Kabsa (Saudi Rice & Chicken)

Karen Petree


I had the privilege of experiencing this dish in 1979 when my Saudi neighbors invited me over for dinner. They had a spread of their native foods on newspapers on their living room floor and ate the rice with their fingers. Not knowing the proper spelling of the dish made it nearly impossible to find a recipe on the internet all these years later. I have fixed this using many variations and have yet to experience any level disappointment.


☆☆☆☆☆ 0 votes

30 Min
1 Hr 15 Min
Stove Top


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1/4 c
3 lb
chicken (thighs)
1 large
onion, finely chopped
6 clove
garlic, minced
1/4 c
tomato puree
14 oz
canned chopped tomatoes, un-drained (or fresh)
carrots, grated
whole cloves
1 pinch
grated nutmeg
1 pinch
ground cumin
1 pinch
ground coriander
salt & freshly ground black pepper
4 c
hot water
maggi (chicken bouillon) cube
2 1/4 c
basmati rice (don't rinse or soak this)
1/4 c
raisins (optional)
1/4 c
slivered almonds, toasted


1/2 tsp
1/4 tsp
ground green cardamoms
1/2 tsp
ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp
ground allspice
1/4 tsp
white pepper
1/2 tsp
ground dried limes (optional)
(or 1 1/2 teaspoon baharat and 1 1/2 teaspoon kabsa spice mix)

How to Make Kabsa (Saudi Rice & Chicken)


  • 1Melt butter in a large stock pot, casserole or dutch oven. Add chicken pieces, onion & garlic & sauté until onion is tender. Stir in tomato puree & simmer over a low heat for a couple of minutes.
  • 2Add tomatoes, carrots, cloves, all the spices & salt and pepper. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add the water & Maggi cube.
  • 3Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Add rice to the pot & stir carefully. (if you're wanting to brown the chicken in the oven - remove it from the pot now & place in the preheated oven).
  • 4Re-Cover & simmer for 35 - 40 minutes - adding the raisins for the last 10 minutes - or until rice is tender.
  • 5Place the rice on a large serving dish, topped with the chicken & garnished with almonds. Serve with a fresh mixed salad - preferably with a little lime vinaigrette. Saudis like their Kabsa with a hot sauce called 'Shattah'.
  • 6(You can also 'finish' the chicken pieces off in the oven by cooking them for 25 - 30 minutes at 350 degrees whilst the rice is cooking. (but don't let them become dry)

Printable Recipe Card

About Kabsa (Saudi Rice & Chicken)

Course/Dish: Chicken
Main Ingredient: Rice/Grains
Regional Style: Middle Eastern

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