Baked yoghurt rice with chicken

Baked yoghurt rice with chicken

Tahcheen-e morgh

Mark Roper

Another attractive layered rice dish that is great for special occasions. If you have leftover cooked chicken from your Sunday roast, then by all means use it instead of the fresh chicken given here. Try to marinate the meat – whether raw or cooked – for at least 2 hours, as it really does develop the flavours.


Quantity Ingredient
250g thick natural yoghurt
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon orange-flower water
1 orange, finely grated zest
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
500g boneless free-range chicken breast and thighs, skin removed and cut into 2 cm cubes
400g basmati rice
2 tablespoons sea salt
80g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
thick natural yoghurt and fresh herbs, to serve
3 tablespoons Saffron liquid


  1. Beat the yoghurt with the egg yolks, saffron liquid, orange-flower water, zest, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Add the chicken to the yoghurt mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours ahead of time.
  2. Wash the rice thoroughly, then leave it to soak in a generous amount of lukewarm water for 30 minutes. Swish it around with your fingers every now and then to loosen the starch.
  3. Strain the rice, rinsing it again with warm water. Bring 2 litres water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the salt and stir in the strained rice. Return the water to a rolling boil and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Test the rice by pinching a grain between your fingers or by biting it. It should be soft on the outside, but still hard in the centre. Strain the rice and rinse again with warm water. Toss it several times to drain away as much of the water as you can.
  4. Preheat the oven to 190ºC and butter a 2 litre ovenproof dish. Remove the chicken pieces from the yoghurt marinade. Mix half the parboiled rice with the marinade and spoon it into the base of the ovenproof dish. Spread the rice over the bottom and up the sides of the dish.
  5. Arrange the chicken on top of the rice, then spoon in the rest of the rice to cover, and smooth the surface. Cover tightly with a sheet of lightly buttered foil and bake for 1½ hours.
  6. Remove the dish from the oven and dot the surface of the rice with bits of butter. Replace the foil and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Turn the rice out onto a warm serving platter. Serve with a bowl of creamy yoghurt and a selection of fresh herbs – tarragon, basil, chives and parsley would be lovely.
Middle Eastern
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