• Prep Time 30 minutes
  • Cook Time 60 minutes
  • Serving For 4-6 people
  • Difficulty Normal

Recipe Description

If Mandi is for Yemen then Kabsa is for Saudi Arabia. Kabsa is a Saudi dish of chicken or lamb and rice. It is considered as Saudi Arabia’s national dish loved by all Saudis and least to say to all who have had a chance to taste Kabsa. It’s not particularly difficult to make, but it has layers of flavour and garnishing it with Raisins & Almonds give a whole lot of texture too. It is usually a heavily spiced dish(not as heavily spiced in terms of Indian dishes) and has a nice kick to it.      Traditionally, it’s made by cooking the chicken with spices in water and then using the broth to cook the rice. The chicken is then quickly broiled or baked to crisp it up a little and then served atop the spicy rice often with a salsa-like sauce on the side called Daqous.

Recipe Ingredient

  • For Chicken Kabsa:
  • 1/2 Cup Oil
  • 3 Cups Onions
  • 1 Teaspoon Grated Ginger
  • 4 Pieces Chicken Thighs
  • Salt To Taste
  • 1 Tablespoon Orange Zest
  • 1 nos Dried Lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 3 Cups Tomato
  • 6 Cups Water
  • 3 Cups Basmati Rice
  • For Kabsa Spice Mix:
  • 1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
  • 6 Pods Cardamom
  • 2 Sticks Cinnamon (1" Stick)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Clove Powder
  • Kabsa Garnish:
  • 3 Tablespoons Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Almonds
  • 1/2 Cup Raisins
  • For the Smoky Flavour(optional):
  • 1 Big Piece Charcoal Briquette
  • 1 Ramekin
  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil


  1. Blanch the Almonds and cut them into halves or thin slices. Heat oil in a pan and fry the sliced Almonds on a low flame until it turns golden yellow. Remove and keep it aside. Similarly, fry the Raisins on a very low flame until it fluffs up, remove and set it aside.
  2. Wash the Rice 2-3 times or until water runs clear. Soak the Rice for about 15-20 minutes
  3. Briefly dry roast the Spices mentioned under Kabsa Spices on a very low flame and grind it into a fine powder and keep it aside
  4. For Chicken Kabsa
  5. Heat a deep pan or a pot, big enough to cook the rice. Add Oil, add finely chopped Onions, grated Ginger & sauté it until Onions browns slightly. Then, add Chicken Thighs, and sear it until the colour changes. Sprinkle a dash of salt and give a quick stir.
  6. Then, add Orange Zest, Dried Lemon and Kabsa Spice Mix to the above and give a quick stir. Add Tomato Paste, finely chopped Tomatoes and mix well. Cook on a medium-low flame for a few minutes or until tomatoes turn soft and cooked.
  7. When oil starts to separate from the mix, pour in 6 cups of water. Cover and cook the Chicken on a medium-low flame for about 20-25 minutes. Once the chicken pieces are cooked, remove them and place the Chicken Pieces on a baking pan. Now add the soaked Basmati Rice to the gravy and mix well. Adjust the Salt. Can add thin strips of Carrots at this stage.
  8. Place a clean kitchen cloth on top of the pan. Cover the pan tightly with a lid and cook on a medium-low flame for about 20 minutes. Once cooked leave it aside undisturbed for about 10 minutes. Then open the lid and gently fluff up the cooked rice.
  9. Meanwhile, bake the Chicken Pieces in an Electric Oven. Place the baking pan in a preheated oven at 210 °C or 425 °F and cook for about 10-15 minutes. When the outside of the chicken starts to brown, lower the heat to 160 °C or 325 °F and cook for another 10 -15 Minutes. Remove the chicken and keep it aside.
  10. Finally, just before serving, fluff up the Kabsa Rice and spread it on a big serving plate. Place the chicken pieces and fried nuts and raisins over it. Serve Chicken Kabsa hot with Daquos, Curd Raitha or with any other preferred Salad
  11. (Optional) For Smoky Flavour
  12. Place a small ramekin in the middle with some vegetable oil inside. Add the red-hot coal inside the oil and cover the pot with a lid. Leave the smoky charcoal inside the Kabsa pot for a while. It will give the Chicken Kabsa a smoky flavour
  13. (Optional) Notes
  14. Can use any variety of long-grained rice or Basmati rice.
  15. Cooking at low temperature will give the chicken a nice texture, and it will fall off the bone easily. Adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  16. Can use lamb instead of chicken, but the cooking time will vary
  17. Can also cook the chicken in a microwave oven with grill settings
  18. Adjust the amount of water according to the type of rice you are using.
  19. Inducing the smoky flavour to the Chicken Kabsa is optional, but it gives an authentic flavour to the dish

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