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Chicken Madhbi

Farah Abumaizar
Unbelievably easy, this basic chicken Madhbi cooks in the perfect way to give you a crisp whole chicken and fluffy rice to go with it!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Servings 4 people
Calories 470 kcal


  • 1 small chicken 1.1 kg (2.5 pounds)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped into rough wedges
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 cups water to make broth
  • 2 cups basmati rice, soaked and rinsed


For the chicken:

  • Heat oven to 400 F C (200C).
  • Spatchcock the chicken by placing the chicken on a cutting board breast side down, and removing the backbone. Use kitchen shears or a very sharp knife to do this. I linked a great article on how to do this in the note section below. After the backbone is removed, cut the whole chicken in half. Cut off the tips of the chicken wings also, and save the backbones and wing tips for making stock.
  • Use a meat hammer, and pound on the chicken a little to flatten it out. Make three sharp slits into each chicken half. Salt and pepper the chicken vigorously all over. Place skin side up on a roasting rack in the oven and place the chicken on the rack in the middle of the oven. If you don't have a roasting rack, you can place it directly on the oven rack.
  • Place a roasting dish on the bottom rack of the oven and fill it with 1-2 cups of hot water, to create steam and to catch any chicken drippings.
  • Cook for 45 minutes or until skin is golden brown and crispy and chicken is cooked through. If using a meat thermometer, it should read 160 F (71C). Let chicken rest for 10 minutes before cutting into it.

For the rice:

  • While chicken is in the oven, make the rice. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat and once hot, add the onion wedges, chicken backbone and wing tips. Stir around until onion browns, then add the water. Let it boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and let it simmer while the chicken cooks for 45 minutes. If you start this before the chicken, you can simmer for longer! You can add any aromatics (bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cloves), but we kept the recipe very straightforward.
  • Strain the stock and discard the onion and bones, then add the soaked and drained basmati rice to the stock. Top up with additional water if needed, until water comes about 1 inch above the rice. Season with salt, bring rice to a boil, then once it boils cover with a tight fitting lid. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.
  • Remove the rice from the heat, let it stand for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Place rice on serving platter and top with the cooked chicken.
Keyword chicken, rice