Middle Eastern Style Chicken and Rice

I have mentioned this in the past, but almost every day, my colleagues at work talk about food, whether it was what they ate over the weekend, or what they were going to eat. I work in an open space environment so it lends well to those types of conversations as we plug away at emails and prepare for events. A buddy of mine turned me on to this dish. He came into work boasting about how awesome it was, and so that intrigued me to say the least. Simple to say the least, this Middle Eastern style chicken and rice dish is perfect to make during a busy work week and is great for leftovers. Did I mention the yogurt sauce? Yep, it’s all about the sauce.

Middle Eastern Chicken and Rice

Let’s get started.

Ingredients for the yogurt sauce:

  • 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped

Ingredients for the rice:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • pinch of cumin powder
  • 1 1/2 cups of Basmati rice
  • 2 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Ingredients for the chicken:

  • 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 whole lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp oregano powder
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/3 cup canola oil

Trust me, this all works to your advantage.

Start by making the marinade for the chicken. Add all of the chicken ingredients, with the exception of the chicken, to a food processor, and process until the garlic is broken down and you have a nice marinade. Add the chicken to a sealable bag, and pour in the marinade. Move that around in the bag, then seal, and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, or go longer if you desire.

How to make Middle Eastern Chicken and Rice


Next, make the yogurt sauce.

Add everything to a mixing bowl, stir to incorporate everything, and taste. Adjust any lemon juice or salt to your preference. (This sauce goes great with a lot of stuff.)

Next, make the rice.

Heat a medium sized pot on medium heat, and add in the butter. Let that melt, then add in the turmeric and cumin, and cook for about 2 minutes.

Next add in the basmati rice, and give it a good stir. Keep stirring for about 2 minutes, then add in the stock, and salt. Cover, bring to a simmer, and cook for about 30 minutes. Once the rice has fully absorbed the stock, fluff with a fork, uncover, and set to the side.

Next, make the chicken.

To a large skillet on medium-high heat, add the chicken. Spread it out and leave it untouched for about 5 minutes, then flip over the pieces, and caramelize the chicken on the other side.

Now you are ready to plate. I’m drooling just thinking about this.

Add the rice to a plate, top with some of the chicken, and spoon over a bunch of sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley if you like, as well as a wedge of lemon.

Dig in. My wife and kids fell in love with this one, especially the chicken. It’s got this great lemon and garlic flavor, along with the awesome spices throughout the entire dish, and don’t even get me started on the sauce. Don’t. Just make this, I think you will really love it. Hope you enjoy!

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Dax Phillips

Thank you for visiting my website. Truly, I do appreciate it. My free time and stress reliever is cooking for my family, friends, and everyone in between. The recipes you find on this site are those that I have either created, been part of, or those that I simply enjoy and have made my own in some shape, form, or other. My focus has always been on comfort food, because at the end of a long work day, you want something comforting. I currently am the father of three children, and married to a wonderful wife of thirteen years. There is nothing fancy with these recipes, just simple, and I will admit, not so simple ingredients, and a simple kitchen corner I can call my own. I learned early on that cooking and bringing family together was very important. After all, this notion of being together at dinner time was instilled early on by my parents. There are many memories of being in the kitchen with my parents, watching them cook, or preparing meals, or those home cooked smells while waiting for dinner. My parents who worked full-time, always had home cooked meals during the week, with the exception of Friday nights where we would enjoy a Wisconsin fish fry, and often on late afternoons on Sunday, where we would order Ann's pizza. I tend to cook by making things up. As a home cook, I think you have to take chances, and add or subtract ingredients that make up a dish, and make them your own. Remember to taste, and taste often. If a dish has potential, try it again, and make it your own. You should also note that I do not count calories, or break down recipes into grams of anything. To me, that's a bit boring. My philosophy is that if the food is good, eat it, and eat it in moderation. Life is just too short not to enjoy good food. Commonly Asked Questions: Can I use your photography/content on my website/blog? Please do not redistribute my photography or recipes without my permission. All of the recipes and photography on this website are my own unless noted, and is subjected to copyright  If you’d like to use a photograph or a recipe, please contact me for permission. Will you review my product/book/site? I am available for recipe development, food photography and/or styling, travel/press events, product reviews, brand promotion/ambassador, and sponsored posts. If you are interested in working with me, or if you have a question/comment regarding a recipe or about my blog, please send me an email.

6 thoughts to “Middle Eastern Style Chicken and Rice”

  1. I’m making his tomorrow night. I’ve been needing something to get me out of the late winter cooking doldrums. Very excited. Great site!

  2. This was really tasty – great flavors and simple prep. And you’re right about that sauce…it’s pretty out of this world. I’d say it gets better the second or third day. I’ve been using it on my wraps at lunch – so good! Thanks for a new recipe for my arsenal!

    1. Thanks Ellen! Glad you enjoyed everything. That sauce is pretty amazing. I just created a sauce yesterday that tops that one. Stop back in the near future as that one is a few posts away.

  3. Dax, this recipe is beyond great. I served a big platter of your Middle Eastern Style Chicken and Rice at a dinner party this week, and my guests raved! The marinated chicken did get a light 10-minute smoke in my Cameron smoker before that final grilling, but otherwise I followed your recipe exactly. I also made your Tahini Sauce to go on my platter of lamb meatballs. The Middle Eastern menu was a big hit, and my inspiration for it all was this chicken recipe. Thank you, Dax. I never thought you’d top your superb version of Smoked Salmon Salad, but you’ve done it!

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