Chicken Kabsa
Saudi style spicy chicken and rice dish.
  • 1 whole chicken or large chicken pieces, skin on
  • 6 -8 cups water, enough to cover
  • 1 onion, in quarters
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Handful parsley
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons Bharat mix
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 2½ cups/500g Basmati rice, washed and soaked for 15 minutes
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon red cayenne powder
  • 3 teaspoon Bharat spice
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • cinnamon stick
  • 1 fresh chopped green or red chilli, optional
  • 5 cups reserved chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Golden raisins/sultanas, soaked for 15 minutes, optional
  • Almonds, slivered or halved, optional
  • 2 tablespoons butter, optional
  1. In a pressure cooker or a large dutch oven, place the chicken or chicken pieces, onion, carrots, garlic cloves, parsley, and the spices and cover with water.
  2. If using a pressure cooker, follow your cooker instructions and pressure cook for 20-25 minutes.
  3. If using a dutch oven, simmer the chicken until tender, about 60 minutes.
  4. After the chicken is cooked, slowly remove from the stock and place on a baking sheet.
  5. If your chicken is whole, you could cut into pieces or leave it whole.
  6. You can even just pull the meat off the bones and serve on top of the rice without broiling.
  7. Allow the broth to cool a little and strain into a clean bowl and skim off the fat.
  8. Reserve for the rice.
  1. In a large pot, add the oil and lightly brown the onions.
  2. Add the cardamom pods and the cinnamon stick and toss in the oil.
  3. Add turmeric, the cayenne powder, the Bharat spices, mix thoroughly and cook a little in the oil.
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook until softened.
  5. Add the fresh chilli if using.
  6. Add in the rice and toss in the oil and spices.
  7. Pour in the hot broth, add the salt and allow to come up to boil.
  8. Simmer the rice uncovered until most of the broth is absorbed and the level of broth is the same as the rice and you can see little dimples forming on the surface.
  9. Turn down the heat to low, cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes.
  10. Put on a timer.
  11. After 10 minutes, remove from the heat and without lifting the lid, let sit off the heat for another 10 minutes.
  12. After 10 minutes, lift the lid and fluff up the rice.
  13. While the rice is cooking, turn the broiler on.
  14. Place the baking sheet with the chicken under the broiler and cook until the chicken is crisped and browned.
  15. If using the almonds and golden raisins, melt the butter in a small fry pan and fry the raisins and almonds.
  16. To serve, place rice on a platter, arrange the chicken on top and scatter the almonds and raisins.
  17. Or, you can just dish it up on plates like I do with a salad on the side.
Bharat is a spice mix commonly used in the Middle East. There is a 7 spice Arabic mix that can be used too, interchangeably. Here is a recipe for Bharat from Ottolenghi if you want to make your own
1 teaspoon black peppercorn
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 small cinnamon stick, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon cardamom pods
½ whole nutmeg, grated
Grind all the spices together and store in a clean jar.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 4109 Fat: 150g Saturated fat: 43g Unsaturated fat: 94g Trans fat: 1g Carbohydrates: 456g Sugar: 35g Sodium: 8237mg Fiber: 34g Protein: 230g Cholesterol: 587mg
Recipe by Coffee and Crumpets at