Al Kabsa Rice Dish With Chicken

Servings 8 | Prep Time 20 min| Total Time 1 hour 20 min

The national dish of Saudi Arabia – this beautifully spiced one-pot-wonder is a crowd pleaser for weeknight dinners or dinner parties on cooler nights. Tender chicken falls of the bone while basmati rice soaks up every drop of flavor.


  • 3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Whole 1.4kg Chicken, broken down
  • 1 Large Onion, chopped
  • 6 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 Can of Whole or Crushed Tomatoes, 420ml
  • 3 Carrots, grated
  • 2 Whole Cloves
  • 1 tsp Coriander, ground
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 400ml Chicken Stock
  • 300ml Basmati Rice 
  • 100ml Raisins or Dried Apricots
  • 100ml Slivered Almonds, toasted

Kabsa Spice Mix

  • 1/2 tsp Saffron
  • 2 tsp Saigon Cinnamon blend
  • 1 tsp Ground Allspice
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Dried Limes

Saigon Cinnamon Blend


  1. Melt butter in a large stock pot, or cast iron pan to medium heat.
  2. Add chicken pieces (skin-side down if you have skin-on chicken) and brown on both sides. Remove from the pan.
  3. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until tender, fragrant, and translucent.
  4. Stir in tomato paste and stir, cooking for a few minutes.
  5. Add tomatoes, carrots, cloves, coriander, salt, pepper, and the Kabsa spice mix. Cook for a couple of minutes util the spices are fragrant.
  6. Add the chicken back to the pot. Follow with the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  7. Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to a simmer for 30 minutes.
  8. Add rice to the pot and stir carefully. Cover again and simmer for an additional 25-30 minutes or until the rice is tender.
  9. Add the raisins or chopped dried apricots. Cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  10. Place the rice on a large serving dish, topped with the chicken & garnished with almonds.
  11. Serve with hot ‘Shattah’ sauce if you’re a traditionalist.

As one of the most popular and traditional Arabic dishes and of course being the national dish of Saudi Arabia, Kabsa is widely available across the country from Jeddah to Riyadh.

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