Saleeg: creamy risotto topped with meat and a spicy tomato and salsa

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This dish originates from the western part of Saudi Arabia, including the cities of Jeddah, Mecca and Taif. It is most commonly served to special guests and is a sign of generosity and hospitality, and you can choose between chicken, beef or lamb.


The arabic meaning of the word “saleeg” is “to boil” and the reason is pretty obvious: almost everything is boiled in the dish. Don’t think the dish has no taste or texture since its components are boiled; instead the boiling infuses the flavour of the spices into the meat and the milk, stock and butter in the rice.

As tips, they teach us to use the “American” or long grain white rice so that it doesn’t become complete mush and maintains some texture. Also, whole fat milk is really the best for this dish, as its creaminess is essential. Most important of all, do not skip on the daggus, or spicy tomato salsa. It really brings the dish together and gives it the perfect acidity that cuts through the creaminess and meatiness.




  • 1 whole chicken (8 pieces)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf


  • 1/2 cups American rice (washed and soaked for ½ hour)
  • 2 cups chicken stock (or enough to cover the rice)
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup full fat milk
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 tbsp melted butter (to drizzle on top)


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1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil and once hot, place the chicken pieces skin side down. Brown the chicken and then add the rest of the ingredients and enough water to cover the chicken.Bring to the boil, skim off the fat and cover. Leave to boil until the chicken is cooked.

2. Strain the chicken and reserve the stock for the rice. Return the stock to the pot the chicken was cooked in and add the rice. Make sure the stock just covers the rice. You can add water if there isn’t enough stock.  Once the stock comes to the boil, lower the heat and cover the rice. Cook until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked.


3. Place the chicken in a baking tray.


4. Once the rice is cooked, add the milk, butter, salt and pepper. Once it comes to the boil, lower the heat and cover. Stir from time to time. It is ready when the milk is mostly absorbed and thickened.

5. To plate, place the rice in a large serving platter, top with the chicken pieces and drizzle with melted butter.



video on how to cook it:



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