Saudi Arabia : Kabsa

Kabasa / Karen E. Photography

Jackie Cameron
Kabsa is a family of mixed rice dishes that are served mostly in Jordan, and in Saudi Arabia where it is commonly regarded as a national dish. As a rule the meals are made from a mixture of spices, rice (usually long-grain, mostly basmati), meat and vegetables. There are many variations of Kabsa and each has its own unique quality. My Saudi pupils commented on how their respective families had their own particular take on this dish. They also boasted how their respective mothers were the best at making Kabsa. This created a warm debate!
— Jackie Cameron

Yields: 6-8 portions


Kabsa Spice Mix

  • 2.5ml Saffron
  • 1.25ml Ground Cardamon
  • 2.5ml Ground Cinnamon
  • 2.5ml Ground All Spice
  • 1.25ml Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Lemons – Zest

 Mix all the ingredients together and set aside:

  • 60gr Salted Butter
  • 30ml Sunflower Oil
  • 1 (200gr) Onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves (30gr) Fresh Garlic, crushed
  • 1 whole (1kg) Chicken, portioned into 8 pieces
  • 62.5ml Tomato Puree
  • 1 can Tomato pieces in juice
  • 3 (320gr) Carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 whole Cloves
  • 1 pinch Nutmeg
  • 1 pinch Ground Coriander
  • 1 pinch Ground Cumin
  • Fine ORYZ Salt
  • Freshly Grounded Black Pepper
  • 800ml Chicken Stock (refer to Jarish recipe for recipe)
  • 550ml Basmati Rice, unrinsed
  • 62.5ml Seedless Raisins
  • 62.5ml Whole Almonds, skin removed, roasted and roughly chopped


  1. In a large pot melt the butter and heat the sunflower oil over a medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and garlic, cook and stir until the onions are soft and translucent, for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken pieces and brown them over a medium to high heat, for about 10 minutes.
  4. Mix in the tomato puree.
  5. Stir in the tin of canned tomatoes, with their juice, carrots, cloves, nutmeg, coriander, cumin, salt, pepper and the kabsa spice mix. Cook for about 3 minutes, then add the stock, stir well.
  6. Bring this to the boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer and cover the pot with the lid. Allow to cook for about 30minutes or until the chicken is almost cooked.
  7. Gently stir in the rice. Put the lid on and allow to simmer until the rice is soft and almost dry, about 25 minutes.
  8. Add the raisins and a bit more hot water if necessary.
  9. When serving, place the rice on a large serving platter and arrange the chicken pieces on top. Sprinkle the almonds over the dish.