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Saudi Arabian Al Kabsa Recipe

A traditional recipe for Saudi Arabian Al Kabsa
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1 hour 30 minutes


Serves 4

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Kabsa Spice

  • 1 tsp saffron
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 0.5 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp dried lime powder
  • 50g butter
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
  • 50g tomato paste
  • 400g chopped/tinned tomatoes
  • 3 carrots, grated
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 2 cloves
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of coriander
  • pinch of cumin
  • 750 ml hot water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Main ingredients

  • 1.5kg chicken (whole chicken or parts)


  • Step 1 : Make the spice mix

    Combine the ingredients for the Kabsa Spice listed above.

  • Step 2 : Prepare the chicken

    If you are using a whole chicken you will need to cut the chicken in to 6-8 pieces. If you are using a mix of chicken drumsticks, thighs, breasts etc you do not need to do anything.

  • Step 3 : Cook the chicken

    Add butter to a large Dutch Oven or casserole pot. When the butter has melted add the onion and cook until softened.

    Add the chicken and brown on all sides, this should take about ten minutes.

  • Step 4 : Add the sauce

    Add in the tomato paste, tinned tomatoes, carrots, and the spice mix.

    Cook for several minutes while stirring continuously.

    Add the water and stock cube, stir well and bring to a boil. Add the remaining spices.

    Cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer.Cook for 30 minutes until the juices run clear.

  • Step 5 : Finish and serve

    When the juices run clear from the chicken, gently add in the rice and stir. Cover the pot and cook for a further 25 minutes until the rice is fluffy and cooked through. Add more water if needed.

    Serve on a large serving dish with the chicken on top.