Another Qaliya Rice (Garlic Meat in Butter with Herbs and Rice)

To nights recipe comes from The Ni’matnama Manuscript of the Sultans of Mandu.  The actual recipe section of this book is fairly small in comparison to the manuscripts (in black and white) that take up the back half of the book.  The recipes cover both tasty foods for good eating or food that is awesomely wonderful to eat on a cool night after a hard day of hunting!

Another Qaliya Rice

(Garlic Meat in Butter with Herbs and Rice)


Another recipe, for Qualiya rice: put ghee into a cooking pot and when it has become hot, flavour it with asafetida and garlic.  When it has become well falvoured, put the meat, mixed with chopped potherbs, into the ghee.  When it has become marinated, add water and add, to an equal amount, one sir of cow’s milk.  When it has come to the boil, add the washed rice.  When it is well cooked, take it off. (The Ni’matnama, pp. 15)


1 1/2 meat (beef, lamb goat) or 5 chicken thighs

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp corriender

2/3 C Ghee or 2 sticks of butter clarified  (about 2/3 cup) OR 1 stick of butter melted

2 bruised bay leaves

½ cup chopped basil

1 pinch saffron

1 ½ C Jasmine rice

2 ½ C milk

½ tsp salt (or to taste)

8 chopped cloves of garlic (roughly)


This recipe is only a little vague.  The potherbs had to be guessed at.  I knew asafetida and garlic however I had to do some guessing for the rest of the herbs.  I went for herbs that I know are used in other medieval Middle Eastern recipes.  Cumin, coriander, saffron, basil and bay leaves.  I could have also used pepper, lemon peel, lemon or lime juice, oregano, thyme etc.  The “potherbs” I used were to my taste.  Feel free to play around to make some thing uniquely your own!

This recipe says meat.  Any meat will do, beef, goat or lamb.  Don’t feel boxed in by just one type of meat.  For the chicken, I am using chicken thighs instead of a whole chicken as I am only feeding a very few people.  If I had a large family I would use a whole chicken (or a lot of beef stew meat) with double all the ingredient

So gather all of the ingredients together,

garlic chicken spices

add the butter to the pot.

butter in pot melted

Remember the rice will expand about double so make sure your cooking pot has room for the expanded dish not just the dry ingredients.

Once the ghee/clarified butter starts to boil add in the asafetida and garlic.

butter garlic asafetida

Asafetida is a very very stinky herb.  So make sure there is lots of ventilation.  Asafetida adds an unique flavor and only a very small amount is needed.  Don’t go over board and add in tons.  A little goes a very long way. If none is available double the garlic.

Here are 5 chicken thighs chopped up.

raw chopped chickenNext add in the chopped chicken (or meat)

chopped chicken in butter

and the herbs.

chicken and herbs in pot

To bruise bay leaves, crumble them up and over several, many, a few times, so that they are still whole but not glossy.

Stir everything up and get simmering again.  Add in the milk.

with milk added

You can’t tell the milk has been added, but I assure you it has been!  I deleted the water as I wanted a very rich tasting dish.  The ghee/butter almost guarantees that but adding milk seals the deal.  I’ve also found the richer the mouth taste the less asafetida leaves an unpleasant after taste.

Once everything has come to a boil, add the rice.

add rice

Stir everything together once more and let the pot come to a boil for the last time.  Once the pot boils, turn the stove down and put a lid on.  Come back in about 15 minutes to stir well to mix things up and get the rice off the bottom of the pot.  At this point the rice will have absorbed all the yummy ghee/butter and milk turning soft and silky.  The meat should be cooked.  Turn off the stove and put the lid back on for another 10 minutes.  At this point the rice should be very silky and the flavors well blended.

served in green bowl

You can eat with a spoon or with flat bread.  This is a very old time comfort dish or just an excellently rich dish to serve on a cold winter night after a hard day of hunting!


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