Kabsa comes from Saudi Arabia, where it is widely recognized as the national dish.
It has also migrated to many of the other gulf states in the Arabian peninsula.
Other than a few variations, it remains much the same in terms of its characteristics.
Kabsa literally translated from the Arabic means pressed which is derived from the way it is cooked.
The ingredients are piled one on top of the other and cooked in one pot.
Similarly to many dishes in the Middle East this is a dish that is primarily made of rice and meat.
Unlike the dishes in the Levant this traditional Saudi dish uses long grain rice (usually basmati).
Most Arabic cooking utilizes medium or short grain rice.
The most interesting and exotic ingredient in kabsa in my opinion is black lime.
This is a preserved lime that has been boiled and dried.
Dried limes have a super limey sour flavor.
They go especially well with fish, and are also widely used to spice other dishes too in that part of the world.
How to Make Kabsa
The chicken is partially baked to ensure it is cooked through when it is cooked with the rice.
The tomatoes, and tomato paste are made into a tomato sauce.
Add the baked chicken pieces, with the vegetables.
Basmati rice will need to be rinsed before being cooked to get rid of any extra starch that can make the rice clump up when cooked.
The rice, kabsa spices, salt are added.
Chicken broth is then added to the large pot of ingredients.
Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium low heat and allow to simmer until rice is cooked.
Spoon onto a serving dish, removing the chicken and placing on top. Sprinkle with roasted almonds, or pine nuts, and serve.
Where to Buy Kabsa Spices
My favorite place to buy spices has to be RawSpiceBar.
Their spices are vibrant and pack a flavorful punch.
Here are the spices you’ll need for this recipe:
Chicken Kabsa Recipe
- 6 Chicken Thighs/Legs
- 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 2 Cloves whole
- ⅛ tsp Nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp Cumin
- ⅛ tsp Coriander
- ½ tsp Saffron
- ¼ tsp Cardamom
- ½ tsp Cinnamon
- ½ tsp Allspice
- ¼ tsp White Pepper
- ½ tsp Dried Lime Powder
- 2½ tsp Salt
- ¼ cup Butter
- 1 Onion diced
- 6 Garlic Cloves minced
- ¼ cup Tomato Paste
- 1 can Diced Tomatoes
- 2½ cups Basmati Rice
- 5 cups Chicken Broth
- ¼ cup Raisins
- ¼ cup Slivered Almonds
- Pinch Black Pepper
- Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
- Place chicken pieces in a bowl, using your hands rub chicken with vegetable oil until well covered. Place on a try and bake for 30 minutes.
- Mix all spices and salt in a small bowl.
- Rinse the rice in a sieve with running water until water runs clear.
- Meanwhile melt butter in a pan, saute onions, and garlic until translucent and soft. Add diced tomatoes, and tomato paste. Create sauce.
- Add the chicken and stir until well coated with the tomato sauce.
- Add rice and spices. Mix well.
- Add chicken broth, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover loosely, leaving a gap for steam to escape.
- Cook for roughly 20 minutes until you have cooked the rice.
- Toast slivered almonds in a pan over medium high heat until browned.
- Spoon rice onto a serving dish placing the chicken pieces on top. Sprinkle with browned almonds, raisins, and a pinch of black pepper.
- Add more salt and pepper to taste.