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!
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.
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.
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.