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Muslim Yellow Rice with Chicken and Roasted Spices
Kao Moek Gkai (or Khao Moek Gai)*

A Recipe of Kasma Loha-unchit
Recipe Copyright © 2005 Kasma Loha-unchit.

(Click images to see larger version.)

Muslim Yellow Rice with ChickenIngredients

Dry spice mixture

  • 1 Tbs. coriander seeds, roasted and ground
  • 1 tsp. cumin, roasted and ground
  • 6-10 whole cloves, roasted and ground to yield about 1/2 tsp.
  • 6-10 Thai cardamoms, roasted and ground to yield about 1/2 tsp.
  • 1 tsp. ground roasted cinnamon bark
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 Tbs. yellow curry powder
  • 10-15 dried red chillies, roasted and ground
  • 1/2 tsp. white peppercorns, lightly toasted then ground finely
  • 2 tsp. sea salt

Non Dry-Spice Ingredients

  • Chicken & rice in the pot8 large cloves garlic, minced and pounded to a paste
  • 2-inch section fresh ginger, or about 2 Tbs. minced, pounded to a paste
  • 1/2 cup whole milk with 1 tsp. of vinegar added (or use buttermilk)
  • 3 to 3 1/2 lb. cut-up chicken, or a combination of chicken parts (e.g., thighs, drumsticks, wings, breasts – cut each half breast in half, etc.), skin on
  • 3 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 2 Tbs. peanut oil
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 8 small shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 2-1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. Asian saffron, soaked in 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3 red serrano, jalapeño or fresno peppers, chopped and pounded to a paste
  • 2 medium-size fresh pickling cucumbers, halved lengthwise and sliced at an angle into slender pieces about 1/8-inch thick
  • Pickled ginger as desired
  • Shredded cabbage and carrot salad as desired (toss cabbage and carrot with vinegar, sugar and salt, to taste (see Cooking to Taste))
  • Sweet-and-sour chilli sauce (recipe follows)

Muslim Yellow Rice with ChickenPrepare the dry spice mixture. Roast the spices separately in a dry pan over medium heat until they are both aromatic and darkened. Grind all the ingredients either in a heavy stone mortar or a clean coffee grinder to a well-blended powder.

Mix the spices, pounded garlic and ginger with the sour milk. Rub the mixture evenly over all the chicken pieces and marinate for at least an hour.

Heat the peanut oil in a large pot. When hot, add and melt the butter in it. Then fry the sliced shallots over medium heat, stirring frequently until they are a rich brown color (may take 20 minutes or longer). Drain browned shallots from oil with a slotted spoon and set aside in a dish (do not drain on paper towels).

Brown the marinated chicken pieces in the remaining oil/butter over medium heat until they are no longer raw and pink on the outside and are partially cooked. Make sure to add all the spices remaining in the bowl in which you marinated the chicken. While the chicken is browning, rinse the rice several times until the rinse water is almost clear. Drain well.

When the chicken has browned sufficiently, add the rinsed rice and sauté with the chicken and fat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add cups hot water, salt, saffron water and pounded red pepper paste. Stir well, making sure nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low, cover tightly (if the lid is light and doesn't clamp down very tightly, place an overturned clay mortar over the top) and simmer for 30 minutes. Uncover, stir the fried shallots into the rice, cover again tightly and continue to cook at the lowest heat setting until the rice and chicken are cooked through (20 to 30 minutes). Serve, as desired, with sliced cucumbers, pickled ginger, shredded cabbage and carrot salad and sweet-and-sour chilli sauce (recipe below).

Serves 8 to 10 as a one-dish meal for breakfast, lunch or snack.

Chillie Sauce & moreSweet-and-sour Chilli Sauce for Muslim Yellow Rice

  • 4 red serrano, jalapeño or fresno peppers, chopped with seeds
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup or more granulated sugar, to taste (see Cooking to Taste)
  • 2-3 tsp. sea salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. water

Pound the chillies and garlic until pasty. Place in a small saucepan and add the remaining ingredients. Heat over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer a few minutes until lightly thickened. Adjust to the desired combination of sweet, sour and salty (usually the sauce is a little more sweet than sour). Transfer to a sauce dish and let cool. Sauce will thicken more as it cools.

Here's a picture of the dish with beautiful presentation – Muslim Yellow Rice – at a restaurant in Takua Pa, Thailand.

Kasma taught this recipe in the Evening Series Advanced Set D-2.

*Because the Thai language has its own script, there are different ways of transliterating Thai into English. The more phonetic version is Kao Maek Gkai; the more usual spelling is Khao Moek Gai. See A Note on Thai Pronunciation and Spelling.

Recipe Copyright © 2005 Kasma Loha-unchit. All rights reserved.

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