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Al Kabsa - Traditional Saudi Rice and Chicken

Rated as 4.48 out of 5 Stars

"This was the first Arabic dish I ever made and it turned out extremely delicious, a new favorite! Serve Al Kabsa with a fresh mixed cucumber, carrot, lettuce, and tomato salad -- preferably with a little lime vinaigrette. Some fresh pita bread on the side would be nice also. Saudis like their Kabsa with a hot sauce called 'Shattah'. Enjoy!"
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2 h 10 m servings 528
Original recipe yields 8 servings


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  1. Mix together the saffron, cardamom, cinnamon, allspice, white pepper, and lime powder in a small bowl, and set the spice mix aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken pieces and brown them over medium-high heat until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Mix in the tomato puree.
  3. Stir in the canned tomatoes with their juice, the grated carrots, whole cloves, nutmeg, cumin, coriander, salt, black pepper, and the Kabsa spice mix. Cook for about 3 minutes; pour in the water, and add the chicken bouillon cube.
  4. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer and cover the pot. Simmer until chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear, about 30 minutes.
  5. Gently stir in the rice. Cover the pot and simmer until rice is tender and almost dry, about 25 minutes; add the raisins and a little more hot water, if necessary. Cover and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until the rice grains are separate.
  6. Transfer the rice to a large serving platter and arrange the chicken pieces on top. Sprinkle the toasted slivered almonds over the dish.


  • Editor's Note
  • Whole dried limes can be found in Persian groceries or on the internet. Grind them in a spice grinder or blender to make dried lime powder.
  • Cook's Note
  • Don't rinse or soak the rice before using it. Depending on the type of rice you use, you may need to use more or less water. Stay on the low side to avoid the dish being too mushy--you can always add more.
  • Tip
  • Aluminum foil helps keep food moist, ensures it cooks evenly, keeps leftovers fresh, and makes clean-up easy.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 528 calories; 21.2 54.9 29.2 88 423 Full nutrition

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Read all reviews 34
  1. 48 Ratings

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Most helpful positive review

I'm from Saudi Arabia, and I've eaten and prepared this dish all my life, and I must say that the steps in this recipe are very accurate. This dish is very diverse and is well-known in all gulf ...

Most helpful critical review

Something was definetly missing from this dish. Too much spice without a warm undertone. I found myself adding chicken bullion and then trying to compensate by squeezing lime over it

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I'm from Saudi Arabia, and I've eaten and prepared this dish all my life, and I must say that the steps in this recipe are very accurate. This dish is very diverse and is well-known in all gulf ...

I cooked this dish but did few changes because husband doesnt like chicken so i replaced it with minced meat :)) i crystalized the onions and garlic in buter and added the meat to fry; it becam...

I was happy to find a new Eastern recipe without curry! This dish has amazing flavor, and smells delicious while simmering. To avoid msg, I cooked the rice in chicken broth rather than using a...

This recipe was AMAZING! AND it's authentic! I normally try a recipe exactly as written first time then go about adjusting it to to fit my taste. But I broke protocol this time. I grew up in Sau...

I have made this recipe twice now and while I enjoyed the first time I made it I made adjustments for the second time around. First of all. I increased all the ingredients for the kabsa mix by h...

First time I ever made an Arabic dish. Loved it. Smelled great and was delicious. I read the reviews, and I also did not use the Saffron, didn't even miss it. This dish is very flavorful wit...

After falling in love with Kabsa at a Yemeni restaurant in San Francisco, I had to learn how to make this dish. This is a great recipe and the spicing was utterly perfect. I marinated the chic...

This was sooo flavorful. It is not spicy. I substituted a diced chicken breast which enabled me to half the cook time. I also ommited cardamom and saffron since I didn't have on hand. I am sure ...

I am the chef at an international school in Bournemouth (UK) and I tried this recipe for my Arab students and they absolutely loved it, and so did all the others. It is now a favourite.