Al Kabsa - Ancient Arabian Chicken and Fragrant Rice

Total Time
Prep 20 mins
Cook 20 mins

This classic Arabian dish is Saudi Arabian in origin, and is believed to originate from the nomadic Bedouin tribes centuries ago. Arabic cuisine has its roots in tent cookery. Nomadic tribes could use only transportable foods such as rice and dates, or their nomadic stock like sheep and camels in their recipes. As the caravans journeyed throughout the Middle East, new seasonings and vegetables were discovered and added to the existing repertoire. Each new discovery was incorporated into the diet in quantities palatable to a particular tribe - a fact that many cooks believe is responsible for the anomalies found in some Arabic dishes today. You can use lamb (or camel !!) in this dish, but it is more usual to make it with chicken nowadays. I have a recipe posted on Zaar for the Kabsa spice mix needed in this recipe. Classic Arabian Kabsa Spice Mix from the Spice Route

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Slice the onion and garlic, cut the tomatoes in to wedges and chop the fresh coriander.
  2. Heat the oil in a casserole dish and add the onions, garlic - sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, then add chicken and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the rice and sauté for about 3 minutes before adding the tomato, spices, salt and dried limes.
  3. Add water just enough to cover the rice mixture and bring to boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, stir in the sultanas and almonds, then leave for further 10 minutes with the lid on.
  5. Remove the lid, stir well and serve with the following sauce.
  6. Accompanying Sauce.
  7. Skin the tomatoes and mix all the ingredients together, season to taste.
  8. Serve the Kabsa with the tomato sauce and flatbreads.
  9. NB. If making up the Kabsa spice mixture fresh - grind all the spices together in a coffee grinder or a food processor/mixer, or with a pestle and mortar.
Most Helpful

Hey thts really really tasty i assure..but a lil bit less spicy for my hubby..gonna add some more spices to chicken next time .bt a healthy addition to my menu list :)

drkhoulah October 04, 2011

4 3/4 stars. This is quite yummy! I just did this one to taste with all the same ingredients yet I used canned plum tomatoes in the rice part. I used sea salt, an unrefined olive oil, Savory Rice With Shrimp and Eggs since I already had it on hand. Instead of green chillies in the sauce I added a bit of cayenne pepper as I had it around. I served this with Pasta With Yogurt/Mint Sauce's sauce only with chopped up English cucumber added which was a very nice accompaniment. A meal I will make again. Made for ZWT6 NA*ME regions, for my team, The Ya Ya Cookerhood.

UmmBinat June 17, 2010

Made for Photo Tag. I have to thank you for introducing me to this lovely dish,Karen.You have broadened my spice repetoire once again.I made this with chicken and can only think how delicious it would be with Lamb as well.When I use Cardamom...I always think of exotic, perfumed, far away places. Just lovely.

Lorrie in Montreal March 31, 2009