Set aside. 
  6. Reserve chicken broth for cooking the rice. 

Prepare the Rice: 

  1. Rinse your rice very well until the water runs clear, drain and set aside. 
  2. Place a medium size pot over medium heat, heat butter and the pine nuts. Stirring constantly until pine nuts turn light brown in color. 
  3. Add the rinsed rice, salt, ground cinnamon and all spice and mix well. Cook for 5 minutes. 
  4. Cover rice with the reserved chicken broth (about 4- 5 cups) and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat to medium low, cover the pot and simmer until the rice is fully cooked, around 25 mins. Add another half a cup of chicken broth to the rice and cook longer, if it dries out before the rice is fully cooked.

Prepare the Almond Topping: 

  1. Place small pan over medium heat, heat olive oil for couple minutes. 
  2. Add the almonds and stir constantly, until golden brown. This will take around 4 minutes. Set aside.

To Serve: 

  1. Place the rice on a large serving plate, top with a layer coarse shredded chicken and then sprinkle with fried almonds. 
  2. Serve with your Fattoush or plain yogurt.  
  3. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 370Total Fat: 44gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 31gCholesterol: 265mgSodium: 1156mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 3gSugar: 1gProtein: 54g

Please note that the nutrition label provided is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. It will vary based on the specific ingredients you use.

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