Chicken with Raisins & Rice is also known as “Machboos” in the gulf region. It quickly became a family favorite of mine and usually my go to dish to make when I’m entertaining because everyone loves it, it looks pretty, and it’s delicious!Jump to Recipe Print Recipe
“Machboos” or chicken with rice and raisins is not a dish I grew up eating. My parents, who are from Damascus, do not eat sweet and savory together. In other parts of Syria, like Aleppo for example, it is common to mix dried fruit in a savory dish, but not Damascus. Sweets are for dessert and savory is for dinner and they’re serious not to stray away from tradition. I learned how to make this dish from my mother in law and it’s been a staple in my home since. Clearly, I’m a fan of sweet and savory, as another one of my favorite dishes is this chicken & raisins dish which is a completely differently.
Usually when I make this, I boil the chicken with all the fixings (I use onions, bay leaf, cardamon, whole cloves, cinnamon stick, salt, pepper) on low heat to make a broth and cook the chicken. I will then use the broth to make the rice and also save the broth for either a soup or another dish I plan to make that day or in the next few days. Nothing will elevate a dish much like homemade broth! So do NOT throw away the broth!
The raisins and onions are cooked separately on low heat and allowed to caramelize together. I’m sure traditionally they used special seasonings and herbs but my mother in law told me that Italian seasoning is an easy alternative so that’s what I use. It has oregano which is important in middle eastern cooking. I add Italian seasoning to the onions and raisins along with some salt and then toss them with the rice. After the chicken is fully cooked through I either sear it or broil it to give it the nice crispy golden color on top.
Although the chicken with raisins & rice dish is delicious on its own, it is traditionally served with a tomato based sauce made simply by sautéing onions and garlic on low heat then adding tomato (I usually use a shortcut and use a can of diced tomato) and letting it all stew together for 15-20 minutes on low heat. The combination of tomato with raisins and chicken and rice is a real nice treat and so different that for sure it will be a family favorite!
This dish is the all sweet and savory and seasoned chicken, golden raisins, and caramelized onions served with a tomato based sauce on the side.
- 5 pieces of bone in thighs or any bone in chicken
- 1 onion cut in 4 quarters
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cardamom pods
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 7 cups of water
- 1 Tbsp oil
- 1 onion coarsley diced
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 1 tbls italian seasoning
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup rice
- 2 cups chicken stock from boiling the chicken
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 2 garlic minced
- 1 can of diced tomato
- 1 Tbsp oil
- Cover and lower heat for 45 minutes
- Soak golden raisins in hot water for at least 5 minutes
- In pan, add oil and onions on low heat for 10-15 minutes until fragrant and soft
- Add golden raisins along with 1 Tbsp water, Italian seasoning, & salt. Allow the flavors to mesh together
- Once the chicken has been cooking for at least 30 minutes, take 2 cups of broth from the pot and add 1 cup rice to it. Cook rice on low heat, covered for 15 minutes.
- Toss the rice with the golden raisins and onions. Season with more italian seasonings if you like.
- Broil the chicken for 3-5 minutes so it gets a nice golden color. Top chicken over rice.
- On low heat for 5-7 minutes
- Add tomato
- bring to a boil
cover on low heat for 10-15 minutes
- Salt to taste
- Can serve as is or use hand mixer to blend it all together into a creamy sauce