The ideal pasta for this recipe is the very small Rison No. 63, which resembles brow rice. It is available at continental delicatessens and some supermarkets. Broken up vermicelli is a suitable substitute.
Cooking time: 1½ hours
1 large chicken
1 cup ghee or substitute
12 cups water
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cinnamon stick
4 teaspoons salt
¾ cup chick peas, soaked overnight
1 lb (500g) coarsely ground meat
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon black pepper
¾ cup Rison Pasta No.63 or broken up vermicelli
1 cup rice, washed and drained
½ cup slivered almonds
1. In a large saucepan, brown the chicken in ¼ cup of the ghee. Add 8 cups of water, half the chopped onions, the garlic, cinnamon stick and 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to the boil, cover and continue to cook until chicken is tender enough for the meat to fall off the bones. While the chicken is cooking, drain the soaked chick peas and place in a large pot with 4 cups water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer vigorously until just tender. Drain and set aside.
2. In another saucepan, lightly brown the almonds in a little ghee. Remove and set aside.
3. Add ¼ cup of the saucepan and heat. Fry the meat in the ghee, stirring occasionally, until brown all over. Turn down heat to simmer and cook until nearly tender – approx 15 minutes.
4. Stir in the cinnamon, black pepper and the remainder of the onions and salt, and continue to cook for a further 25 minutes. Remove from saucepan and set aside. Place the remaining ½ cup of ghee in the same saucepan and sauté the pasta or vermicelli until golden brown. Add the rice and sauté for a few more minutes.
5. Pour 5 cups of the boiling broth from the cooked chicken over the rice (make up quantity with water if necessary). Bring to the boil and add the cooked meat and onion mixture and the cooked chick peas. Stir well, cover, and turn down heat to simmer and cook until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed – approx 20 minutes. Turn off heat and allow standing for further 10 minutes.
6. Serve the chick pea and rice mixture on a platter, garnished with the almonds and chicken pieces.