Chicken Kabsa – Saudi Arabian Kabsa


Kabsa is the national dish of Saudi Arabia, it’s a rice based dish made by combining rice and meat (chicken, lamb, camel, beef etc)…

While browsing through my Picasa album, I came across the pictures for Chicken Kabsa. I’d made this last year for Eid. For Eid, biryani is the most unavoidable dish in my family. However, for last year’s Eid I wanted to try the Saudi Arabian delicacy, Kabsa. I’d tasted Kabsa a few times at International food festivals and it reminded me of biryani. Unlike Biryani, in Kabsa not much spices are used, hence it tastes very mild. Both are similar in the sense that meat and rice are combined together.

From my understanding, meat for making Kabsa can be made in several ways. There are different techniques for cooking the meat. I did an online search for Kabsa recipes and found one that sounded good to me. This recipe was from an authentic Saudi Arabian and according to her this is how they make kabsa. I followed the recipe and I loved it. The spices used are very mild so it’s not spicy. I loved the way how the rice is cooked in chicken stock which made the rice very flavorful. Also, after cooking the chicken, it was taken out of the stock and was broiled which enhanced the taste of the chicken.

Recipe Courtesy, here.

chicken kabsa

Preparation Pictures

Cooking chicken

cooking chicken kabsa

After adding water


Broiled chicken

broiled chicken

Added rice and carrot to the stock

making kabsa

Cooking rice

making chicken kabsa

Chicken Kabsa - Saudi Arabian Kabsa
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Saudi Arabian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 People
  • Oil- ⅓ cup
  • Onion, chopped- 2 cups
  • Grated ginger- ½ tsp
  • Chicken, bone-in pieces- 15 pieces (use large pieces)
  • Orange zest- ½ tbsp
  • Ground pepper- ½ tbsp
  • Ground cardamom- ½ tbsp
  • Ground cinnamon- ½ tsp
  • Ground cloves- ¼ tsp
  • Tomato paste- 1 tbsp
  • Tomato, chopped- 2 cups
  • Long grain rice or Kabsa rice- 1½ cups, soaked in water for 45 minutes
  • Shredded carrot- 1 cup
  • Salt- to taste
For topping Kabsa
  • Almonds, halved- ⅓ cup
  • Raisins- ⅓ cup
  1. Place a large wide non-stick cooking pan over medium heat, add oil.
  2. Add onions and grated ginger, cook till onions turn brown.
  3. Add chicken pieces and saute for a few minutes.
  4. To the chicken add: orange zest, ground pepper, ground cardamom, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, tomato paste, chopped tomatoes and salt.
  5. Combine well and cook for a few minutes till the oil rises on top.
  6. Now, add 3½ cups water and cook the chicken covered for 20 minutes.
  7. After the chicken has cooked, remove the chicken from the pan and place it to a baking pan and broil at high for 5 minutes or till the chicken turns brown. Be careful not to burn the chicken while broiling.
  8. Taste and add more salt to the chicken stock.
  9. To the remaining stock in the pan, add the soaked rice and shredded carrot.
  10. Cover the pan tightly with its lid and cook till the rice has cooked well, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  11. If the liquid dries out and you need to cook the rice more, add more water accordingly and cook the rice.
  12. While the rice is cooking, heat a frying pan over medium heat, add 2 tbsp oil and add almonds to it, fry till it turns light golden brown, Keep aside in a paper towel.
  13. In the same oil, add the raisins and fry till it's puffed up, keep aside in a paper towel.
  14. While serving: On a large platter, serve the rice first, top the rice with chicken and then sprinkle with fried almonds and raisins.
This is a very mild dish, there is no spice to it but tastes flavorful.
I used long grain Kabsa rice, when cooked it still has that nice crunch.
You could use any kind of meat: lamb, goat, camel, beef etc.
I reduced the amount of carrot as I didn't want this dish to be sweet.


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