Ottolenghi’s’ roast chicken and three-rice salad is my latest obsession, and it comes from his first cookbook ‘Ottolenghi The Cookbook’. The fact that there is no picture of the dish in the book might be the reason I overlooked this recipe. Or, it’s just one of those that needed to develop a reputation on its own. Either way, I’m thrilled to have finally discovered this life-changing recipe at the Belmond Mount Nelson recently. It’s utterly delicious and I plan to eat it as often as I can and whenever I have half a leftover roast chicken.

Ottolenghi’s roast chicken & 3 rice salad recipeOttolenghi roasts a whole chicken for this recipe and that is what I will do when I need to make a large salad to feed a crowd. I have halved the recipe here as I find this volume suits my small household better. It also makes enough to feed 4 people vs 8. I have included the recipe for a full salad though so you can decide and halve it yourself.

I find this roast chicken and three-rice salad a robust full meal salad vs a side although you could serve it alongside other salads and dishes if you are doing a big spread. Chicken and rice dishes from all over the world are heavenly to me and I love this combination. I can never get tired of it. I’m planning to research and try as many different chicken and rice dishes from as many cultures as I can. 

For my half salad version, I halved everything from the original recipe except the onion and spring onion and the dressing.

Ottolenghi’s roast chicken & 3 rice salad recipe

Why I halved this salad:

Feeding 8 people is not something I do very often, and this salad is the perfect meal to have on a weeknight or lunch rotation. If you are feeding 4 people you could make a full recipe and then have enough for lunch the next day.

I frequently have half a left-over Woolies rotisserie chicken and am always looking for creative ways to use it other than in a sandwich. This is the perfect recipe for it.

A Note about rice:

To halve this recipe, you will need to cook very small quantities of 3 types of rice which just isn’t practical. I also have a foolproof method to make perfectly fluffy and dry basmati rice that uses 1 ¼ cups of rice – the quantity you need for a full chicken salad recipe. So, I always make a bigger quantity of rice and then use half for the salad and the other half I use somewhere else or freeze. 

How to make perfect basmati rice:

This absorption method is my go-to method for making basmati rice. It’s always fluffy and perfect every time. I find that the result can vary from rice brand to rice brand, and I love the LA Jawab brand from Pakistan (as seen in my pics) which I buy at Atlas trading in Cape Town.

Serves 4

1 1/4 cup basmati rice which you soak in water for 15 – 30 minutes. Then rinse until the water runs clear.

Bring 500ml water 1 tsp salt to a boil with the lid on. As soon as it starts boiling, added the drained and rinsed rice. Put the lid back on and set a timer for 5 minutes. Do not open the lid. Boil over medium heat for 5 minutes then turn off the heat. Do not open the lid.

Allow the rice to absorb for 25 minutes then open the lid, add butter (as much as you dare), and fluff up with a fork. If you are not eating the rice right away, drape a clean tea towel over the pot, put the lid over that, and allow it to cool in the pot. 

*If for some reason there is still some water in the pot that hasn’t been absorbed, then fluff up over low heat to allow this to steam off. 

What rice is used in this salad:

Ottolenghi uses a combination of basmati rice (50%) and wild and brown rice (25% each). I have made it with just basmati rice before but I prefer the nuttiness and texture that wild and brown adds to the dish. 

Ottolenghi’s roast chicken & 3 rice salad recipe

A note on the dressing:

The first time I made this salad I used half the dressing ingredients from the original recipe and found that worked well, but on this second test I found I needed the full amount of dressing for half the recipe. I think you can decide how much you like and taste as you go. Try with a quarter of these ingredients first and then scale up if you need. I kept the ratios the same as per the original I just upped the total volume (more or less doubled). He uses the pan juices from the roast chicken which would have added a lot of liquid and flavour, so I found I needed more dressing.

*In the end, I found it needed a dash more salt and I was looking for some sweetness, so I added a tablespoon of honey and a teaspoon of soy sauce. I loved this addition but it’s totally optional and not included in the original recipe.

Ottolenghi’s roast chicken & 3 rice salad recipe


Ottolenghi’s roast chicken & 3 rice salad

Ottolenghi’s roast chicken and 3 rice salad (adapted slightly) – see my notes.

  • Author: Sam Linsell
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8
  • Category: salad / chicken


1 organic free-range chicken – approx 1.5kg (or use store-bought rotisserie chicken)

70ml olive oil (skip this if no roasting your own chicken)

200gms basmati rice

50gms brown rice

50gms wild rice

2 brown onions, finely chopped

12 spring onions

24 mild red or green chilies thinly sliced (optional)

50gms coriander (leaves and stalks) finely chopped

20gms mint leaves, chopped

A handful of wild rocket/arugula

Salt & pepper

Dressing: (modified up as I used rotisserie chicken plus double Ottolenghi’s recipe)

6 – 8Tbs (approx 120ml) lemon juice (approx 2 lemons)

6Tbsp sesame oil

68 Tbsp Thai fish sauce

810 Tbsp olive oil (use more if you are not using the pan juices from the roast chicken)

2 tsp soy sauce

2 Tbsp honey


Cook the 3 types of rice as per your favourite method (see my foolproof basmati method below), drain, or cool and keep aside.

Shred or cut the cooled chicken into bite-size pieces. I remove the skin to keep it leaner but you can decide.

Chop the onions finely and fry in a non-stick pan with a good glug of olive oil until translucent. This will take about 5 minutes. Cool and set aside.

Slice the spring onions finely on the bias and chop the coriander and mint fairly finely (use the stalks of the coriander here). Slice the chili if you are using it.

Whisk the ingredients for the dressing together in a small bowl.

Toss the rice (or your halved quantity) in a bowl with the cooked shredded chicken, spring onions, cooked and cooled onions, chopped herbs, and chili. Add the dressing and the rocket leaves and toss to combine. You could reserve a few of the rocket leaves as garnish. Taste and adjust seasoning.

As mentioned I used the full dressing ingredients from the original recipe for half the rice and chicken. So half of this recipe = the full dressing of the original recipe.

Keywords: Ottolenghi, roast chicken, three rice, salad, ottolenghi cookbook, the best chicken and rice salad

More from Ottolenghi:

Yotam Ottolenghi’s cauliflower cake

Ottolenghi’s famous hummus recipe

Ottolenghi’s mushroom steaks with butterbean mash

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