Pronounced phonetically (or Wali-YUM-boga, as I like to say — cheesy, but true), my family’s version of this elegant East African rice dish is similar to a traditional Indian chicken biryani, and it does not disappoint. Long-grain rice is cooked alongside spinach and tossed with a tomatoey dry curry with tender yogurt-marinated chicken. It is, without a doubt, a crowd-pleaser. I’ve adapted this recipe from my cookbook so it can be prepared and served in The Dutchess.
- In a large bowl or resealable bag, combine the yogurt, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, and chili powder.
- Then add the chicken and stir to combine thoroughly, making sure to coat each piece of chicken.
- Marinate for 1-2 hours at room temperature while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- While the chicken marinates, prepare the rice by filling The Dutchess with water and 1 tablespoon of salt and bringing it to a boil.
- Add the soaked rice to the boiling water and cook for 10 minutes before adding the chopped spinach.
- Stir and cook for another 5-8 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through.
- Drain the rice through a colander and set aside.
- In the same pot, heat 1/3 cup of oil on medium-high heat.
- Add in the sliced onions and caramelize until brown and soft.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the onions and set aside for later. This process will take about 20 minutes and should yield between 3/4 to 1 cup of cooked onions.
- To the same pot, which should have a few tablespoons of oil remaining, add the marinated chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes per side, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the cooked chicken from the pan and set aside with the onions.
- To the same pot, add the remaining two tablespoons of oil (if no oil remains from cooking the chicken) and the garlic, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric, and chili powder.
- Stir and cook for about 2 minutes to bloom the spices, then add the crushed tomatoes, roma tomato, water, and salt and scrape up any brown bits that remain from cooking the chicken.
- Bring the sauce to a simmer and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- After 30 minutes, the curry should have turned a deep red-brown and thickened considerably.
- Add the onions and cooked chicken pieces to the tomato curry and stir to coat.
- Then add the rice and roughly toss to combine, leaving some bits of rice and spinach untouched by the curry.
Optionally, cover The Dutchess with its lid and place in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to settle and ensure everything is warmed through. Serve with salted yogurt and kachumber or pickled onions.