Iraqi-style Brown Rice with Chicken, Carrots & Peas

Both husband and I love our spices. So it was only natural that I picked up The Iraqi Cookbook from the library the other day. I had intended to cook a good many recipes from the book... but as it turned out, I simply couldn't get past "Timman Jazar" or rather my version of it for it was so damn delicious !

In Iraqi, timman means rice and jazar means carrots. So translated literally timman jazar means Rice with Carrots. I however could  not resist throwing in some peas into the wok and so had to rename my 'timman' preparation thus..  Iraqi-style Brown Rice with Chicken, Carrots & Peas.

Traditionally "Timman Jazar"  is made with long grained rice which is cooked along with ground meat and quartered carrots in a covered pot. However since we avoid eating white rice at home I tried a brown rice version of it with peas and carrots. Since brown rice cooks differently from white rice, the first time I tried replacing one with another, I ended up with a mushy mass of intensely flavored rice....

Subsequently I began cooking the brown rice using my trusted and well practiced method, cooked the veggies separately and then layered the two together, just like we Indians do for Biriyanis and baked the layered rice in the oven. Once Biriyani was in the picture, a layer of fried onions, a sprinkle of mint and a bit of cream of coconut felt like a necessity. So those went in until I finally ended up with the casserole of deliciousness as you see it now....   

While the rice is perfect with a side of salad and yogurt, if you like you can also accompany it with Tzatziki. They taste really good together...

Iraqi-style Brown Rice with Chicken, Carrots & Peas

Recipe by Tanusree Khandai
Prep time: 1 ½ hours                                                            Total time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Serves: 2-3

  • ½ cup brown rice, washed thoroughly
  • 2 +1 tbsps vegetable oil
  • 1 + 1 medium sized onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ inch ginger, grated (about 2 tsps)
  • 1 tbsp mixed spices (refer notes)
  • ½ cup crushed tomato
  • 1⅓ cup ground chicken
  • 3 slender carrots, peeled and quartered
  • 1 cup green peas (I used frozen)
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ +½ tsp dried mint
  • 1½ tbsp +2 tsps cream of coconut
  • salt and pepper to taste
Cooking Directions
  1. In a large vessel bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add the rice, cover and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes. Pour the rice into a strainer over the sink and let it drain for 10 seconds. Then return the rice to the vessel, cover and keep aside. 
  2. Mix the grated  ginger and mixed spices in 2-3 tablespoons of water and keep aside.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok. Add half of the chopped onions and the garlic to it. Cook till the onion softens.
  4. Stir in the ginger mixture and crushed tomato and cook till the smell of raw tomato is gone.
  5. Once the oil begins to separate along the edges and the mixture has thickened and reduced to half in volume, add  the ground chicken to the wok. Coat it well with the spices and  stirring occasionally cook it till the chicken browns uniformly.
  6. Add the green peas, carrots, 1½ tablespoon of cream of coconut, ½ teaspoon each of ground cinnamon and dried mint. Season with salt and pepper, mix well, cover and stirring occasionally, cook until the vegetables soften, about 15 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile in a separate frying pan heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and fry the remaining chopped onions until they brown. Take care not to burn the onions.
  8. Now center the rack and preheat the oven to 375° F.  
  9. Once the chicken and vegetables are cooked and the onions are fried, spoon one-third of the rice into a 6 cup rectangular pyrex container or an oven proof container of similar capacity. Spread the rice uniformly in the vessel, top it with half of the the chicken and vegetable mixture, sprinkle half of the fried onions on top, repeat with another one third of the rice, remaining chicken-veg mixture and fried onions and finally put the remaining one-third rice on top.
  10. In a cup mix 2 tsps cream of coconut with ½ teaspoon  of dried mint, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle the mixture over the stacked rice.
  11. Cover the container with an aluminum foil, poke few holes on it with a knife and transfer the container to the preheated oven.
  12. Immediately reduce the oven temperature to 350° F and bake for 15 minutes.
  13. Serve hot rice with a salad and yogurt. 
 NotesA typical blend of spices that are used to make mixed spice is as follows:
  • 1 Tbs ground allspice 
  • 1 Tbs ground cinnamon.
  • 1 Tbs ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp ground mace
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground Ginger
Since I did not have the ground spices, I mixed whole allspice, cinnamon, mace, cloves, coriander in the same proportion as mentioned above, ground them together in the coffee grinder, added 1 tbsp ground nutmeg to the spices and used the mixture thus obtained in place of  mixed spice. Note that my spice mixture did not contain ground ginger. Hence I added grated ginger to the recipe.

The rice recipe is inspired by the Iraqi Rice with Carrots and I found the mixed rice recipe at BBC Good Food.


  1. I don't think I've ever had any traditional Iraqi food, but your spiced rice looks wonderful!!!

  2. I have an Iraqi friend who makes the most delicious food. This rice looks so good!

  3. This is the type of meals I have been trying to make for my family. Tasty and healthy. Pinning.

  4. I've never had any Iraqi food, but we do love brown rice and your dish sounds delicious with a lot of layers of flavor. Visiting from Foodie Friday.

  5. Just wanted you to know that your recipe is being featured on Foodie Friday today.

  6. thank you so much for linking up to Create Link Inspire! I just wanted to let you know that I'm featuring your recipe today in a Chicken Recipes post. I've shared it all over my social media and tagged you where I could. I would really appreciate any reshares! Have a great weekend! Emily@nap-timecreations

  7. Your rice dish looks great, I love cooking with different spices. Thanks for linking up to Sweet and Savoury Sunday, stop by and link up again. Have a great day!!

  8. We will just love this dish, it looks delicious! Thanks so much for sharing this great recipe with Full Plate Thursday and have a great week!
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen


Thanks for stopping by. It was nice having you here. Have a good day.

Take care and come back soon.
Best, Tanusree

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