Kabsa (Arabic: كبسة kabsah) is a family of rice dishes that are served mostly in Saudi Arabia — where it is commonly regarded as a national dish — and the other Arab states of the Gulf. Kabsa, though, is believed to be indigenous to Yemen. In places like Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrainand Kuwait the dish is popularly known as machbūs (Arabic: مكبوس), but is served mostly in the same way.
These dishes are mainly made from a mixture of spices, rice (usually long-grain basmati), meat and vegetables. There are many kinds of kabsa and each kind has a uniqueness about it. Pre-mixed kabsa spices are now available under several brand names. These reduce preparation time but may have a flavour distinct from traditional kabsa. The spices used in kabsa are largely responsible for its taste; these are generally black pepper, cloves,cardamom, saffron, cinnamon, black lime, bay leaves and nutmeg. The main ingredient that accompanies the spices is the meat, such as chicken, goat, lamb, camel, or sometimes beef, fish, and shrimp. In chicken machbūs, a whole chicken is used. The spices, rice and meat may be augmented with almonds, pine nuts, onions and raisins. The dish can be garnished with ḥashū (Arabic: حشو) and served hot with daqqūs (Arabic: دقّوس) — home-made tomato sauce.
Meat for kabsa can be cooked in various ways. A popular way of preparing meat is called mandi. This is an ancient technique, whereby meat is barbecued in a deep hole in the ground that is covered while the meat cooks. Another way of preparing and serving meat for kabsa is mathbi, where seasoned meat is grilled on flat stones that are placed on top of burning embers. A third technique, madghūt, involves cooking the meat in a Pressure cooker.
Saudi Kabsa Recipe I
- 1 2/12 - 3 pound chicken, cut into eight pieces
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 medium onions, sliced
- 1 (12 ounce) can tomato puree
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 medium carrots, grated
- Grated rind of one orange
- 4 cloves
- 4 cardamom pods
- 3 sticks cinnamon
- Sale and pepper to taste
- 1 pound long grain rice
- ¼ cup raisins
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- Sautee onion in oil until it begins to brown. Add chicken pieces, tomato puree, chopped tomatoes and garlic and stir for about five minutes over low heat. Stir in three cups hot water, grated carrot, orange rind, spices, salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat, covered, about 20-25 minutes, until chicken is done.
- Remove chicken. Set aside to keep warm. Stir rice into the liquid in the pan, and cook, covered over low heat for about 35 - 40 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.
- Put rice on a serving platter with chicken pieces arranged around the circumfrence. Toss raisins and almonds over all.
Saudi Kabsa Recipe II
- 1 roasting chicken, small one for 2 people and large one for 4 people
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 maggie chicken bouillon cube
- 1 diced onion
- 2 chopped garlic cloves
- 6 cardamoms
- 5 cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 dried lemons
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- salt & pepper
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 4 hard-boiled eggs
- pine nuts, and raisins, for flavor
- PLEASE note, when cooking with basmati rice you always have to soak in water first or it will not cook well, for at least 15 mins!
- In a stockpot add your onions and garlic on medium and let brown. Then add all of your *spices. Stir in tomato sauce on med heat until sauce thickens.
- Then add you chicken into the sauce. I let it sauté for a few minutes on med heat still. Rotate your chicken so it gets all the flavors. After this add your maggie and water. Add water so it covers your chicken this is usually between half and full that I do.
- Now let your chicken cook like this for about 35 minutes. The first few minutes let it cook on boil them turn the heat down to medium for the rest of time.
- Meanwhile get another pot the same size and put your basmati in it. I use about 4 teacups full (the Arabic tea cup) then add some vegetable oil or ghee. Not too much but not to less. Then just set your rice aside until after your chicken has cooked.
- Now after your chicken has cooked for 35 minutes you will turn your oven on broil. Put the chicken in a roasting pan. I add the dried lemons to it. You have to watch it because it only takes a minute on so on broil. It will get crispy and blacken a bit but this is how it is supposed to be.
- Do not throw your broth away that you cooked your chicken in because we will use this to cook the rice.
- Add the broth spices and all to your rice (just let it cover the rice and some extra) then just throw the rest away. Cook rice covered for 8 minutes then uncover stirring and cook for another 8 minutes. Make sure you left your sticks and all in the rice this makes it tasty.
- Now on a serving platter put your rice, then lay your chicken on top, add boiled eggs around the chicken and sprinkle nuts and raisins. You now have the best Saudi Kabsa there is.
How to Cook Kabsa - Video