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Lebanese Chicken and Rice

A spiced Middle Eastern rice pilaf (hashweh rice) topped with shredded chicken and toasted nuts
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keyword: rice, middle eastern
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 474kcal
Author: Farah Abumaizar


For the chicken:

  • 1 chicken or 4 chicken breasts or assorted chicken pieces see notes
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick, or a pinch of cinnamon powder
  • big pinch salt and pepper

For the spiced meat:

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 small red onions, diced small
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 500 g ground beef or lamb* 1 lb
  • 1 tsp all spice or seven spices
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2-1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper to taste

For the rice:

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 3.5 cups water or chicken stock from cooking the chicken
  • 200 g frozen peas
  • pinch salt, pepper, and seven spices/all spices

To garnish:

  • toasted pine nuts and slivered almonds** See recipe notes
  • fresh chopped parsley


For the minced meat:

  • In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the olive oil. Once hot, add the diced onions and cook for 3-4 minutes until softened, stirring continuously.
  • Add the crushed garlic, and cook for a further minute or so, then add the minced lamb.
  • Cook for a minute, breaking apart any clumps of meat with a wooden spoon, then add all the spices (seven spice or all spice, cinnamon, salt and black pepper). Continue cooking, a good 6-8 minutes until lamb is all cooked through and brown with no pink bits remaining. Keep stirring and breaking apart clumps of meat through out- you can even use a potato masher to break the meat apart a little.
  • If desired, drain any extra fat. Taste the mince and adjust for seasoning.

For the chicken:

  • Place the chicken in a large saucepan. Add the onion wedges, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, salt and pepper. Cover with water until chicken is submerged.
  • Bring to a boil, then scoop off any foam that forms on the surface. Boil uncovered for 20 minutes or so until chicken is cooked through. Turn off the heat, remove chicken to a plate. Keep the stock to use in the rice.
  • Once the chicken has cooled enough to handle, use your fingers to shred the chicken evenly. Set aside.

For the rice:

  • Soak the basmati rice for 15-20 minutes, then drain and rinse with water until water runs clear.
  • To a large saucepan, add the minced meat (I don't always use all of it, I usually use around 300 grams or so), plus the drained basmati rice, the frozen peas, and 3.5 cups of water. Sprinkle with a big pinch of salt, pepper, and some additional all spice or seven spices. Stir to combine.
  • Bring the contents of the saucepan to a boil, uncovered, then cover with a tight fitting lid, reduce heat to a low simmer, and simmer for 20 minutes or until water is all absorbed. Remove pan from heat but let it sit covered for an additional 10 minutes, then uncover and fluff with a fork.
  • Garnish with toasted pine nuts/almonds (See notes) and chopped parsley, if desired


*For the full recipe post on Middle Eastern spiced mince, click here.
**To toast the nuts:
Start with the almonds, they take a little more time. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat in a skillet. Once oil is hot, add the almonds and stir constantly for 30 seconds or so, then add the pine nuts until they turn golden brown, stirring and watching constantly. Once golden brown remove IMMEDIATELY from the heat and place in a separate bowl to prevent further browning. Cool.
**You can use any chicken you like, or even leftover cooked chicken. You can save yourself the step of cooking the chicken by using leftovers, or by getting a rotisserie chicken. If this is what you do, just replace the fresh chicken stock in the dish with chicken stock cubes and water or plain water.
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Calories: 474kcal