Beef Mandi is an aromatic meat & rice dish originating from Yemen and Saudi Arabia which consists of marinated beef, local spices, and basmati rice. This is considered a popular dish in most Arabian peninsulas which is traditionally served and eaten with salads, yogurt, and tomato sauce.
Last September, when I was in Kuwait and visited my father, we went to this delicious Yemeni restaurant where we tried a traditional rice dish called Mandi. It is similar to a Kuwaiti Majboos or Saudi Kabsa since they consist of meat and rice.
The only difference is that they use different spices which the Yemeni called the Hawaij spice. The Hawaij spice is a Yemeni ground spice that consists of cumin, turmeric, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, and sometimes coriander seeds. If you don’t have this ready-made spice, you can definitely use separate spices.
Because I missed eating mandi, I have made my version of Beef Mandi which may not be 100% authentic but it is so mouth-watering that the rice is flavorful and the meat is seasoned well tendered.
What is Mandi?
Mandi is a tradition made from basmati rice, meat (chicken, lamb, or beef), and a local spice called hawaij. Since I don’t have huwaij, I am using separate individual spices like cumin, cardamom, turmeric, and other spices.
The word “Mandi” (مَنْدي) comes from the Arabic word meaning “dew” which implies “slow-cooked” or “slow-roasted.” This makes sense because the meat is cooked in a slow process to absorb the flavor, resulting a tender and well-seasoned meat.
The beef is boiled with the spices along with onion, garlic and black lime, which is then cooked till the meat is tender. The stock from the beef will then be used to cook the basmati rice, giving a fragrant flavor.
Traditionally, mandi is cooked in a pit or ground oven, but because it is not possible to cook that while in the house, I am using a pressure cooker and oven instead.
Here are the ingredients you need to cook this flavorful and aromatic beef mandi recipe:
I. Making the Stock & Seasoning the Beef
Here are the ingredients you need to make a stock and season the beef:
Beef: Beef is the main protein for mandi recipe. I prefer beef that contains bones since they are juicy and tender, and you can use either beef shanks or ribs.
Onion & Garlic: The onion and garlic will enhance the aroma and flavor of the beef when boiling or simmering.
Dried Lime: Dried lime or black lemon is a popular spice in Arabian Gulf countries where it gives a tangy and slightly smoky flavor to the soup.
Spices: Because I don’t have a ready-made hawaij spice, I am using homemade spices from scratch. These are the important spices & herbs you need for mandi:
- Cumin powder
- Cinnamon stick
- Bay Leaves
Other Ingredients: The rest you will need vegetable oil to saute the onion & garlic, and water for boiling the beef.
II. For the Rice and Garnish
To cook the rice and making garnish, here are the ingredients you need:
Rice: I am using Basmati rice as my long-grain rice since it is a traditional and common type of rice to use
For Garnish: I am using raisins and onion and I fried both of them since they will enhance the presentation and the flavor of the mandi rice.
Turmeric: The turmeric is used to give the rice a yellow color.
Other ingredient: The rest you will need butter, and vegetable oil to saute the onion.
Washing the beef before cooking
Before you start cooking the Beef Mandi, it is important that you need to wash the beef first. Here are the instructions on how to clean the beef
Step 1: Pour water into a large cooking pot. Turn on the heat in high fire
Step 2: Add the beef ribs or shanks to the pot.
Step 3: When it’s almost boiling, you will notice the beef will start to release the fats or scum. Turn off the fire.
Step 4: Transfer the pot into the dishwasher basin. Remove all the scum and rewash the beef with water. Once done, set it aside.
Step by Step Instruction
I. Cooking the Beef & Making the Stock
- Step 1– Add vegetable oil to the pressure cooker
- Step 2– Once hot, I added the red onion and garlic and stirred till it turned translucent.
- Step 3– Next, I added the beef and give it a quick stir.
- Step 4– Add the spices and gently mix to combine.
- Step 5– I added the black lime and poured water.
- Step 6– Cover with the lid and put on the pressure jigger valve. Allow the pressure cooker to cook the beef for 45 minutes or until it becomes soft.
- Step 7– Unlock the pressure cooker by removing the jigger valve and the lid. Make sure the pressure is fully released before opening the lid.
- Step 8– Separate the cooked beef from the stock. Place it on a separate plate. Set it aside.
II. Browning the Beef
- Step 9– In a small plate bowl, mix ½ teaspoon of turmeric with vegetable oil and butter. Mix gently.
- Step 10– Brush the beef to make it juicy and brown.
- Step 11– Place it in the oven and broil it for 5-10 minutes or until it becomes a golden brown color. Set it aside when done.
III. Frying the Garnish
- Step 12– Add vegetable oil to the pan
- Step 13– Add the raisins and let it fry for a few minutes or until the color becomes lighter. Remove it and set it aside.
- Step 14– Fry the chopped red onion until it becomes golden brown. Set it aside as well.
IV. Cooking the Basmati Rice
- Step 15– Pour 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil before adding the soaked basmati rice.
- Step 16– Give a gentle stir before pouring the beef stock. Let it simmer until it is fully cooked.
- Step 17– During halfway cooking the rice, add the turmeric-water mixture to the rice to give it a yellow color.
- Step 18– Once the rice has less water, Adjust to low heat. Continue simmering till the rice is fully cooked.
- Final Step– Serve the rice on a plate and place the beef on top of it along with garnished fried onion & raisins. Serve with salads and yogurt/tomato sauce. Enjoy!
The Arabian Gulf or Khaleeji cuisines have similar rice & meat dishes due to their similar culture and language. Here are the variations of Khaleeji meat & rice dishes that you can make at home:
Majboos– A Kuwaiti rice and meat dish in which the cooking process is similar to mandi but the spices are partially different. Also, it is traditionally served with a Kuwaiti sauce called daqoos.
Kabsa– A national dish of Saudi Arabia that contains beef cooked in tomato sauce with kabsa spices and then mixed with basmati rice.
Biryani– This is a khaleeji version of biryani which is mixed with basmati rice, chicken, and other Middle Eastern spices.
- Mandi is traditionally served with green salads such as Arugula, cucumber, or lettuce. Alternatively, this goes well with my homemade traditional Arabic salad.
- You can serve it with plain yogurt or yogurt garlic sauce.
- You can serve with any Arabic tomato sauce or marag. Or you can serve it with daqoos- A kuwaiti tomato sauce.
- If you like it spicy, you can serve with any hot sauce you like.
- When serving the beef, place it on top of the rice.
Tips and Hints
- Rinse the rice several times before soaking it for 30 minutes to remove the excess starch and make the rice fluffy.
- If the beef stock is not enough to fill up the rice, you can pour water & add 1 whole beef bouillon cube
- You can add carrots, potatoes, and bell peppers for extra texture.
- You can garnish the rice with fried onion and raisins, or you can place it directly on the rice in the pot and mix it gently. This will help enhance the flavor of the rice.
- Use beef-in bones like beef ribs or beef shanks since they are more commonly used in the dish.
- SUBSTITUTE- You can use chicken or lamb instead of beef if desire.
- Refrigerator Storage- You can store in the fridge which can last for up to 5 days
📋 Recipe Card
Beef Mandi Recipe
Beef Mandi is a Yemeni aromatic recipe which contain marinated beef, local spices, and basmati rice, widely popular across the Arabian Peninsula and traditionally served with salads, yogurt, and tomato sauce.
- For the Stocks and Seasoning the Beef
- 1.5 kg Beef shanks or ribs
- 1 Large Red Onion cut into 4 pieces
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 dried lime
- 1.5 teaspoons of cumin
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric
- 6 cardamom
- 4 cloves
- 1 medium cinnamon stick
- 3 bay leaves
- Water enough to cover the beef
For the Rice and Making the Garnish
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- 3 cups of basmati rice
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- ½ cup of raisins
- 1 cup of chopped red onion
- ½ teaspoon of turmeric
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
Making the Stock & Seasoning the Beef
Heat the pressure cooker with vegetable oil in medium heat.
Once hot, add the red onion and garlic. Stir till it turns soft.
Add the beef and the spices. Give a gently stir
Pour water and black lime.
Cover with the lid and put on the pressure jigger valve. Allow the pressure cooker to cook the beef for 45 minutes or until it becomes soft.
Release the pressure cooker gradually by removing first the pressure jigger valve. Make sure the pressure is fully released before opening the lid.
Remove the beef from the stocks and transfer into the plate. Set it aside.
Browning the Beef
Mix ½ teaspoon of turmeric with vegetable oil and butter in a small plate bowl.
Use the brush to spread on the beef. This will make it brown and juicy.
Place it in the oven and broil it for 5-10 minutes or until it becomes a golden brown color. Set it aside when done.
Frying the Garnish
Pour vegetable oil in the pan
Add the raisins. Let it fry for few minutes or until it becomes lighter in color. Remove and set it aside.
Add the chopped red onions. Fry till it turns golden brown. Set it aside.
Cooking the Basmati rice
Pour 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a separate cooking pot
Add the soaked basmati rice and give it a quick stir.
Pour the beef stock. Add salt and black pepper. Let it simmer until it is fully cooked.
During halfway cooking the rice, add the turmeric-water mixture to the rice to give it a yellow color.
Once the rice has less water, Adjust to low heat. Continue simmering till the rice is fully cooked.
Serve the rice on a plate and place the beef on top of it along with garnished fried onion & raisins. Serve with salads and yogurt/tomato sauce. Enjoy!
- If the beef stock is not enough to cover the rice, pour more water until it’s enough with 1 whole beef bouillon cube. You can alternatively use a ready-made beef broth
- Rinse the basmati rice several times and soak it for 30 minutes before using it. This will help reduce the excess starch
- Before cooking the beef, it is recommended to boil it for a few minutes to remove the excess fats or scum of the beef.
- To understand the instructions, you can see the pictures in the recipe post section.
Calories: 831kcalCarbohydrates: 88.8gProtein: 63.8gFat: 22.8gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 135mgSodium: 137mgPotassium: 1033mgFiber: 3gSugar: 8.7gCalcium: 115mgIron: 8mg