Madrouba is a classic Omani dish. The name translates to beaten rice, but the dish is more of the very thickened rice and chicken porridge that has been cooked down completely.
This dish is the centrepiece on your table, traditionally it is served alone as the flavours dominate your palate and the locals enjoy it so much that they will not eat anything else. The flavour is that of beautiful spice, the combination of warming spices comes together spectacularly. The flavour will linger on your palate forever, making you crave more of this dish. the caramelised onions add sweet nuances and the dried Omani time adds the needed tartness to cut through the fats. The chicken completely disappears into the porridge. This is a magical dish that you will be glad you tried.
Felicia Campbell is an award-winning, writer, editor and producer. Her cookbook is more of a historical memoir of the region, its food, its culture and its deep history. This could be one of those cookbooks that you can read as a novel, but I love to rush into my kitchen and cook the dishes knowing their deep history
For more recipes from this fabulous cookbook, click here.
2 cups long-grain rice, like basmati
4 dried Omani limes, cracked and the inner flesh pulled out and seeds removed
4 tablespoons ghee
3 onions, finely minced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
4 tomatoes, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon of ginger paste
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
A pinch of ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground green cardamom
1 teaspoon chilli powder
A pinch of nutmeg
1 lb chicken breast or boneless chicken thighs, cut into small dice
Salt, to taste
8 cups water
3 tablespoons oil
2 onions, thinly sliced2 tablespoons ghee
4-5 green cardamom pods
1/4 teaspoon ground green cardamom
Rinse the rice out in 3-4 changes of water till the liquid is no longer cloudy. Soak in water till needed.
Heat the ghee in a deep dish, preferably non-stick, and add the onions and fry on medium-low heat till the onions are a deep brown, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes are soft and have turned into a sauce, about 6-7 minutes.
Add the dried lime, turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, cardamom, chilli powder, and nutmeg and give the mix a quick stir. Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes till the meat is sealed and the spices coat the meat. Add 4 cups of water and the salt and bring to a boil. Simmer gently in a closed pot for 45 minutes till the chicken is soft and tender. Check that the water does not dry out and top up as needed.
Add the rice and the remaining water and bring them back to a boil. Simmer for 90 minutes till the rice and chicken have completely broken down. Use the spatula to mash the chicken and mix it into the stew. Be careful as the broken-down rice is starchy and will tend to stick to the bottom of the pan. Stir the pot often and scrape the bottom with a wooden spatula and mix in. You are looking for the stew to thicken to almost a solid. You can serve the stew at a consistency you like, from that of a thick porridge to almost solid.
While the stew is cooking, heat the oil on a frying pan and fry the onions on medium heat till they are dark golden. Drain on paper towels and allow them to crisp.
To serve, heat the stew adjusting the consistency to your liking with water. Serve in a deep bowl. Heat the remaining ghee in a small pot and add the whole cardamom pods and fry for 30 seconds till they darken slightly. Remove from the heat and add the ground cardamom and mix in. Drizzle over the stew and garnish with the fried onions.