I’ve listed Chicken Akni a few times in my meal plans and I’ve promised to post it, so here it is, finally.
If you’ve never heard of Akni, it’s an aromatic and flavourful East African/Indian rice dish (that is not spicy if you don’t want it to be.) It combines, rice, potatoes and chicken (or beef) with beautiful spices like cinnamon, cardamom, cumin and more to make an amazing taste that you’ll love.
Ask any of my neighbors who have come in when I’m cooking it. The smell hooks them and the taste has them asking for more. So I’m going to share it. If you love Indian food, or you’re not a fan, you still have to try this!
Don’t get overwhelmed when you see the list of ingredients. Once you have all the ingredients ready, it’s easy street. It’s actually a one-pot dinner! Once you have all the ingredients, you won’t be using more than one pot on the stove. This means easy prep and easy clean-up. So let’s get started.
3 Tbsp olive oil
5-6 cardamom pods
4 cinnamon sticks
10 whole black peppers
1 green chilli (optional)
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
3 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
3 roma tomatoes (chopped)
pre-fried onions (6 fist fulls, literally)
4 large chicken breasts (each one cut into 4 pieces)
2-3 potatoes cut into 5 or 6 pieces each (I pre-baked the potatoes for a few minutes in the micro first)
1 Tbsp of minced garlic
3/4 Tbsp of minced ginger
1 tsp salt
1 and 1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 mugs of basmati rice (not measuring cups, but a cup/mug you would drink your tea or coffee from. Those are my mom’s specifications)
If you don’t have any of these ingredients, you can usually find them in the ethnic isle at Superstore.
My recommendation is to have all your ingredients and measuring instruments ready and it’ll make the preparation much quicker.
Also, before you start, soak your rice in a bowl of water. Then rinse it with cold water before you’re about to add it to the pot.
1. Heat the oil on medium. Then add the cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, cloves and whole black peppers. Let them cook for 2-3 mins.
2. Add the whole green chili (if you’re using it,) the cumin seeds and cilantro. Cook on med-low for 2-3 minutes. Watch this one because if you take your eyes off, the cumin seeds could burn and then you have to start all over again. This I know from experience. You can stir it a bit as well and this is what it will look like when it’s ready. It will already begin to smell fragrant (and hopefully not burnt.)
3. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 3 mins. Do the same with the pre-fried onions. Here you can see that I actually used my fist for measuring the onions.
6. Once it’s boiling, add the rice that’s already been soaked and rinsed. Reduce the heat to med-low and put the lid on the pot, just leaving a slight opening so that it’s not airtight.
7. Now this is where it gets a bit tricky because I feel like my timing is a little different each time. So I would say let it cook for 20-30 minutes and check on it a few times to make sure it’s not sticking or burning. By then you should have a mouth watering smell in your house and once you take the lid off, this is what your dish should look like:
Sometimes, I’ve had it happen that the rice and everything is cooked, but it still seems a little wet or not fluffy. If that happens heat the oven to 250 degrees, cover the pot of Akni in foil and let it bake for another 10-15 minutes and you should be good to go.
We like to eat it with a side of plain yogurt and a carrot pickle that we can make at home in minutes.
Seriously, my mouth is actually watering while I write this post and look at the pictures!
If you’re feeling adventurous one day and want to try something different for dinner, I highly recommend this. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’ll be happy to answer them (or ask my mom for the answer.)
If you vegan or vegetarian, you might want to try this Vegetarian Akni Recipe.
Another one my favourite recipes from my mom is these Chicken and Chickpea Curry recipe that also has a vegan version as just Chickpea Curry.
Happy cooking 🙂