Delicious Chicken Zurbian Rice Recipe – Easy and Quick!

Are you looking for a new rice dish to spice up your next dinner party or event? Look no further than this Chicken Zurbian Rice recipe from Yemen.

This dish is usually made special for occasions where people gather, such as weddings or other celebrations. The dish differs from regular biryani due to the unique combination of whole cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon, ground black pepper, ground cumin, turmeric, and salt mixed in with the basmati rice.

The chicken zurbian itself is a flavorful and tender addition to the dish. The green chili peppers and garlic cloves minced in the recipe give it an added kick of spice that pairs perfectly with the richness of the cashews.

As an Arabic Yemeni-style dish, this zurbian chicken biryani recipe is sure to impress your guests and transport them to the heart of Yemen with every bite. Follow the steps carefully and you’ll have a tantalizing rice dish that will leave everyone coming back for more.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Chicken Zurbian Rice from Yemen
Chicken Zurbian Rice from Yemen

If you’re looking for a unique and flavorful rice dish to spice up your next gathering, then this Chicken Zurbian Rice recipe is the perfect choice. This Yemini zurbian recipe is usually made for special occasions where people gather, such as weddings or family events, but there’s no need to wait for a special occasion to enjoy its delectable taste.

The combination of aromatic spices such as whole cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon, ground cumin, and turmeric make this dish stand out from other rice recipes. These flavors provide an explosion of taste in each bite and will leave your guests satisfied and asking for more.

This chicken zurbian rice recipe differs from regular biryani due to the addition of green chili peppers and cashews that give it extra texture and crunch. The dish also utilizes basmati rice which provides a unique flavor unlike any other rice noodles.

One of the best things about this recipe is that it is versatile. You can substitute the chicken with beef or lamb to create a different version of zurbiyan. Additionally, you can also use different combinations of spices and vegetables to customize the dish according to your liking.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a delicious rice dish that’ll add pizazz on your dinner table, then look no further than this zurbian biryani recipe. It’s sure to impress everyone at your next gathering with its unique and flavorful taste.

Ingredient List

 Fluffy rice topped with flavorful chicken
Fluffy rice topped with flavorful chicken

The ingredients for Chicken Zurbian Rice from Yemen are quite simple, yet perfectly blended altogether to create an incredibly flavorful dish. Before starting, make sure you have all the necessary ingredients on hand:

Main Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs Chicken pieces (use bone-in for additional flavor)
  • 3 cups Basmati rice
  • 6 cups Water

Spices and Aromatics:

  • 4 Whole cloves
  • 4 Cardamom pods
  • 1-inch Cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. Ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. Turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Salt (or to taste)
  • 2 Green chili pepper

For the Onion-Garlic Mixture:

  • 1 large Onion, chopped
  • 3 Garlic cloves, minced

Optional Garnishes:

  • Roasted Cashews

Note: You might notice that some of these ingredients, like cloves and cardamom pods, may be harder to find in a standard supermarket. Try looking for them at specialty stores, or purchase them online ahead of time.

The Recipe How-To

 A vibrant bowl of aromatic zurbian rice
A vibrant bowl of aromatic zurbian rice

Now that you have all the ingredients ready, it’s time to start making this delicious Chicken Zurbian Rice recipe. Follow these detailed steps to ensure a perfect and flavorful outcome.

Step 1: Cook the Chicken

In a large pot, heat some olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic cloves and sauté until they start to soften. Add the chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned on all sides.

Step 2: Add Spices and Water

To the pot, add the following spices: 2 whole cloves, 4 cardamom pods, 1 cinnamon stick, 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Stir well to coat the chicken evenly with spices.

Add enough water to cover the chicken, then add a small green chili pepper for an extra kick. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.

Step 3: Cook the Rice

While the chicken is cooking, soak 3 cups of basmati rice in cold water for at least 20 minutes.

In another pot, bring 5 cups of water to a boil with 1 teaspoon of salt. Drain the soaked rice and add it to boiling water. Reduce the heat and cook until rice is tender but slightly firm (about 8-10 minutes).

Step 4: Combine Chicken and Rice

Once both the chicken and rice are cooked separately, combine them by adding all of the chicken mixture (including any remaining liquid) into the pot with cooked rice.

Give everything a good stir, then cover with a tight-fitting lid (use foil if needed) and place it over low heat for another 10-15 minutes.

Step 5: Toast Cashews

In a small skillet, toast some chopped cashews over low heat until lightly browned.

Step 6: Serve Hot

When ready to serve, garnish your chicken zurbian with toasted cashews on top. This dish makes for an impressive presentation and tastes delicious!

Enjoy your homemade Chicken Zurbian Rice with family or guests on special occasions!

Substitutions and Variations

 Comfort food at its finest
Comfort food at its finest

If you are looking to change things up or simply want to make this Chicken Zurbian Rice recipe your own, there are countless substitutions and variations you can try. Here are a few options:

– Nuts: If you don’t have cashews on hand or prefer a different type of nut, you can try almonds, pine nuts, or even pistachios for added crunch and texture.

– Meat: While chicken is the traditional choice for zurbian rice, you can also try using beef instead. Or, if you prefer a meatless option, substitute the chicken with mushrooms or tofu.

– Rice: Basmati rice is the go-to for this recipe, but if you want to switch things up, try using jasmine rice or even brown rice for added fiber and nutrition.

– Spices: The spices mix plays a crucial role in giving this dish its signature flavor. However, if you don’t have all of the specific spices listed, you can get creative with what you have in your pantry. For example, adding some smoked paprika or chili powder can give the dish an extra kick of heat and smokiness.

– Vegetables: If you want to add more veggies to your zurbian rice, consider tossing in some diced bell peppers or small broccoli florets. You can also mix things up with some sliced carrots or use frozen mixed vegetables.

Overall, feel free to experiment and make this recipe your own by trying out different substitutions and variations. Whether you stick to the classic Yemeni zurbian recipe or put your own spin on it, this flavorful rice dish is sure to be a hit at any gathering.

Serving and Pairing

 A dish that will transport your taste buds to Yemen
A dish that will transport your taste buds to Yemen

Chicken Zurbian Rice is a delicious and hearty dish that can be served on a variety of occasions. It is usually made on special occasions where people gather in Yemen, especially weddings. This dish differs from the regular biryani due to the spices used and is a popular Yemeni rice dish.

To serve, I recommend garnishing with some finely chopped cashews on top for some crunchiness. You can also add a few thinly sliced green chili peppers if you like it spicy.

Chicken Zurbian Rice can be paired with different sides such as cucumber raita, hummus, or even a simple green salad to balance out the flavors. You can also serve it alongside roasted vegetables or kebabs for an authentic Arabic meal.

I also suggest serving Chicken Zurbian Rice in small portions as it is quite filling on its own. Trust me; you won’t need anything else but this dish on your plate!

This dish is an excellent choice for big gatherings and potlucks because it can feed a large crowd at once. It also stays flavorful even when left at room temperature for some time, making it ideal for outdoor events.

Overall, Chicken Zurbian Rice will surely impress your guests with its incredible taste and aroma. So go ahead and try it out for yourself; you won’t regret it!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 A fragrant and satisfying chicken and rice dish
A fragrant and satisfying chicken and rice dish

Chicken Zurbian Rice is a dish that can be made ahead of time and reheated easily. This makes it ideal for busy weeknights or even special occasions where you want to focus on other aspects of your meal.

To make this dish ahead of time, simply prepare it up until the point where you would normally put it in the oven to cook. Instead, cover it tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before cooking.

If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. When reheating, add a splash of water to the container and microwave on high for 1-2 minutes at a time, stirring occasionally. Alternatively, you can reheat the entire dish in the oven at 350°F (175°C) for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through.

One thing to keep in mind is that reheated rice can sometimes be dry or tough. To combat this issue, add a bit of water when reheating and cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil tightly. This will help to trap steam and moisture, keeping your rice fluffy and delicious.

In terms of freezing leftover Chicken Zurbian Rice, I would not recommend it as the rice noodles may not hold up well after being frozen and thawed. However, if you do need to freeze your leftovers, be sure to store them in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating as usual.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Perfectly cooked chicken on a bed of aromatic rice
Perfectly cooked chicken on a bed of aromatic rice

To ensure that your Chicken Zurbian Rice turns out just as delicious as the authentic Yemeni recipe, I have gathered some tips for perfect results:

1. Toast the spices before cooking: Before adding the spices to the dish, toast them in a dry skillet on medium heat until fragrant. This will enhance their flavor and aroma.

2. Marinade the chicken: Marinating the chicken pieces in a mixture of yogurt and spices for at least one hour will tenderize the meat and add more depth of flavor to your Chicken Zurbian Rice.

3. Add cashews for texture and taste: The addition of cashews not only adds a delightful crunch to this dish, but it also brings nutty flavors that complement the chicken and rice.

4. Use freshly squeezed lemon juice: Squeeze fresh lemons to get the most juice for your Chicken Zurbian Rice’s marinade or sauce. Fresh lemon juice has a bright, tangy taste that bottled juice lacks.

5. Cook rice in chicken broth: To make sure your basmati rice is fragrant and well-seasoned, cook it with chicken broth instead of water. The extra flavor from the broth will elevate your Chicken Zurbian Rice from everyday biryanis.

6. Watch closely during cooking: Make sure to check on your Chicken Zurbian Rice every few minutes while it cooks to ensure that it does not overcook or dry out. Avoid lifting the lid too often as this will release steam and affect the cooking temperature.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to create an authentic Yemeni-style zurbian chicken biryani recipe that’s sure to impress your guests at special occasions where people gather together like weddings or any other gatherings.


Now, let’s move on to the FAQ section where I’ll be addressing some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the Chicken Zurbian Rice recipe. These questions might have popped up in your mind as you were reading through the article, so be sure to read through these answers thoroughly as they will offer you some useful insights that will help you approach and prepare the dish with greater ease and confidence.

What is zurbian made of?

Get ready to indulge in a hearty Yemeni cuisine consisting of tender lamb cooked in a delectable sauce of yogurt, tomato, and spices. The juicy meat is then topped with fluffy rice, which is infused with saffron water to give it an appetizing yellow hue. Laced with the rich aroma of cardamom, turmeric, coriander, cilantro, and cinnamon, this dish is sure to impress your guests.

What is Zurbian biriyani?

Whether it’s a festive occasion like Ramadan, Eid or a wedding, Zurbian or Subyaan chicken biryani holds a special place in the menu. This Arabic or Yemeni delicacy is unique from traditional biryani owing to its unique blend of ingredients.

Where is Zurbian from?

Zurbian, the Yemeni rendition of Biryani, is a dish traditionally reserved for special events such as weddings or Ramadan iftars, as it requires a considerable amount of time to prepare.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Chicken Zurbian Rice recipe is a perfect dish to add variety and excitement to your next gathering. With its exotic blend of spices, fragrant basmati rice, and juicy chicken pieces, this dish is sure to delight even the most discerning of palates. The recipe features easily accessible ingredients and simple cooking directions that make it a great option for home chefs looking to try something new.

Whether you are hosting a special occasion like a wedding or simply seeking to spice up your weeknight dinners, the Chicken Zurbian Rice recipe is the perfect choice. Its unique blend of Arabic and Yemeni flavors will transport you and your guests across continents without ever leaving your kitchen. So go ahead and give this recipe a try – I guarantee that it will quickly become a staple in your recipe arsenal.

Chicken Zurbian Rice from Yemen

Chicken Zurbian Rice from Yemen Recipe

Found on Queen of Sheba, Yemeni recipes. I made this dish and found it delicious. Probably not the most beautiful dish I have ever seen but the nut and fruit topping helps in that respect as well as adding some crunch and mild sweetness as well.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Yemeni
Calories 408.5 kcal


  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 green chili pepper (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 -4 cardamom pods
  • 3 -4 whole cloves
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 1/2-2 lbs chicken pieces
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • cashews, Almonds, and Golden raisins for serving


  • Saute garlic, onion, and pepper in oil over medium heat until browned.
  • Add salt, turmeric, coriander, cumin, black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves to onion mixture. Add chicken and cook until brown on the outside.
  • Add water and cook the chicken on medium heat for about 20-30 minutes if using a pressure cooker, or longer if cooking in a regular pot.
  • When the chicken is cooked through, assess how much water is left in the pot. You will want about 2 cups of water for every cup of rice, however this may vary greatly depending on the type of rice used as some are more absorbent. Add the rice to the broth, and the rice should be just covered by the water. If needed add more water a quarter cup at a time.
  • Cook the rice uncovered on medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the rice is about 2/3 cooked through and there is just a little bit of liquid left.
  • Now reduce the heat to low and cover the pot, do not seal the cooker. Let the rice steam for another 10 minutes until all liquid is absorbed. NOTE: Watch the rice during this stage and if the rice is burning at the bottom of the pot add water a tablespoon at a time. When all water is absorbed and rice is cooked through, turn off heat and let sit in the pot about 10 minutes before serving.
  • Garnish with a handful of raisins, almonds, and cashews.

Your Own Notes


Serving: 348gCalories: 408.5kcalCarbohydrates: 50.2gProtein: 18.1gFat: 14.8gSaturated Fat: 3.7gCholesterol: 51.8mgSodium: 643.6mgFiber: 3gSugar: 1g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Chicken, From Scratch, Inexpensive, Meat, Middle Eastern, Poultry
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recommended Recipes Just For You