Classic Arabian Kabsa Spice Mix from the Spice Route

Total Time
Prep 2 mins
Cook 0 mins

This is just one variation of the classic Arabian spice mix which is used in the ancient Saudi Arabian dish called Al Kabsa or Al Kabsah; a chicken and rice dish which is fragrant and lightly spiced - and is thought to originate from the nomadic Bedouin tribes. 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.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Grind all the whole spices and saffron threads together, then add the promegranate powder, mix well. (If using the dried limes, add them to the intial grinding procedure.).
  2. Decant into an airtight tin or container and store in a dark, cool and dry place.
Most Helpful

I mixed this in with some steamed rice and we enjoyed it for breakfast along with scrambled eggs and warmed pita bread. The spices are very strong, so a little goes a long way. The flavor of the middle east comes thru wonderfully and it's very aromatic. We did not use pomegranate powder as I have no clue where we could find it, but did grate a little lime peel in the mix. We did need to add some salt and butter, but overall, a great spice mix. :)

2Bleu December 05, 2008

This tasted too fennely and it is a strong spice mix but I think that is to be expected for kabsa. Personally I would use no fennel next time. I used mostly whole spices including Spanish saffron, I recommend Iranian as it has better flavour and colour, loomi which I made like Loomi Powder (Noomi Basara, Dried Lime, Black Lemon, Loomi Aswad which removes the bitter seeds. I think you could always use whole poked with a skewer a few times. Powdered loomi is sometimes available in Middle Eastern stores but I prefer making my own fresh. Sadly I was unable to obtain pomegranate powder this time. I would like to try this again without the fennel and with pomegranate powder if I can locate some. Made for Vegetarian/Vegan Recipe Tag Game - September 2010 in KK's forum.

UmmBinat September 24, 2010

I use this mix all the time. I love the flavor. It is very useful for flavoring all kinds of dishes. Thank you for sharing!

ellewoods808 April 18, 2010