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Best Tasting Chicken Mandi | Instant Pot Recipe | Popular Arabian Chicken Rice Dish

Popular Yemeni-Arabian Dish, Chicken Mandi cooked in the Instant Pot…

Mandi is one of the popular Arabian dishes enjoyed by everyone, it’s a perfect one-pot meal consisting of aromatic rice & soft meat cooked in a special spice mix. Traditionally Mandi is slow-cooked in an underground oven or tandoor for hours, which will make the meat extremely tender & fall apart. Mandi can be made with chicken, lamb, or goat/mutton. Whole goat mandi is served during special occasions in some Arab families, which will be a show-stopper dish.

I’ve tried chicken & lamb mandi a few times, the meat was melt in the mouth & the rice was incredibly aromatic & flavourful. Finally, I cooked chicken mandi in my kitchen. I cooked the mandi in the Instant Pot, pressure cooked & air-fried the chicken & pressure cooked the basmati rice separately in the Instant Pot as well. The highlight of Mandi is the special spice mix, I made the homemade spice mix with the roasted whole spices. Chicken Mandi turned out to be a huge hit, absolutely delicious.

If you have an Instant Pot, this is a must-try dish.

Cooking Video


Best Chicken Mandi | Instant Pot Recipe | Popular Arabian One Pot Dish
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Serves: 5 people
For making the Mandi spice mix
  • Coriander seeds- 2 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds- 2 tsp
  • Whole black peppercorns- 2 tsp
  • Whole cardamom- 10
  • Whole cloves- 5
  • Whole cinnamon- 3 inch slice
  • Mace- 1
  • Turmeric powder- 1 tsp
  • Paprika- 1 tsp
  • Ground nutmeg- ¼ tsp
For Marinating the Chicken
  • Chicken pieces, thigh-leg- 5 (use bone-in pieces)
  • Lemon juice- 1 tsp/chicken
  • Salt- ¼ tsp/piece
  • Mandi spice mix- 3 tbsp
  • Olive oil- 2 tbsp
For Pressure cooking Chicken
  • Water- 2 cups
For Cooking Rice
  • White basmati rice- 2½ cups (soaked & rinsed)
  • Oilve oil- 2 tbsp
  • Whole cardamom- 5
  • Whole cloves- 3
  • Whole cinnamon- 1 inch slice
  • Dried bay leaves- 2
  • Onion, sliced- 1
  • Whole black peppercorns- ½ tsp
  • Remaining Mandi spice mix
  • Dried lime- 1
  • Salt- 1½ tsp
  • Chicken broth- 2¾ cups
For Garnishing
  • Fried onions- 1 onion sliced thin fried in oil
  • Roasted whole almonds or cashew nuts or pine nuts- 10
  • Roasted raisins- 2 tbsp
  • Saffron- ¼ tsp soaked in 2 tbsp water
Making Mandi spice mix
  1. Place a pan over medium heat.
  2. Add coriander seeds, cumin seeds & whole peppercorns; roast for 3 minutes.
  3. After that, add whole cardamom, cloves, cinnamon & mace. Roast for 3 minutes.
  4. Do not add turmeric powder, paprika & ground mace while roasting.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat, let the roasted spices cool down.
  6. Transfer to a blender jar, add turmeric powder, paprika & ground nutmeg, grind to a fine powder.
  7. Keep aside the spice mix, this can be prepared ahead of time & stored in an air tight container.
Marinating the Chicken
  1. I've taken thigh-leg chicken pieces, you can take any chicken pieces, should be bone-in chicken; tastes better.
  2. Add lemon juice, salt, prepared mandi spice mix 3 tbsp, olive oil over the chicken.
  3. Rub over the chicken spread it evenly.
  4. Let marinate the chicken for an hour to 2 hours. Or marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
Preparing the garnishing
  1. Fry 1 onion thinly sliced in enough oil, fry till golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel, keep aside.
  2. In the same oil, roast whole almonds or cashew nuts or pine nuts, keep aside.
  3. In the same oil, roast raisins till plumped up, keep aside.
  4. Soak ¼ tsp saffron in 2 tbsp water for 5 minutes.
Pressure cooking the Chicken
  1. Turn on the Instant Pot. I've used Instant Pot Duo crisp + air fryer, 8 quarts.
  2. Add 2 cups of water to the stainless steel pot.
  3. Place the air fryer basket in the stainless steel pot.
  4. If using other models Instant Pot, place a steamer in the stainless steel pot.
  5. Grease the basket or steamer with olive oil.
  6. Place the marinated chicken on the basket.
  7. Close the pot with the Instant Pot lid.
  8. Select pressure cook setting, set time to 20 minutes, at high pressure.
  9. After 20 minutes of pressure cooking, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes & then do a quick pressure release.
  10. Open the lid, remove the basket with the pressure-cooked chicken from the stainless steel pot.
  11. There will be chicken broth in the stainless steel pot. Pour the broth into a bowl & keep aside will be using the broth for cooking rice.
  12. Transfer the pressure-cooked chicken from the air fryer basket to a plate.
Air frying chicken
  1. Place the stainless steel pot back to the main pot.
  2. Place the air fryer basket into the stainless steel pot.
  3. Place the broil tray into the air fryer basket.
  4. Note: If you don't have an Instant Pot air fryer, and got a separate air fryer, you can use that to air fry the chicken. Or shallow fry the chicken in a pan, or bake in the oven at 400 F or 200 C for 10 minutes.
  5. Grease the tray with olive oil.
  6. Place the pressure-cooked chicken on the tray. Do not crowd the chicken.
  7. Close with the Instant Pot air fryer lid.
  8. Select Air fry setting, set the temperature to 400 F for 10 minutes.
  9. Halfway through air frying after 6 minutes, you will see turn food message on the display. If you want you could turn over the chicken. Otherwise, just ignore the message, it will disappear after 10 seconds.
  10. After 10 minutes of air frying, open the lid.
  11. Place the lid on the protective pad, it's really hot.
  12. Wear a mitten, air fryer basket & stainless steel pot are very hot too.
  13. Take the air fryer basket out of the stainless steel pot.
  14. Cover the air-fried chicken with aluminum foil & keep aside.
Cooking Rice
  1. Soak 2½ cups white basmati rice in 3 cups water for 15 minutes.
  2. After 15 minutes, rinse the soaked rice taken in a strainer. Keep aside the rice.
  3. Turn on Saute setting at high temperature.
  4. Add olive oil, whole cardamom, cloves, cinnamon & bay leaves.
  5. Saute for a few seconds.
  6. Add onion, saute for a minute.
  7. Add whole peppercorns, remaining mandi spice mix, dried lime & salt.
  8. Add soaked rinsed basmati rice, saute for 2 minutes.
  9. Add the soaked saffron water.
  10. Add the reserved chicken broth, for 2½ cups rice add 2¾ cups chicken broth.
  11. Combine well.
  12. Close the pot with the lid.
  13. Select pressure cook setting. Set time to 6 minutes at high pressure.
  14. After 6 minutes of pressure cooking, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes & then do a quick pressure release.
  15. Open the lid, perfectly cooked fluffy & aromatic basmati rice.
Assembling Mandi
  1. Use a large wide bowl or platter.
  2. Layer the basmati rice.
  3. Garnish with fried onions, whole almonds, raisins & saffron water.
  4. Place the chicken over the rice.
  5. Place a few tomato slices & lemon wedges.
  6. Delicious Chicken mandi is ready to be served, enjoy.



Thas is the author of Cooking with Thas, a popular food blog with recipes from Indian, American and Fusion Cuisines. She has been blogging since 2009 and been featured in several magazines. Read more...