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SAUDI KABSA CHICKEN RECIPE(chicken and rice recipe)

Kabsa rice with chicken is a Middle Eastern chicken and rice recipe in which basmati rice is cooked with spices and broth and then layered with baked, brown, and crispy chicken.

This kabsa rice recipe with a step-by-step guide will make it easy for you to make this unofficial national dish of Saudi Arabia, right at home where ever you are, giving nostalgic memories.

chicken kabsa rice with cripy baked chicken
 on top of the rice.

If you’ve lived in the Middle East then you would have had the opportunity to taste this quintessential Arabic chicken and rice recipe.

It’s a Middle Eastern full meal with, rice cooked in chicken broth that includes a tomato base and layered with grilled chicken.

My favourite memories are of buying these huge foiled packs of this Arabic rice dish and driving out for the weekend, stopping at a place where you can just enjoy a family picnic-style meal outdoors.

crispy baked chicken on top of kabsa rice with raisins garnished on top of the rice.

Ingredients to make the chicken kabsa

  • Chicken parts.
    • you can use whole chicken quarter legs as well as thighs for best results.
    • Thighs and legs do well with the skin as they are served to make the chicken broth and then grilled to layer on top.
  • Tomatoes and tomato paste
    • A combination of chopped tomatoes and tomato paste adds a unique familiar subtle tang to the broth in which the basmati rice is cooked.
      • Though you can use the blender to make a tomato puree, you can also simply chop them into smaller pieces.
      • The use of tomato paste which is thicker and a little sweeter than the natural juices of the chopped tomato amplifies the tomato taste in the broth without adding more liquid to it. please do not substitute with regular tomato sauce(ketchup).
  • Saffron
    • Saffron is VERY expensive, if you are unable to afford or see it as a waste to buy just for this recipe then substitute with 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric. It is very difficult to find really good saffron at a moderate price and more often you’ll find(as I have found out) that most are just imitations of the real thing.
    • If you do want to know more about saffron, this article on what is saffron or this article on Wikipedia about saffron should give you more details.
  • Rice
    • Any long-grained rice would work, I used basmati rice.
  • Water to make the broth and then cook the rice.
    • Here’s how much water should be added to the chicken parts to make the broth.

Please add an extra cup(1 cup) of water to be used only if needed.

I have based the quantity of rice to broth using the common ratio for rice and liquid which is.

The extra cup of broth is there to use in case the rice needs to cook a little longer and needs liquid.

you will not need the whole cup of extra broth so use the leftovers for another day of cooking rice.

  • Black dried lime
    • you will have to have the dried lime for chicken kabsa.
    • If you are unable to find black lime then the next best substitute will be sumac.

Here’s a video on how to make your dry black lime

  • Avoid the following mistakes to cook the best chicken kabsa recipe.
    • Don’t just read the recipe below but please do read the whole recipe post. I don’t write fluff but tips and notes to the best of my ability to help you get the recipe right the first time whether you are a pro cook or just starting out your cooking adventure.
    • Don’t substitute ingredients unless a substitute is mentioned.
    • Follow the rice-to-water ratio given for this recipe. the only way to overcook the basmati and make it soggy is by adding too much broth.
    • Don’t overcook the rice, if your pan is deep, then there will be a lot of heat within the pan to cook the rice more, once you’ve cooked the rice, remove the pot from the oven.
    • Gently and without breaking the rice grains, slide a large spoon and bring the rice from the bottom to the top. don’t mix, just dig deep and bring it on top as you want the rice at the bottom to not overcook with the remaining heat.
crispy baked chicken with kabsa rice.
  • Can I use other parts of the chicken to make the kabsa?
    • Yes, you can use chicken breasts as well but I find the bone in fleshy chicken parts work well to give me the maximum flavour in the chicken broth.
  • Can I substitute tomato paste with extra chopped tomatoes if I don’t have tomato paste?
    • If you are unable to find tomato paste then chop extra 2 large tomatoes and add instead of the tomato paste with a tablespoon of sugar.
    • use this only as an emergency substitute if you like to have really authentic chicken kabsa flavours.
  • Do I need to smoke the rice as well, can I leave the smoking out?
    • To make this recipe, I heavily depended on my memories and my husband’s as well. I distinctly remember the kabsa rice I’ve eaten having a woody and smoky taste which is why I recommend smoking.
    • You can definitely serve the chicken kabsa rice without smoking but I would love it if you can follow the smoking step as well, this step is what brings all the components of the chicken kabsa recipe together.
  • Is it difficult to make chicken kabsa rice?

Well, at first when you go through the recipe you might find it daunting but here’s my honest opinion.

Once you understand the workflow and do all the prep work involved, chicken kabsa is one of the easiest one-pot rice and chicken recipes you will ever make.

I mean, it’s a recipe that is so efficient using the main ingredients chicken parts and rice to its maximum. And there is less washing up and cleaning involved than any other rice and chicken recipes I’ve ever made.

  • Chopping board and knife
  • Baking pan
  • Foil
  • Large cooking pot
  • Large jug or bowl to pour in the chicken broth
  • A Small heat-resistant cup that can be used to hold a piece of charcoal.
  • 1 piece of charcoal

Chicken mandi

Egg Biryani

Hyderabadi chicken biryani

RECIPE DIFFICULTY-LITTLE CARE NEEDED

The ingredients mentioned below use standard measuring cups and spoons

To make the kabsa broth base

1/4 cup butter or oil(use ghee, regular vegetable oil, olive oil, etc)

1 large onion finely chopped

3 tablespoons minced garlic(6 garlic cloves minced)

1 tablespoon tomato paste(read tips and questions regarding substitute)

3 large tomatoes chopped

2 black limes slightly bruised or pierced

2-star anise

2 bay leaves

2″ cinnamon

To make the chicken broth for the kabsa

1kg chicken( a mix of chicken quarters and thighs with skin on)

2 teaspoons coriander powder

1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

3 cardamom slightly bruised(or 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom powder)

3 medium-sized carrots grated

3 cloves

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg grated

2 teaspoons of pepper powder

5 cups of water(I have added an extra cup of water, please refer to the notes above for the reasons)

To bake and grill the chicken parts

2 tablespoons of butter

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of onion powder(if you don’t have the powder then skip this ingredient)

To cook the rice

2 cups of basmati rice

1 teaspoon saffron

Salt as needed

For garnishing

1/2 a cup of raisins(skip the raising if you have family members who hate raisins)

1/2 cup of almond flakes(options)

1/4 cup raisins

  • Please read the tips and frequently asked question recipe notes before proceeding to make the kabsa recipe.
  • Have all the ingredients needed to make the chicken kabsa ready.
  • Cut and have the chicken parts ready.
  • Shred the carrots and set them aside.
  • Cover a baking pan with foil and have it ready to bake the chicken parts.
  • have the butter-garlic mixture ready to baste the chicken parts.
  • Soak the saffron in 1/4 cup of warm water and set aside.
  • Wash the rice and set it aside, if you want to you can soak them in water but I have not done it here.
  • Use chicken quarter legs as well as thighs with the skin on.
  • Wash, clean, and set aside until use.

Heat the butter(1/4 cup) in a pan.

Saute the onions(1 large finely chopped), tomato(3 large), garlic(3 tbsp, minced), black lime(2, pierced or bruised to add flavor), star anise(3), cinnamon(2″piece), tomato paste(1tbsp), bay leaves(2).

adding ingredients like sliced onions, tomato chopped, black lime, spices and tomato paste to make kabsa.

Cook over low-medium heat until onions turn soft and you have a rough tomato-based wet spice mix.

tomato based spice paste with black lime cooked to make the kabsa rice

Add the chicken parts(1 kg, a mix of chicken quarters and thighs with skin on), to the tomato base mix and cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes.

Mix frequently, and reduce heat if the spices stick to the pan.

adding the boiled chicken parts to the spices into the cooking pan to make the kabsa.

Add salt(1 and 1/2 tsp), coriander powder(2 tsp), cumin powder(1 tsp), cardamom(3 slightly bruised or 1/2 tsp ground), cardamom(3), grated nutmeg(1/8 tsp), pepper powder(2 tsp) carrot(3 medium grated).

adding shredded carrot and spices to the cooked chicken in the pan to make kabsa.

Pour in 5 cups of water(I have added an extra cup of water, please refer to the notes above for the rice-to-water ratio and reasons).

adding water to the spices and chicken parts to cook kabsa.

Cover and slow simmer for at least 30-45 minutes until you have a good broth.

Taste the broth and season with salt.

cooking the chicken parts into the spice water to make the chicken broth to make kabsa rice.

Mix butter(1 tbsp), garlic powder(1 tsp), and onion powder(1 tsp, if you don’t have this ingredient then skip it).

Once you’ve made the broth, remove the chicken parts and place them in the baking pan.

Brush the garlic butter on the chicken parts.

Preheat the oven to 170C(338 F).

And then bake for 40 minutes, turning them at 20 minutes and brushing them with the garlic butter.

Once they’ve baked, remove the chicken parts to a plate and pour the dripping onto a small bowl, return the chicken parts to the baking pan.

Repeat the process of brushing the garlic butter and then grill each side for 12 minutes at 170C(338F)

While the chicken is baking, you can move on to cooking the rice.

Dissolve saffron(1 tsp)in 4 tablespoons of hot water(refer to notes on saffron above) and set aside.

Pour the chicken broth into a large jug, only the liquid.

Everything else, including the grated carrot pieces, can remain in the pot.

Add the washed basmati rice(2 cups)to the pan. add the saffron.

ading saffron to the rice to make the kabsa.

Pour in 4 and 1/4 cups of broth. taste and add salt if the broth seems bland.

adding the basmati rice to the broth.

Cook over medium heat.

Check the rice, if you need to cook the rice longer and need a little broth add another 1/4 cup and continue to cook.

If you feel that the rice needs only a few minutes (5 minutes)to cook through then cover with a lid and let the remaining heat cook the rice.

Once the rice is soft and fluffy, remove the rice pot from the stove and use a large fork or a flat spoon to dig in and bring the rice from the bottom to the top.

Avoid breaking the rice as much as you can, don’t cover it with a lid as you want the rice to cool down.

cooked kabsa rice.

Pour the dripping from the baked chicken onto the rice.

Place the chicken parts around the rice and place a small, heat-resistant bowl in the middle.

Heat a piece of charcoal until hot. use charcoal that is not covered in silver for best results.

Place the hot charcoal in the bowl and pour ghee(1 tbsp, substitute with melted butter, olive oil, or any non-fragrant light oil) over the burnt charcoal.

As soon as you see the smoke rising, Place an aluminium foil and cover it with a tight lid. leave it for 3-5 minutes.

The kabsa rice will absorb the smoky flavours.

smoking the kabsa rice .

Serve with a tomato-coriander-based condiment(haven’t added this recipe yet but will add the link to it when I have added the recipe).

Meanwhile, serve with fresh spicy tomato salsa which has similar elements to it

Garnish with raisins and almond flakes, and serve warm.

chicken kabsa rice baked with crispy chicken.

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chicken kabsa made with layer of baked chicken

Chicken Kabsa(Saudi Chicken And Rice Recipe)

Yield: 5
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours

Chicken Kabsa is a middle eastern chicken and rice recipe in which basmati rice is cooked with spices and broth and then layered with baked, brown, and crispy chicken.

This Chicken kabsa recipe with a step-by-step guide will make it easy for you to make this unofficial national dish of Saudi Arabia, right at home where ever you are, giving nostalgic memories.

Ingredients

The ingredients mentioned below use standard measuring cups and spoons

  • To make the kabsa broth base
  • 1/4 cup butter or oil(use ghee, regular vegetable oil, olive oil, etc)
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic(6 garlic cloves minced)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste(read tips and questions regarding substitute)
  • 3 large tomatoes chopped
  • 2 black limes slightly bruised or pierced
  • 2-star anise
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2″ cinnamon

To make the chicken broth for the kabsaNew Group

  • 1kg chicken( a mix of chicken quarters and thighs with skin on)
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 3 cardamom slightly bruised(or 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom powder)
  • 3 medium-sized carrots grated
  • 3 cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg grated
  • 2 teaspoons of pepper powder
  • 5 cups of water(I have added an extra cup of water, please refer to notes above for the reasons)

To bake and grill the chicken parts

  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder(if you don’t have the powder then skip this ingredient)

To cook the rice

  • 2 cups of basmati rice
  • 1 teaspoon saffron
  • Salt as needed

For garnishing

  • 1/2 a cup of raisins(skip the raising if you have family members who hate raisins)
  • 1/2 cup of almond flakes(options)
  • 1/4 cup raisins

Instructions

Prep work before cooking kabsa rice.

  • Please read the tips and frequently asked question recipe notes before proceeding to make the kabsa recipe.
  • Have all the ingredients needed to make the chicken kabsa ready.
  • Cut and have the chicken parts ready.
  • Shred the carrots and set them aside.
  • Cover a baking pan with foil and have it ready to bake the chicken parts.
  • have the butter-garlic mixture ready to baste the chicken parts.
  • Soak the saffron in 1/4 cup of warm water and set aside.
  • Wash the rice and set it aside, if you want to you can soak them in water but I have not done it here.

How to prepare the chicken parts for the chicken kabsa

  • Use chicken quarter legs as well as thighs with the skin on.
  • Wash, clean, and set aside until use.

How to make the tomato base for kabsa rice.

Heat the butter(1/4 cup) in a pan.

Saute the onions(1 large finely chopped), tomato(3 large), garlic(3 tbsp, minced), black lime(2, pierced or bruised to add flavor), star anise(3), cinnamon(2″piece), tomato paste(1tbsp), bay leaves(2).

Cook over low-medium heat until onions turn soft and you have a rough tomato-based wet spice mix.

Chicken broth for the kabsa

Add the chicken parts(1 kg, a mix of chicken quarters and thighs with skin on), to the tomato base mix and cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes.

Mix frequently, and reduce heat if you notice the spices are sticking to the pan.

Add salt(1 and 1/2 tsp), coriander powder(2 tsp), cumin powder(1 tsp), cardamom(3 slightly bruised or 1/2 tsp ground), cardamom(3), grated nutmeg(1/8 tsp), pepper powder(2 tsp) carrot(3 medium grated).

Pour in 5 cups of water(I have added an extra cup of water, please refer to the notes above for the rice-to-water ratio and reasons).

Cover and slow simmer for at least 30-45 minutes until you have a good broth.

Taste the broth and season with salt.

Baking and grilling the chicken for kabsa.

Mix butter(1 tbsp), garlic powder(1 tsp), and onion powder(1 tsp, if you don’t have this ingredient then skip it).

Once you’ve made the broth, remove the chicken parts and place them in the baking pan.

Brush the garlic butter on the chicken parts.

Preheat the oven to 170C(338 F).

And then bake for 40 minutes, turning them at 20 minutes and brushing them with the garlic butter.

Once they’ve baked, remove the chicken parts to a plate and pour the dripping onto a small bowl, return the chicken parts to the baking pan.

Repeat the process of brushing the garlic butter and then grill each side for 12 minutes at 170C(338F).

How to cook the chicken kabsa rice

While the chicken is baking, you can move on to cooking the rice.

Dissolve saffron(1 tsp)in 4 tablespoons of hot water(refer to notes on saffron above) and set aside.

Pour the chicken broth into a large jug, only the liquid.

Everything else, including the grated carrot pieces, can remain in the pot.

Add the washed basmati rice(2 cups)to the pan. add the saffron.

And pour in 4 and 1/4 cups of broth. taste and add salt if the broth seems bland.

Cook over medium heat.

Check the rice, if you need to cook the rice longer and need a little broth add another 1/4 cup and continue to cook.

If you feel that the rice needs only a few minutes (5 minutes)to cook through then cover with a lid and let the remaining heat cook the rice.

Once the rice is soft and fluffy, remove the rice pot from the stove and use a large fork or a flat spoon to dig in and bring the rice from the bottom to the top.

Avoid breaking the rice as much as you can, don’t cover it with a lid as you want the rice to cool down.

How to smoke the kabsa rice.

Pour the dripping from the baked chicken onto the rice.

Place the chicken parts around the rice and place a small, heat-resistant bowl in the middle.

Heat a piece of charcoal until hot. use charcoal that is not covered in silver covering for best results.

Place the hot charcoal in the bowl and pour ghee(1 tbsp, substitute with melted butter, olive oil, or any non-fragrant light oil) over the burnt charcoal.

As soon as you see the smoke rising, Place an aluminium foil and cover it with a tight lid. leave it for 3-5 minutes.

The kabsa rice will absorb the smoky flavours.

Serve with a tomato-coriander-based condiment(haven’t added this recipe yet but will add the link to it when I have added the recipe).

Meanwhile, serve with fresh spicy tomato salsa which has similar elements to it

Garnish with raisins and almond flakes, and serve warm.

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As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 992Total Fat: 55gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 32gCholesterol: 244mgSodium: 817mgCarbohydrates: 66gFiber: 8gSugar: 22gProtein: 62g

Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

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