Rouz Jerbi, also referred to as Djerbian rice, is a traditional Tunisian dish that consists of rice, chicken, carrots, spinach, and other aromatic spices & herbs. This dish is mixed together and then cooked using a steaming method resulting in a deliciously tender and fragrant meal.
The history of Rouz Jerbi is traced back to the culinary history of Tunisia, which it’s cuisine is a combination of Berber, Mediterranean, and Arab food cultures. Rice is a very popular staple food in Arab countries, and each of them has their unique ways of making a dish.
The name “Jerbi” is often associated with the island of Djerba, known for its unique culinary contributions to Tunisian cuisine. The dish might have ties to this region, hence the alternate name “Djerbian rice.”
As an Arab, I love Arabic rice dishes, and Rouz Jerbi is one of the few Maghrebi foods that I am proud of making, which I am sure you are going to love. It is healthy since it is cooked in a steamer; it has a lot of green vegetables and it is rich in spices.
Here are the ingredients you need to make a delicious Djerbian rice:
- Spices: I am using a Ras El Hanout spice which is a North African spice that is mixed with cumin, cinnamon, ginger, etc. Other spices I added include cumin, turmeric and paprika.
- Tomato Paste: This will add richness, and a tangy sweetness to the dish.
- Harissa Paste: A spicy and aromatic chili paste made from various hot peppers, garlic, olive oil, and spices. It infuses the dish with heat and a robust, smoky flavor.
- Chicken Breast: I am using a boneless chicken breast which I chopped into pieces.
- Long-grain Rice: You can use either jasmine or basmati rice, but in this recipe I am using Jasmine rice since it is considered a long grain rice.
- Olive Oil: I am using extra virgin olive oil which I use it to mix with the rest of the ingredients before steaming, and sautéing the onion & garlic.
- Green Leaves (Spinach, Coriander, Parsley): These greens add freshness, color, and a vibrant herbal flavor to the dish. Spinach provides a mild earthiness, while coriander and parsley offer bright, citrusy and peppery notes respectively.
- Chickpeas: These legumes will serve as an added protein and fiber.
- Carrots: This vegetable will complement the other ingredients.
- Garlic and Red Onion: Aromatics that form the flavor base of the dish, providing depth and savory notes to the overall flavor profile.
What to prepare before cooking?
Before you start cooking, it is important to wash the rice several times to remove the excess starch and soak it in water for 30 minutes to make the rice fluffy. That way, when you steam the rice, it will be soft by then.
Also, I wash the green leaves and then chop them into pieces ahead of time before cooking this Djerbian rice.
Step by Step Instruction
Steps 1 & 2: In a large bowl, I added the soaked rice and the chopped spinach, coriander, and parsley leaves.
Step 3 & 4: Next, mix the chopped chicken breast together with the spices, tomato paste and harissa in a separate plate bowl. Once I gently mixed it together, I transferred it into the large bowl.
Steps 5 & 6: Lastly, I added the chickpeas and chopped carrots. Pour olive oil and add salt & black pepper before you mix all the ingredients gently using your clean hand.
Steps 7 & 8: Next, I added a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan at medium heat. Once hot, I sauteed the onion & garlic for a few minutes.
Step 9: Once it turns translucent, I add the rice mixture and gently stir to combine. The purpose here is not to cook the rice but to mix it all together with sauteed onion & garlic before transferring it to the steamer.
Step 10: Pour water into the pot and wait till it starts to boil.
Step 11: Prepare the steamer basket or insert it by lining it with aluminum foil.
Steps 12 & 13: Next, add all the rice mixture into the steamer basket or insert before transferring above the pot. Cover with the lid and steam it for at least 30 to 45 minutes.
Step 13: Once you reach 30 minutes, open the lid and gently mix it with a large spoon. Continue steaming for 15 more minutes.
Final step: Once done, serve the djerbian rice on a plate.
Tips and Hints
- Soaking the rice for about 30 minutes before cooking can also help achieve a fluffier texture.
- Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat for a richer taste.
- Adjust the amount of harissa for your desired spiciness.
- Fluff the rice gently with a fork during the steaming process to ensure even cooking.
- It is best to serve rouz jerbi alongside yogurt or any tomato stew (maraq, marqa, or daqoos) and a squeeze of lemon.
Other Arabian Rice recipes
Here are other delicious Arabian rice recipes to cook:
📋 Recipe Card
Rouz Jerbi (Djerbian Rice)
Rouz Jerbi, also known as Djerbian rice, is a traditional Tunisian recipe consist of rice, chicken, green leaves (coriander, parsley & spinach leaves), carrots, and flavorful spices. This dish is steamed to perfection, creating a tender and aromatic meal that captures the essence of traditional Tunisian cuisine.
- 2 boneless chicken breasts chopped, approximately 400-500 grams (14-18 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon of ras el hanout spice blend
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1-2 tablespoons of harissa paste adjust based on spice preference
- 1.5 cups of Jasmine long-grain rice uncooked
- 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cup of combined chopped green leaves Spinach, Coriander, Parsley
- 1 cup of chickpeas cooked or canned
- 2 medium-sized carrots diced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 medium-sized red onion finely chopped
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
Begin by combining the drained soaked rice, chopped spinach, coriander, and parsley leaves in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, mix the chopped chicken breast with the spices, tomato paste, and harissa. Once combined, transfer this mixture to the large bowl.
Add the chickpeas, chopped carrots, a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and black pepper to the bowl. Gently combine all the ingredients using clean hands.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic until translucent.
Add the rice mixture to the sauteed onion and garlic. Stir gently to combine, ensuring the rice mixes with the sauteed ingredients. This step is to blend the flavors, not fully cook the rice.
Prepare the steamer by lining it with aluminum foil.
Transfer the entire rice mixture into the steamer basket or insert. Place it over a pot with boiling water, cover with a lid, and steam for 30 to 45 minutes.
After 30 minutes, briefly stir the rice with a large fork or spoon, then continue steaming for an additional 15 minutes.
Once the rice is cooked and done, serve the Djerbian rice on individual plates.
Calories: 575kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 23gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 675mgPotassium: 350mgFiber: 6gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 800IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 75mgIron: 2mg