Kabsa Recipe for Arabian Chicken and Fragrant Rice
A staple across the homes of Arabia. Each home making it their own. Learn how to make Kabsa at home. Kabsa and Majboos are similar rice dishes popular in the gulf countries especially Saudi Arabia. Kabsa is made differently in each household, some incorporating vegetables such as carrot. It may be made with lamb, beef or even fish. Often it is served with a home made tomato sauce ‘Dakkous’ and garnished with pine nuts or almonds.
Here is our version.
- ¹⁄3 cup Oil or Butter
- 1 ½ kg chicken, with skin (preferred) – cut into large pieces (Keeping the skin on provides for a much more succulent and moist chicken – you may discard before eating)
- 1 Tbsp Coriander Powder
- 1 tsp chilly powder
- 1 tsp black pepper powder
- 1 (2 medium) cup diced onion, red or yellow
- ½ cup diced garlic
- 1 ” piece ginger, minced – optional
- 1 cup (2 Nos) Tomatoes, diced
- 1 – 2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
- 2 tsp Bahar/ Baharat Spices OR (½ tsp ground cinnamon,½ tsp ground cardamom,½ tsp red chilly flakes/powder ¹⁄4 tsp ground cloves & ¹⁄8 tsp cumin)
- Optional: You may also add whole spices along with the whole spices if you dont mind removing them from your rice (1 stick cinnamon, 5 cloves, 3 cardamom, 5 black pepper corns)
- 1 dried/black lime (Use grated lime zest if you cant find dried lime – Only the outer yellow skin. None of the white layer as this tends to be bitter)
- 4 cups basmati rice
- 6 ¼ cups chicken stock or water
- about 4 tsp salt (less if using chicken stock)
- ! For Garnish: Toasted nuts – almonds, pine nuts or pistachios.
- Boiled, sliced eggs.
- Fresh coriander, fried raisins, fresh lime etc.
- Marinate the rinsed and drained chicken with coriander powder, chilly powder and black pepper powder (optionally you can add 2 Tbsp Ginger Garlic paste to this)
- Chop the onion, garlic and tomatoes.
- Heat the oil/butter in a medium pan and saute the onion and garlic till softened.
- Add ginger if using.
- Saute, adding some salt to draw out moisture.
- In another pan, heat some butter and fry the marinated chicken ,just till crust is a pale golden color on both sides.
- When the onions are nicely sautéed and golden, add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste and cook till moisture evaporates.
- Add the Bahar/ Baharat spices or equivalent, reserving some of the chilly flakes/powder for later.
- Add the dried lime. Stir well.
- Transfer the onion mixture to a larger pot, (rice cooker pot is good)
- Add the golden chicken to this post as well (keeping the butter/oil in the pan used for frying the chicken for later) and cook just for a minute, stirring gently till coated all over.
- When the oil separates, add salt and stock or water.
- Bring to boil. Cover and cook for 10 minutes for chicken without skin / 20 minutes for chicken with skin.
- Remove the chicken pieces and two large ladles of the stock to the pan previously used for sautéing the onions.
- Heat till the gravy evaporated forming a thick sauce around the chicken.(only 1 minute max on high heat) You may like to add more tomato paste at this point if you like the flavor.
- Broil in preheated oven for 10 minutes at around 180º C. Baste with a tiny bit of butter. The skin should get a golden , crisped crust. (not applicable for skinless chicken)
- Fry the drained rice in the same butter left from frying the chicken initially.
- Add to the pot of simmering gravy and cover and cook till done. (water runs dry)
- Fluff up the rice with a fork , adding a little butter if desired.
- Squeeze a little lemon juice on the chicken pieces.
- Top with the broiled chicken, Boiled eggs, coriander leaves and toasted nuts and raisins as desired.
Did you enjoy our Kabsa ? Let us know.
You Might Also Like:
- We often make Kabsa with and without the skin on the chicken. Leaving the skin ON if recomended for a truly moist chicken. When you do use skinless chicken, be very careful not to over cook.
- Dried lime is available in the arabian/middle-eastern section of your Supermarket.
- You can also dry your own limes if you are able to and have a nice yard or roof top that facilitates this.
- Another Rice dish similar to Kabsa is ‘Mandi’ (See Mandi Recipe), which is a Yemeni style of making Kabsa. In this the meat is cooked in a tandoor style oven which is made by digging a hole in the ground and covering with clay lid. The flavor can be slightly imitated by by char grilling(BBQ) your meat. (If you don’t have a ‘dug out hole oven’ in your back yard, that is!:) )