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Shared by Janette Shina

T'bit (Whole Chicken Stuffed With Rice and Spices)

Yield: 8 - 10 servingsTime: Overnight

T'bit (Whole Chicken Stuffed With Rice and Spices)

Yield: 8 - 10 servingsTime: Overnight

Family Journey

Baghdad, Iraq
Givatayim, Israel

This recipe was shared by Janette Shina. Read more about her family in "The Iraqi Shabbat Recipe That Disappeared For Years — And Finally Returned." 

If there are any leftovers, warm them up in a pot on the stovetop to get a new layer of crispy burned rice.


  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 3 cups basmati rice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 whole chicken (4-5 lbs.), breasts removed and reserved*
  • 10 eggs, pre-boiled (optional) 
  • 3-5 toothpicks

For the filling:

  • 2 breasts of chicken (from the whole chicken), cut into ½” cubes
  • ⅔ pound ground beef with 80/20 fat content
  • 2 teaspoons Baharat
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the sauce:

  • 1 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes, divided
  • 5 ¼ cups water, divided
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

For the rice:

  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon Baharat
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Cooking ProjectsMain CoursesShabbatMeat Gluten FreeMiddle East


  • Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 350°.

  • Step 2

    In a large (9 qt.) heavy bottomed, oven-safe pot with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, turmeric, salt and paprika. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.

  • Step 3

    Meanwhile, place the rice and salt in a large mixing bowl and cover with 1 inch of warm water. Let soak for 20 minutes, then strain and discard the soaking water.

  • Step 4

    Make the filling: In a medium bowl combine the chicken breast, ground beef, baharat, salt, ⅓ of the can of crushed tomatoes, ½ of the sauteed onions, and ¼ of the soaked rice. Mix (best done with your hands), until the mixture is evenly combined.

  • Step 5

    Make the sauce: To the remaining sauteed onions in the pot, add the rest of the crushed tomatoes, 2 ½ cups of water, salt and pepper, and bring to a gentle boil.

  • Step 6

    Fill the chicken: Take the filling and stuff it under the skin of the chicken, filling the gaps where the chicken breasts were, then stuffing the chicken cavity itself, almost to the rim. There may be some filling leftover, depending on the size of your chicken.

  • Step 7

    Using toothpicks, “sew” the chicken skin together to seal in the filling. While Janette’s mom used to sew the chicken skin with string, to keep the filling in, Janette uses toothpicks to do the same thing (remember to take them out before serving or warn the guests).

  • Step 8

    Once the sauce has come to a boil, gently place the stuffed chicken into the pot and cover. Simmer over medium heat while you prepare the rice.

  • Step 9

    Add any leftover filling to the remaining rice, along with the tomato paste, oil, baharat, cinnamon and salt. Mix well.

  • Step 10

    Add the rice mixture to the pot, nestling it all around and on top of the chicken. Add the remaining 2 ¾ cups of water and return to a boil. Using a wooden spoon, lift the chicken a bit on all sides allowing the water and rice to more evenly surround the chicken. Cover and place in the oven.

  • Step 11

    For short cooking time: Bake for 2 hours at 350°. After 1 ½ hours, check the liquid level and if still very wet, bake for the remaining 30 minutes uncovered. For overnight T’bit: Add the eggs to the pot before placing in the oven. Bake at 212° for ~12 hours or until all the liquid has evaporated. 

  • Step 12

    For the crispy burned rice, after baking is complete (whichever method you choose), place the pot back on the stove top over high heat. Cook for 15-30 minutes until the bottom layer of rice is browned and crisp. Serve immediately.