Plau B’jeej

Plau B'jeej

Plau B’jeej (Red rice with roasted chicken)

Thank you Rachel Somekh

2 1⁄2 cups of long grain, white, basmati rice, washed
1 whole chicken, cut into sections and skinned
2 small onions
2 heaping teaspoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon pepper
1⁄4 – 1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne
1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric
1⁄4 – 1⁄2 cup almond slivers or pine nuts (optional and preferable)
1⁄4 cup raisins (optional)

In a large, thick walled pot, preferably coated with a non-stick surface, lay chicken pieces at the bottom of the pot, with the fleshier sides down. Add oil, onions (whole), pepper, cayenne, and 1⁄4 cup water. Set on medium flame and cover. When the water evaporates, uncover and allow the chicken to brown slightly. Then add 1/5 cup water and cover. When the water evaporates, allow the chicken to brown further. When a nice, reddish-brown color is achieved, turn off flame, remove the chicken and onions, and place them on a plate. Dissolve the tomato paste into 2 1⁄2 cups of water and add to pot, together with the salt and turmeric. Set pot on medium flame and cover. Drain the rice to remove as much water as possible. When the water in the pot boils, add the drained rice, stir, and cover. When the liquid evaporates, lower flame to low, stir briefly, and cover. When the rice is ready, place the chicken and onions on top of the rice (do not mix), cover, and place of very low flame. Let sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour for

If using almonds/pine nuts, or both nuts and raisins: While rice is sitting on low flame, sauté almond slivers or pine nuts (and raisins, if raisins are used) in a pan glazed or sprayed with a little bit of oil. When nuts are brown remove and set aside.

To serve, remove chicken and onions from over the rice and set them aside. Scrape rice and hkaka out of the pot or, if using a non-stick pot, invert pot over a serving platter to produce a hkaka cake. Array chicken pieces around the rice and place the onions on top. Sprinkle toasted nuts (and raisins) over the rice. This is traditionally served with salad and steamed lubia (fresh black eyed peas cooked with the stalk).