Growing up in the middle east, I felt I had it all. Taco bell, Pizza Hut, KFC, McDonalds, Dairy Queen, Chilli’s.. but nothing beat the local Qatari rice dish – majboos. Aromatic fluffy buttery rice and tender meats served with salads and pickles and of course the sauces (drool). The sheikhs had it all. One of dad’s friend was a cook at a sheikh’s mansion and from time to time he would set aside some majboos for us because he knew how much us kids loved it. Dad would bring home a bag full and we would dive in. There was no stopping. Fats? Pff.. Carbs? Pff..
Living in one of the most diverse cities in the US, Houston, I have yet to find majboos. So I decided to make my own version of the dish – with a healthy twist. No fatty lamb meat, no buttery rice. Unfortunately. But still carries the flavor I remember from my childhood.
- Cooked quinoa (4 cups)
- Unsalted butter (2 tsp)
- Cinnamon powder (1 tsp)
- Coriander powder (1/2 tsp)
- Nutmeg powder (1/4 tsp)
- Turmeric powder (1/2 tsp)
- Black pepper powder (1/4 tsp)
- Cayenne powder (1/2 tsp, or as preferred)
- Large red onion (1/2, chopped)
- Tomato (2, chopped)
- Chicken (1 lb, chopped)
- Salt (2 tsp) or as preferred
- Bay leaves (2)
- Add butter to pan and throw in the onions. Sauté until brown.
- Add the chicken and let it cook covered for 5 minutes in medium heat.
- After the chicken is cooked, add tomatoes, salt, bay leaves, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, turmeric, black pepper and cayenne powders. Mix well and let it cook for 5 minutes. Sauté every now and then.
- The chicken may have exhausted some liquid. Let it continue to simmer uncovered for another few minutes until it leaves a thicker “gravy”.
- Finally add cooked quinoa and mix well to infuse the quinoa with the chicken and spices.
For the salad, I used:
- Greens (blend of baby spinach and kale, 4 cups)
- Large red onion (1/2, sliced)
- Tomato (2, chopped)
- Cucumber (1, chopped)
- Serrano pepper (1, chopped)
- Fresh lemon juice
For the sauces, I used:
- Sambal Oelek ground fresh chili paste
- Garlic Tahini Sauce (Healthy “white” sauce)
To serve I added the quinoa mixture into a bowl, topped it with the salad and finished with the sauces.
So light and refreshing yet so flavorful! It’s the perfect healthy dinner recipe.
Vegetarians can easily substitute the chicken with cauliflower.
… and stay beautiful from within.