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Mutton Kabsa Rice





40 min


20 min



Mutton Kabsa Rice

This Saudi Arabian National Dish is the epitome of traditional comfort food.

The Recipe Intro has step by step pictures and Video on how to make this delicious Mutton Kabsa Rice. Check it out ↓  

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  • 800-900 gms ‏Mutton (Goat) with some bone. ( I like to have smaller sized pieces, although larger pieces are often used)
  • 1 tsp ‏turmeric powder
  • 1 plus 3 1/2 tsp ‏salt ( for mutton + for rice)
  • 1 cup ‏onion, sliced ( yellow or red onion)
  • ½ cup ‏garlic, sliced lengthwise into thin flakes
  • 1 ½ Tbsp ‏ginger, chopped finely
  • 1 cup ‏tomato, chopped ( I liked to use a mixture of fresh tomatoes and canned-peeled tomatoes)
  • 1- 2 Tbsp ‏tomato paste (concentrate)
  • 1 sprig ‏of fresh mint leaves
  • ¼ - ¹⁄3 cup ‏vegetable/ rice bran oil
  • 1 + 4 Tbsp ‏clarified butter (ghee)
  • 4 cups ‏Basmati rice
  • 2 sticks ‏of cinnamon
  • 4 ‏cardamom pods
  • 4-5 ‏cloves (spice)
  • ¼ tsp ‏black peppercorns
  • 2 ‏bay leaves
  • 2 ‏dried black/yellow limes (LOOMI)
  • 6 ¼ cups ‏of water

Kabsa Spice Mix:

  • ½ tsp ‏ ground cinnamon (powder)
  • ½ tsp ‏ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp ‏ground fennel
  • ½ tsp ‏red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ‏red chilli flakes
  • ¼ tsp ‏black pepper powder
  • ¼ tsp ‏ground cloves
  • ¹⁄8 tsp ‏cumin powder
  • 2 tsp ‏coriander powder

You will need powdered spices.


  • As required, ‏Toasted Pine nuts, almonds, Boiled egg, Cucumber slices, Tomato wedges...

Don’t forget to check out the step wise pictures or the video on how to make Mutton Kabsa Rice on the Intro page.

Method for Mutton Kabsa Rice:

  1. Clean and rinse the mutton pieces thoroughly. Drain well.
  2. Add 1 tsp turmeric powder and 1 tsp salt to the mutton pieces. Rub well to marinate the meat well. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  3. I like to precook the mutton till ¾ th done. This ensures that the mutton is cooked tender while the rice is not overcooked when cooked together. 
  4. To pre-cook the mutton: add to a pressure cooker with very little water for cooking the mutton. Cook on low-medium heat, till you hear 2 steam whistles.  There should be little or no gravy left. If you do have gravy left, you can measure it and subtract this amount from the water used later for cooking the rice and mutton together. Set aside the partially cooked mutton. (NOTE: If your pressure cooker does not make whistle sounds, I suggest cooking under pressure for 5 minutes. Check that the meat is partially tender, in any case.)
  5. Heat the oil (¼- ½ cup) in a small pan. Add the sliced garlic flakes and fry till they become golden and crisp. At first, it may seem that this takes a while, but once they turn yellow they will burn very quickly so keep watching. Remove immediately from the oil when they are golden brown. Set aside and reserve the oil (strained).
  6. Now, add the strained oil into a pressure cooker along with 1 Tbsp of clarified butter (ghee).
  7. Once the oil is hot, add the sliced onions and allow to sweat a little.
  8. Add the chopped ginger and saute until fragrant.
  9. Now add the chopped tomatoes ( or a combination of chopped fresh tomato and canned tomato).
  10. Stir in the tomato paste ( concentrate) as well.
  11. Continue cooking whilst stirring till the tomatoes are mashed and reduced to a pulp. All the moisture should be evaporated, and the oil should separate.
  12. Return the fried garlic flakes, reserving some for the final garnish. Stir well, allowing to soften and flavor the sauce.
  13. Now, we can add the Kabsa Spices ( powdered) and stir till nice and aromatic.
  14. Add the fresh mint leaves and stir till wilted.
  15. Also add the dried limes (Loomi) now. I have made a cut in the limes to help release more scent and flavoring.
  16. Tip in the par-cooked mutton (previously cooked till 3/4 done with turmeric and salt).
  17. Toss thoroughly but gently to coat the mutton pieces with the spiced kabsa sauce.
  18. Remove the pressure cooker from the burner and place a non-stick pan in its place.
  19. Add 4 Tbsp of clarified butter (ghee) and heat.
  20. To this add the whole spices ( cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, cardamom and bay leaves).
  21. Add the drained basmati rice and fry gently to coat the grains with the spiced ghee. You want to grains to just be coated and slightly change in color.
  22. Return the pressure cooker to heat. Once the Mutton has been reheated through, add the fried rice on top.
  23. Add 6¼ cups room temperature water and salt ( about 3 ½ tsp). Remeber the Mutton has been cooked with salt already.
  24. Stir from the bottom of the cooker, once or twice only. Do not over mix.
  25. Add the lime juice and close the pressure cooker. Cook on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes under pressure.
  26. Turn off the pressure cooker and allow to cool off on its own for about 5 minutes. After that, release any steam manually by gently lifting the pressure regulator.
  27. Open and check that all water has been absorbed. If not you might require a minute more of cooking under pressure. The rice will look wet initially ( that is ok) It will be perfect upon resting for a while.
  28. Gently, fluff up the rice immediately from the bottom of the pot so that it does not overcook in the residual steam in the pot. Do not over mix.
  29.  When time to serve, move to serving platter. Garnish with toasted nuts ( Almon/ pine nuts), boiled egg, tomato, cucumber etc.. Dont forget the reserved fried garlic flakes.



Mutton Kabsa Rice


  • Mutton ( Goat meat) or Lamb may be used but the best results are by using Indian Prime Mutton, with bone.
  • Tomato paste is concentrated tomato pulp that comes in small tins/cans. Not to be confused with tomato puree or sauce.
  • You may use store bought Kabsa spice mix if you have that.
  • Mutton Kabsa Rice can be cooked in a crock pot, but in Saudi Arabia a pressure cooker is more popularly used.
  • Read more about Saudi Arabian Cuisine.

Key Ingredients: Mutton/Lamb, Rice, Onion, Garlic, Ginger, Tomato, Lime, Dried Lime, Oil, Clarified butter, Spices, Mint.


Let us know if you tried –  Mutton Kabsa Rice. Better yet, send me a picture!

read the recipe introduction 300x81 Mutton Kabsa Rice



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