Chicken and rice is a commonly loved combo all around the world. Chicken is more widely available than other meats and can be prepared hundreds of ways, while rice is a staple food in many countries. The diversity of these humble ingredients range in cooking techniques, spices, sauces, accompaniments, and occasions.
We reached out to our fellow Meal Hero team members to ask about a chicken and rice dish that is special to them. These recipes represent where we’re from, where we’ve traveled, nostalgic family recipes, and favorite go-to dinners we make today.
“Our representative version of the chicken + rice combo would definitely be Hyderabadi Biryani. Hyderabad (where both my parents are from) has some of the most famous chicken biryani in India. The dish is heavily influenced by the Mughal-style of cooking, as Hyderabad was under the Mughal rule for about 300 years. Cooking this biryani is quite an undertaking- especially the way my mom makes it (with a side of Raita and Mirchi ka Salan), so it's always a very special treat!”
“The rice dish, in particular, is similar to pilau, a spicy rice dish from the coastal Kenyan region that is well adopted across almost all Kenyan communities. The meal is a popular meal for events and ceremonies (e.g. weddings and birthday parties) since it's easy to make and can serve many people in large gatherings. But of course, it's very tasty so long as the right amount of spices are added. It can be eaten with all kinds of accompaniments such as chicken (fried, stewed, or roasted), kale, spinach, beef, lamb, etc. A number of spices are used in its preparation and mainly include cloves, cardamom, cumin, turmeric, black pepper, and cinnamon.”
“This meal is popular in the coastal region of Kenya. I used to live here some years back, and I loved that I could walk into a local spice market and get that required for this meal unprocessed. The sellers were also kind enough to share tips on how to make my recipe yummier. I learned that eating this with a boiled egg helps balance the spicy flavours in your mouth.”
“I chose this chicken biryani recipe because it’s a popular dish in the coastal region of Kenya (FYI: coastal Kenya has a lot of Indian influence, hence the popularity) and it’s hard to come by someone that can make it as good as it should be unless they are from the coast of course. I also chose it because of the many flavours it has.”
“I chose this recipe because it’s easy to make, looks very tasty, and the ingredients are readily available in my pantry/fridge. There’s not too much that goes into prepping for this meal. I would only add coriander and ginger to the ingredient list. It looks pretty close to what Kenyans make.”
“I chose Hainan chicken because this is a dish I grew up eating. It utilizes what some people refer to as the holy trinity of Cantonese cooking: ginger, garlic, and green onion.”
“I love Hainan Chicken Rice from my trips to Singapore. This is a simple version that can be easily made ahead of time and just assembled at dinner time.”
“Choosing this recipe right here because Jollof Rice is Bae, and much loved all around West Africa. It is a staple food in Nigeria from "every day" to celebration. Even though the world might consider Jollof a side, in Nigeria, it is a main. Nigerian Jollof is imperfect without chicken and some plantain on the side. Then there's the smoky version called Party Jollof served at every occasion - weddings, birthdays, anything really.”
“This is a special recipe that is usually prepared on special days. Its aroma oozes out of the kitchen to fill the house with joy and laughter. The redness of the rice is a view to behold. While the tenderness of the chicken leaves unforgettable taste. The only combo I can eat over and over again without losing interest.”
“Chicken Tikka Masala is a dish that truly represents the UK. It was invented in Britain by a chef from Bangladesh and is our most popular take out curry. It’s a pretty time-consuming dish to make but well worth it and delicious.”
“Pan fried chicken cutlets are a family favorite of mine! It is a quick and easy dish my mom would make after work with some white rice and fresh veggies for a healthy dinner"
“I never felt more cared for then when we had this dish. My mom’s educational background is in nutrition, so she would never dare serve something fried for a home-cooked meal. So instead, we got the healthier alternative which was baked (not fried) and covered in corn flakes (wheat-free). We got the thrill of enjoying one of the country’s favorite foods all while our long term wellbeing was being cared for.”
“I'm nostalgic about clay pot chicken rice, a dish from my birthplace in Hong Kong. It's not something that is easy to make at home, so you need patience, a keen eye for burning rice, and a clay pot! It's hearty, warming, and the variations in texture make it a delight. Yum!”
“Ugandans usually have a large assortment of carbs in the meals so expect steamed matooke (bananas) and rice with that. The preparation process is time-consuming, but the results are worth it. Tastes amazing and does not use any oil.”
“Kung Pao chicken used to be one of my favorite things to order when going out to eat with my family. We never actually cooked it at home because my mom was a vegetarian. It’s definitely a westernized version of Chinese food but I look at it as symbolic as an Asian American. Also, it has an interesting history according to this wiki page”
“This recipe is a standby - it has enough flavor for it to be interesting and not so much that my daughter doesn't love it. I love the brightness of combining lemons and chicken this time of year.”
“When I think of chicken and rice I think of a simple home-cooked dinner that comes together all at once (and getting my absolute fill of it traveling through Central America)!
“We like to make avgolemono because it is hearty and comforting. The rice makes it almost creamy while the lemon makes it taste fresh. I like to grind some black pepper on top to give it a little kick.”
“When I was growing up, times were sometimes pretty tight, and soup was a good way to stretch a relatively few ingredients into many healthy meals for the family. One of my favorites was chicken soup with rice (just like the poem). This certainly isn't the recipe we used - I don't think there even was a recipe, really, back then, just mom's intuition and a hearty foundation. She would use whatever was on hand - white or brown rice, fresh veggies or frozen, usually some kind of chicken leftovers - but it always turned out delicious. Nowadays I make it with wild rice, fresh herbs, and a splash of white wine, but it still takes me back to those warm family dinners on cold winter nights.
“During these times where the world is hectic and I am juggling kids and work food brings me comfort. Cooking is my escape. I miss normal but I really miss my family from Israel. This dish reminds me of home and normality.. “
“Even though I'm vegetarian, the spice combination in Piri Piri chicken is common in other South African dishes as well. When you cook these dishes the kitchen is filled with wonderful smells and reminds you of home.”
“I like the pilau masala spice on the rice and it goes really well with the kachumbari. Your tongue enjoys the spiciness, while the kachumbari cools if it gets too hot.”
“This dish is special to me since my mom would only make it for special occasions growing up. Even to this day, I don’t just make this dish unless there is a special reason to.”
"I'm not sure when it happened exactly, but about a decade after moving from Lebanon to the US, my "comfort food" pivoted from chicken wings, garlic fries, and ice cream back to childhood favorites of baba ghanoush, tabbouleh, and riz a jej. For riz a jej, in particular, the scent of cinnamon and almonds, along with the beef and rice "hashweh," make it a personally iconic, and distinctly Lebanese, chicken & rice dish."
“I learned to love these chicken and rice dishes while living in North Africa and now my stomach just doesn’t feel at home with chicken that doesn’t come dusted in powdered sugar or rice that’s all one color.”
“Garlic eggplant is the equivalent of my chicken and rice. I know, the logical vegetarian alternative is tofu and rice or something, but that's not how I roll. Garlic eggplant is the gauge I have for how good a restaurant is if they have it on the menu. I was taught a similar recipe by a friend in Taiwan while I lived there, and it's one of the dishes that reminds me of what I loved about the food there. The only thing I would change on this version of the recipe is adding Thai basil if you can get it."
“Here’s a very classic Taiwanese chicken & rice dish: 3 Cups Chicken. It consists of a cup of soy sauce, a cup of sesame oil, and a cup of rice wine. It is finished with a handful of basil.”
“This is a real go-to in Mexico.”
“Colorado cuisine is very much centered around the Hatch green chiles of our New Mexico neighbors. Summer in Denver smells like roasted chiles tumbling in barrels over a flame on street corners and markets. The smoky chiles are traditionally cooked all day with pork, tomatillos, and spices. Colorado-style green chile incorporates roux, tomatoes, and beer giving it a gravy-like consistency, different from New Mexico’s chunky salsa-like version. The saucy stew is served with rice or warm tortillas or smothered over everything from greasy diner breakfasts to Mexican dishes. Every family’s version is different, and mine opted for a hearty chicken adaptation sometimes using shortcuts like canned chiles and loaded with rice to keep us full.“
“My wife was born in the Philippines and recently made this chicken Arroz Caldo. She also calls it 'Lugaw'. I've had congee and this is a type of congee, but I think with more ingredients than a standard congee.”