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Chicken on a bed of spiced kabsa rice with mixed nuts and raisins, with two small bowls of tomato sauce and yogurt on the side.

Chicken Kabsa

Farah Abumaizar
A traditional Gulf dish of flavorful spiced rice with golden roasted chicken, garnished with toasted nuts and raisins
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Servings 6 people
Calories 700 kcal


For the Chicken:

  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1-2 potatoes cut into cubes, optional
  • 2 cups onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 chicken, quartered
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 3/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 whole cloves or 1/4 tsp clove powder
  • 1 piece dried lemon (loumi)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes, or 2 cups fresh diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • A little vegetable oil to coat the chicken

For the Rice:

  • 1 1/2 cup basmati rice soaked in water for 45 min
  • 2 cups shredded carrots

For Topping:

  • 1/2 cup peeled whole almonds
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup cashew nuts
  • 1/3 cup light brown raisins


For the chicken:

  • Preheat oven to 200 C (400F). This is to brown your chicken once it has boiled.
  • Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large saucepan. If using potatoes, add them now and cook for 3-5 minutes, then add the onions and grated ginger. Cook until light golden brown.
  • Add the chicken pieces, and cook till lightly browned. Add the spices (salt, pepper, orange zest, cardamom, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cloves or clove powder, loumi, and add the tomato paste and diced or canned tomatoes. Let this come to a boil.
  • Once mixture boils, add 1 litre of water until chicken is submerged. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook chicken for 25 minutes or so until cooked through, then remove just the chicken pieces to a baking pan, coat very lightly with oil and put in the oven. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until browned. You can turn on the ovens broil function for the last few minutes to brown even more. Keep the tomato stock mixture on the stove to make your rice with.

For the rice:

  • Place the soaked and drained rice in the tomato stock mixture, along with the shredded carrots. Bring to a boil, then cover with the lid (you can also place a kitchen towel tightly under the lid to further absorb moisture) and cook over medium low heat for 25 minutes or until rice has fully absorbed the liquid.

For the kabsa garnish:

  • In a medium skillet, add a small amount of oil, then add the almonds and cashews, stirring for a few minutes until starting to turn golden brown. If using pine nuts, add them now because they cook faster. Stir nuts and cook until golden brown, then immediately remove from skillet to a paper towel lined plate to prevent them from burning.
  • Add the golden raisins, and stir, cooking for a few minutes until they brown and inflate a little. Remove from skillet to a paper towel lined plate.

To assemble:

  • Place the rice first onto your serving plate. Put the chicken pieces on top, then scatter the toasted nuts and raisins evenly on top. You can garnish with coriander right before serving. Serve with daqous (spicy tomato sauce) or yogurt or a green salad.


Recipe loosely adapted from : Saudi Food with Eman
Keyword rice, chicken, middle eastern