Chicken Kabseh/Kabsa Recipe

Chicken Kabseh, or Kabsa,  is a new recipe to me but one I wanted to try and make at home as soon as I got back from a recent trip to Jordan.

Kabseh Dish

One of the great things about travel is discovering different foods.  I love mooching round supermarkets in whichever foreign city I am in to see what local delights they have, and what imports we might recognise.

On my recent trip to Amman we had Kabseh for lunch one day and I fell in love with it.   Essentially a huge bowl of rice with chicken on the top, and piles of flat bread.   I don’t remember having it Saudi but a quick google when I got home told me it was a traditional Saudi dish.   Perfect for putting in the middle of a table with friends and all diving in, using the bread as a fork to scoop up the spicy rice and chicken.  The perfect dish for a big group of people to all just pile into.

Home for two days and I decided I had to have a go at making it for dinner.    This is the recipe I used and judging by the empty plates it was a success.  It sounds a bit time consuming but really it isn’t and now I have tried it in a big dish on the hob I am going to give it a go in the slow cooker.   I think it will really develop the flavours and make it the perfect lazy Saturday night dinner.

Chicken Kabseh Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A one pot chicken and rice dish that sounds spicy but actually isn't too hot at all. Perfect served with warm flat bread
Recipe type: Easy
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Serves: 6
  • Kabseh spices:
  • ½ teaspoon saffron
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 125g butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 chicken breasts (traditionally this would be chicken on the bone, wings or thighs but we are not keen on them so I used breasts)
  • ¼ cup tomato puree
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 3 carrots, grated
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch ground cumin
  • 1 pinch ground coriander
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3¼ cups hot water
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 2¼ cups basmati rice
  • ¼ cup flaked almonds
  1. Mix together the saffron, cardamom, cinnamon, allspice, white pepper in a small bowl, and set the spice mix aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a large Le Crueset or similar over medium heat.
  3. Stir in the garlic and onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken pieces and brown them over medium-high heat until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
  5. Mix in the tomato puree.
  6. Stir in the tomatoes and juice, the carrots, whole cloves, nutmeg, cumin, coriander, salt, black pepper, and the Kabseh spice mix.
  7. Cook for about 3 minutes; pour in the water, and add the stock cube.
  8. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer and cover the pot.
  9. Simmer until chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear, about 30 minutes.
  10. Gently stir in the rice.
  11. Cover the pot and simmer until rice is tender and almost dry, about 25 minutes;
  12. Add a little more hot water, if necessary.
  13. Cover and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until the rice grains are separate.
  14. Transfer the rice to a large serving platter and arrange the chicken pieces on top.
  15. Sprinkle the flaked almonds over the dish.
  16. *traditionally it also has raisins in it, thrown in when you check if the rice is cooked after 30 minutes but again we are not a fan so omitted them but do add them if you like them




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  • Looks interesting?
    Could it replace that middle-aged sprout that appeared in these pages last year?
    It must be well past its sell-by date by now.

  • Hmm looks delicious! I love Mid East food so always on look out for recipes as they’re not so easy to find here that kids will also eat. PS Did you know that Sainsburys are now selling fantastic flatbreads? They’re my fave latest find. Pack of 6 for £1. Perfect for stuffing falafels in as they’re ready folded.