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Yemeni Mandi Recipe

Yemeni Mandi Recipe

Mandi is a traditional rice dish of Yemen made with meat, typically lamb or chicken, which is cooked with fragrant spices.

The traditional method of cooking Mandi involves slow-roasting the meat in an underground pit oven called a tandoor, infusing it with smoke.

Origin & Cultural Significance

The history of Mandi can be traced back to ancient Yemeni Bedouin tribes, who developed the dish as a way to preserve and cook meat in the desert.

Mandi is typically enjoyed during special occasions, family gatherings, and festive celebrations in Yemen. It is commonly served during weddings, and religious holidays such as Eid al-Fitr. The rice dish is often prepared in large quantities and served out of a large dish for guests to share.

In some areas of Yemen, goat meat or fish may be used instead of lamb or chicken, mostly due to the availability of those ingredients.

Mandi shares similarities with other rice-based dishes found in Middle Eastern and South Asian cuisines. For instance, Indian Biryani and Afghan Kabuli Pulao.

Mandi rice dish

Yemeni Mandi Recipe

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Mandi is a traditional rice dish of Yemen made with meat, typically lamb or chicken, which is cooked with fragrant spices.


  • Lamb shoulder or chicken (cut into pieces) - 2 lb.
  • Basmati rice - 2 cups
  • Onion (sliced) - 1
  • Garlic cloves (minced) - 4
  • Ginger (grated) - 1 tbsp
  • Black pepper (ground) - 1 tsp
  • Cumin (ground) - 1 tsp
  • Coriander (ground) - 1 tsp
  • Turmeric (ground) - 1/2 tsp
  • Cardamom pods - 4
  • Cinnamon stick - 1
  • Bay leaves - 2
  • Salt - 1 tsp
  • Olive oil - 2 tbsp
  • Water - 4 cups
  • Almonds - for garnish
  • Raisins - for garnish


  1. Rinse the basmati rice under cold water until the water runs clear. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Add sliced onion, minced garlic, and grated ginger to the oil. Cook until the onion is soft and translucent.
  4. Add the lamb or chicken pieces to the pot and brown them on all sides.
  5. Once the meat is browned, add ground black pepper, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, and salt. Stir well to coat the meat with the spices.
  6. Pour water into the pot, covering the meat completely. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.
  7. Cover the pot and simmer for about 1 hour, or until the meat is tender.
  8. While the meat is cooking, prepare the rice. In a separate pot, bring water to a boil. Add the rinsed basmati rice and cook according to the package instructions until it is tender and fluffy.
  9. Once the meat is tender, remove it from the pot and set it aside. Strain the cooking liquid to remove any solids and return it to the pot.
  10. Add the cooked rice to the pot with the strained cooking liquid. Stir well to combine, then cover the pot and simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the rice is heated through.
  11. To serve, place the rice on a platter and arrange the cooked meat on top. Garnish with almonds and raisins.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 184Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 412mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 7g

Nutrition is provided and calculated by Nutritionix. It is for general information purposes and is only a rough estimation.

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