Have you ever been eating chicken and rice and thought to yourself, "This is good, but I wish this was more exotic?" If so, you'll love this. This was inspired by many different recipes from many different places--which is why I chose this recipe name. Sprinkle this with red pepper flakes, if desired.

Recipe Summary

30 mins
1 hr
4 hrs 10 mins
5 hrs 40 mins
8 servings


Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
For the Exotic Marinade:
For the Rice:
For the Garlic Yogurt Sauce (Optional):


Instructions Checklist
  • Add yogurt, lime zest and juice, salt, paprika, cumin, coriander, cayenne, white pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, and allspice for marinade to a large mixing bowl; whisk to combine.

  • Make one or two slits into each piece of dark chicken meat, down to the bone. Add chicken parts to the yogurt marinade and toss very thoroughly. Wrap in plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for 4 to 8 hours.

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13-inch casserole dish.

  • Grind saffron in a mortar with a pestle. Pour in 1/4 cup chicken broth and stir to combine.

  • Combine unsalted butter and salt in a saucepan; pour in remaining 2 cups chicken broth and chicken broth-saffron mixture. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add basmati rice and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover tightly, and let simmer gently for exactly 15 minutes; do not disturb while cooking. Turn off the heat and let rest for 10 minutes.

  • While rice is still hot, transfer into the prepared casserole dish. Use a fork to fluff the rice while gently spreading into an even layer. Place the chicken pieces, skin-side up, on top of rice. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

  • Roast in the center of the preheated oven until chicken is no longer pink in the centers and juices run clear, about 45 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone, should read 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

  • While chicken is in the oven, mix yogurt, garlic, green onions, mint, cilantro, salt, and water together for sauce. Reserve in the refrigerator until needed. Serve chicken and rice on a plate and top with sauce.

Chef's Notes:

I used sheep's milk yogurt, but any plain, full-fat yogurt will do. If you don't have white pepper, you can use freshly ground black pepper. You can use any long-grain white rice.

I've seen versions of this recipe where the chicken is grilled after it's marinated, pulled off the bone, and then added to the rice--which I'm sure is good, but seems like a lot of extra work.

Nutrition Facts

362 calories; protein 23.8g; carbohydrates 31.7g; fat 15.4g; cholesterol 71.5mg; sodium 1125.5mg. Full Nutrition


Rating: 5 stars
I generally love Chef John's humor and his recipes are at least as good and this one was no exception. I made it with three large quarters instead of a complete chicken, nearly three pounds of meat, but will try a fourth quarter next time. I had enough extra marinade to spoon it onto my quarters after laying them in the rice. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Amazing. Simple to make and the flavor is out of this world. Definitely will be keeping this in our rotation and making if often! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
The flavors were excellent! I think next time I am just going to use dark meat to make. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Outstanding! Also works great with samon, with a shorter marination and cooking time. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I didn’t have yogurt so I used lite sour cream. Came out fantastic and the whole family loved it. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
My husband made this last night for dinner and it was excellent! He followed the recipe exactly. I swear I could drink the yogurt sauce! Lots of great flavors and not difficult to make! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Fantastic recipe and a great way to prepare a whole chicken or just some legs. I added 1 tsp of red pepper flakes to the spice mixture. The sauce was really good but I would double the amount of yoghurt next time. I will make this again and play around with the spices and herbs. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Truly excellent made as per directions. Juicy chicken beautifully crisped skin, vibrant flavorful rice and such a nice fresh kick from the herb sauce. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Fantastic!!! I doubled everything for a 16-pack of Tyson thighs. The leftovers a just as amazing. It seems like an enormous undertaking at first, but the video helped. Especially with how the rice was cooked. I will be cooking this again. The white sauce was an incredible addition which I would not consider optional. Read More