Authentic Yemeni Mandi Recipe

Authentic Yemeni Mandi Recipe

Welcome to a culinary journey to the heart of Yemen with this traditional Mandi recipe. Yemeni Mandi is a beloved dish known for its unique blend of spices, tender meat, and fragrant rice, all smoked to perfection. Let’s explore the rich flavors of this Middle Eastern gem.


  • 1 kg of lamb or chicken, cut into large pieces
  • 4 cups of basmati rice, rinsed and soaked for 30 minutes
  • 2 medium-sized onions, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup of oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • ½ teaspoon of black peppercorns
  • 1 whole nutmeg, crushed
  • Salt to taste
  • Pinch of saffron strands, soaked in warm water
  • Chopped cilantro and fried onions for garnish
  • Aluminum foil to create smoke effect
  • Charcoal (optional for smoking)


  • 1 cup of plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon of mandi spice mix
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt to taste


  1. In a bowl, combine the ingredients for the marinade. Add the meat pieces and coat them well. Marinate for at least 2 hours, or overnight for best results.
  2. Preheat your oven to 200°C (390°F).
  3. In a large cooking pot, heat the oil and sauté the onions and garlic until golden brown.
  4. Drain the rice and add it to the pot with the onions, stirring for a few minutes to toast the rice.
  5. Add water (about 6 cups), bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, nutmeg, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the rice is halfway done (about 10-15 minutes).
  6. Place the marinated meat on a wire rack above the rice or in a separate baking dish.
  7. Place the pot with the rice (or rice and meat if using one pot) in the oven and cook for about 1 hour, or until the meat is tender and fully cooked.
  8. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add the saffron water to the rice for color and fragrance.
  9. If you want to add a smoky flavor, heat a piece of charcoal until red-hot, place it in a small metal bowl, and add a teaspoon of oil. Immediately place the bowl in the center of the rice and cover the pot to allow the smoke to infuse the rice and meat for about 10 minutes.
  10. Remove the rice and meat from the oven and let it rest covered for about 10 minutes before serving.
  11. Garnish the rice with chopped cilantro and fried onions. Serve the meat on the side or atop the rice.


For a more authentic Mandi spice mix, combine equal parts of cumin, coriander, turmeric, cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon, blended into a fine powder.

You can use a Dutch oven or a heavy-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid to ensure the rice cooks evenly and retains the smoky flavor.

Enjoy this Yemeni Mandi with side dishes such as cucumber-yogurt salad or a simple Arabic tomato sauce.

By admin

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