Kabsa Recipe for Arabian Chicken and Fragrant Rice

kabsa 3 kabsa 1 kabsa 2

Kabsa Recipe

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.

Kabsa Recipe

Author: Recipes ‘R’ Simple
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-5


  • 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.

Kabsa Recipe 

Did you enjoy our Kabsa ? Let us know.

You Might Also Like:

Malabar Mutton Biriyani - Kerala Cuisine

Malabar Mutton Biriyani! With Video


Chicken Majboos

Chicken Fried Rice Recipe: Indian Chinese

Chicken Fried Rice- Indo Chinese









  • 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!:) )

About Shana Shameer

Love Cooking and discovering the very Best recipes out there.

21 thoughts on “Kabsa Recipe for Arabian Chicken and Fragrant Rice

  1. Salaam, I am from India I was thinthinking of make “Kabsa ‘I was reading the recipe. where I live they don’t have Bhar but I found similar can I use Bharat pd? My second question is I have 1 Lb / 1/2 kg Whole Chicken with skin instead of pan frying the Chicken can I bake it in oven? If Yes PLEASE tell me what temperature. (F) and how long should I bake my Chicken?? THANK U

    • Hi Zaynab,
      If you are referring to “Baharat” Spice powder, yes you can interchange this with “Bhar” or “Bahar” Spice blends. I have done this too.
      My “Bhar” spice mix consists of black pepper, coriander seeds, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, cardamom, nutmeg & paprika.
      You can also bake the chicken instead of frying. (prick the skin well in several places with a fork. Place in the oven, skin side down in an oiled dish at (preheated)450 f/230 c Oven for 15- 20 minutes. Turn over the chicken now so that the skin is on top and place back in oven closer to the top grill for 20 more minutes. till the skin is a lovely golden color. ( please check done ness as oven temperatures may vary). Do try and let us know. Kabsa is a delicious rice dish. Make sure to to let the chicken turn dry by overcooking.

  2. What else can I cook with Kabsa like easy side dish

    I made the Kabsa and I roasted the Chicken with the Bahara spice (I know it doesn’t look the real Arabic kabsa let me know what u think?

    Please keep on uploading more Arabic / Morrcan Recipes

  3. Hi, I tried kabsa by following your recipe. It came out well and my husband really loved it. Looking forward for more recipes. Thank you :)

  4. Pingback: Bodybuilding Chicken And Rice Recipes

  5. Hi I’m.Leen from Philippines I’m working in Abu Dhabi as a cook I’m making yesterday the mandi rice its so nice and delicious my employer was satisfied ur recipe im thankful that I find your recipe .thanks a lot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.