250ml(1 cup) chicken stock (or water + 1 stockpot/stock cube)
2TbspEV olive oil
Dry Spices & Aromatics for the Rice
1medium cinnamon stick
a large pinch of saffron + 2 Tbsp hot water
juice of 1/2 a lemon
zest of 1 lemon
To Smoke Chicken Mandi
1small piece of charcoal
1very small heatproof bowl/ramekin
a pair of heatproof tongs to handle the coal
a thin metal trivet for the coal to sit onoptional
Marinate the Chicken
Mix all the marinade ingredients together and rub all over the chicken, getting under the skin too. Be careful not to break the skin. Leave to marinate for a minimum 30 minutes, overnight if you want to and are organised!
Let's Start the Rice on the Stove
Turn the oven on to 220˚C (430˚F).
Heat the 2 Tbsp of olive oil in an oven proof dish on medium heat, and fry the dry spices for 30 seconds. This will be the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, bay leaves and black peppercorns.
Add the chopped onions and whole green chillies and fry for 2 minutes.
Tip in the rice and stir well, coating the rice grain with the flavoured oil. Do this for about 20 seconds.
Add the water and stock and bring to a boil. Once the liquid is boiling, turn the heat off and transfer to the oven.
Time to get in the oven
Place the rice on the lowest shelf of your oven, making sure there is space above for the chicken. See the video.
Place the chicken either on the next shelf above, or on a wired rack that will sit on your pot. As the chicken cooks, the fat and juices will drip onto the rice.
Cook on this high heat for 10 minutes, then, without opening the door, lower the heat down to 190˚C (375˚F). Now leave it to cook for another 1 1/2 hours or until the chicken is done. You will know the chicken is done, when the skin around the end of the legs have shrunk and pulled back.
Prepare the liquid saffron
While the chicken and rice are cooking, let's make our liquid saffron. Pound the saffron to a fine powder with a pinch of salt.
Add the hot water, stir, and leave aside until needed.
Once the chicken is done, let's prepare the charcoal
When the chicken is done, turn the oven off, open the oven door, and leave it slightly ajar. This is to stop the chicken from cooking further, and also starts our resting time for the chicken. Remember, all roast meats need a resting time after cooking, and before slicing, so that the juices can seep back to all the fibres, giving you moist meat.
Place a small piece of charcoal on the stove top, resting on a trivet, if you have one. Leave it to burn on a low heat for 10-15 minutes until it's white hot (see video). You don't need to turn it, which will only save you a minute or two.
Get the rice out, drizzle the liquid saffron and the lemon juice, and scatter the lemon zest all over. Fluff the rice with a fork, to mix it all up. Cover, and place the rice back in the oven, leaving the door slightly ajar. This will allow the crispy rice to absorb some moisture and soften slightly.
Let's get smoking!
If you have a sensitive smoke alarm nearby, close your kitchen door!
Take the lid off your rice and set aside. Open the oven door fully.
Pour your oil into the ramekin and immediately place the burning hot coal into the oil filled ramekin.
Very, very quickly, place the smoking ramekin in the oven, on the bottom shelf if there's space, if not, any shelf, as the oven will smoke up. Shut the door completely, and leave to smoke for 10 minutes.
Carve the chicken and serve with the rice, along with some yoghurt on the side.