Poached chicken and rice with ginger, pinenuts and barberries

Poached chicken and rice.
Poached chicken and rice. Photo: Kristoffer Paulsen

This is one of my family's favourite dishes. It's so fresh and healthy with big flavours and with heaps going on. This dish is all about timing and cleaning as you go, otherwise you'll be stuck with a pile of dishes at the end and that's never any fun. If you don't like the sourness of barberries you can leave take them out of the recipe but I just think they work it works really well with the spice and the texture of the poached and minced chicken.


1 whole free-range chicken

1 cinnamon quill

2 star anise

450g basmati rice, washed

250ml good fruity olive oil

2 onions diced

150g minced chicken

2 tbsp red Turkish dried pepper

1 tbsp cinnamon powder

½ cup toasted pinenuts

2 tbsp sea salt

½ cup barberries, rehydrated in water

50g fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

½ bunch spring onions, sliced thinly

½ bunch coriander, pick leaves and retain the roots

½ cup natural yoghurt


1. Wash the chicken to remove any excess blood from the carcass. Place in a pot big enough to fully submerge the chicken, cover it with cold water and bring it to the boil.

2. When it comes to the boil, skim off any scum that has formed on the surface, at the top of the pot, add the whole spices, sea salt and the coriander roots and continue to simmer gently for about 40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

3. Once cooked, remove the chicken from the poaching liquid and set aside to cool to a manageable temperature. Retain the poaching liquid but remove and discard the spices and coriander roots.

4. Reduce the poaching liquid by half then add the washed rice. Simmer until rice is cooked through.

5. In a separate pan, saute the onions in a little of the olive oil until they start to become translucent. Add the chicken mince and start to brown it off.

6. Once the chicken mince is three-quarters cooked add the Turkish pepper, cinnamon and pinenuts and season with salt.

7.  By this stage the rice should be cooked. Add the chicken mince mixture to the cooked rice and fold it though. Check for seasoning, then fold through the barberries.

8. The chicken should now be cool enough to handle. Using your hands, remove all the skin and bones and then shred all of the chicken meat.

9. Place shredded chicken in a bowl, and while the chicken is still warm, add the thinly sliced ginger, spring onions, coriander, olive oil and yoghurt. Season with salt and it's done.

10. To serve, place the rice mixture on the bottom of a serving platter, pile the poached chicken mixture on top, serve this iceberg salad on the side, and let the family dig in.