Preparation 40 min
Cooking 1 hour 30 min
Kabsa is a mixed rice dish that originates in Yamen. It became one of the pleasant choices in food in all gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia. Kabsa in Saudi Arabia is presumed as the nation dish of the kingdom. The Saudis’ are well known for their verity of traditional dishes. Most of the dishes contain meat, rice, wheat, vegetables and spices, which give these recipes a special flavour.
The spices used in kabsa are largely responsible for its taste. There are generally black pepper, clove, cardamom, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, bay leaves and nutmeg .The mixed kabsa spices are now available under several brand name. These reduce preparation time. The rice is cooked with red or white meat or chicken in a pot and traditional way of presenting kabsa is when presented in a big plate and the meat or chicken is kept right in the middles of the plate. It is traditionally eaten together by sitting on the floor and eating with hands. It is also serves with their popular hot sauce “SHATTA” on the side.
The meat is cooked in various ways. A popular way of preparing meat is called “AL-MANDI”. This is an ancient technique that originates in Yemen. The chicken or meat is cooked and smocked inside a tandoor, an underground clay oven fitted with hot charcoal wood. Another way of preparing and serving meat for kabsa is “MATHBI”, where seasoned meat is grilled on flat stones of burning embers. A third technique, is “MADGHUT”, involves cooking the meat in a pressure cooker.
A common seasoning that add a unique flavour to kabsa is dried limes (loomi). The limes are first cooked in salt water, then dried in the sun. Dried limes can be found in many Middle Eastern groceries shops. If you unable to find dried lime substitute the zest of two fresh limes.
– ½ teaspoon of clove around 7-8
– ½ teaspoon of black pepper corn
– 1 teaspoon of cardamom seed around 8
– ½ tea spoon of cinnamon powder or 2 one inch stick
– ½ teaspoon of nutmeg powder around ½ piece nutmeg and 1 whole star anise
– ½ teaspoon of red chili bits (optional)
– ½ teaspoon of ginger powder
– 2 bay leaves
– ½ teaspoon of saffron (optional)
– 1 teaspoon of cumin seed
– ½ teaspoon of coriander
Crush and mix all until fine powdered.
– 3 cups of basmati rice
– 1 whole chicken cut to 8-10 pieces
– 5 medium fresh tomatoes chopped
– 2 tablespoon of tomato paste
– 2-3 large onions diced
– 2 carrots grated(optional)
– 6 garlic gloves
– ½ cup of cooking oil
– 4-5 cups of water give or take
– 2 dried lime
– 2 hot peppers (optional)
– Salt to taste
– ½ cup of row skinned almond separated with pine nut (silvered)
– ¼ cup of raisins
– All the spices mix
Rinse the rice until water is cleared and set aside.
With a sharp edge knife crack a hole in the dried limes from the top.
Add the cooking oil in a reasonably sized pot over medium heat cook stirring the onions until the onion are soft and golden brown.
Add the chicken pieces and fry until slightly cooked
Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste stir in the kabsa spices with the garlic and Combine well.
Add the water to the mix and toss in the dried lime. Cover and let it cook for 20 min.
After 20 min remove the chicken pieces from the pot and set aside for later. You can fry the chicken with little of oil until turn golden or bake in preheat oven 240c/ gas 9.
Stir in the rice to the mixture and grated carrots, Bring to a boil. When the liquid is less and you can see the rice clear.
Then cover and turn the heat down to low and let it simmer until rice is cooked for 30 to 45 min.
Heat oil in a small pan until hot but not smoking. Add the almond, pine nut and cook, string occasionally, until browned and toasted 7 – 8 min, using a wooden spoon transfer to paper towel and put aside. Do the same if you using raisins to garnish.
When the rice is cooked transfer to a serving dish. Place the chicken pieces on top and garnish with the nuts and raisins. Serve hot with Arabic salad and hot sauce “SHATTA” on the side.
Shatta hot sauce
– 3 red jalapeno peppers
– 15 Thai bird chilli
– 8 garlic gloves
– 1 cup of fresh coriander
– 1 cup of fresh parsley
– ½ tablespoon of white vinegar
– 2 tablespoon of olive oil
– 1 table spoon of salt
– 1 tablespoon of ground black pepper
– 1 tablespoon of cumin powder
– 6 oz of tomato paste
– 1 cup of water
Place all in a food processor and pulse until nice smoothen.
Add the mix to a saucepan on medium heat. Cover Bring to boil mix and simmer on low heat for 5 -10 min or until cooked. Remove and let it cool.
Store in a jar in the refrigerator and can be kept for months.
We talked about MANDI. Traditionally the rice, spices, meat and water is cooked together in a special clay ovens that are built into the ground (taboon). Live, hot coal is placed on top as well and no steam is allowed to escape till the dish is cooked. The word mandi is a derivation of an Arabic word NADA which means Dew.
There is no way you can make a real mandi dish at home, unless you have a hole in the ground made of clay. However other techniques can give you just about the same taste and flavours. Using a slow cooker give you great results. You can use a thermal cooker to do the cooking and keep the dish warm till served or cook on very law heat on the stove with a tight fitting lid.
Now for us to be able to have the Smokey flavoured like a real mandi. Once the rice cooked remove from the heat, place the chicken on top of the rice in the pot. Then place a heat proof small cup containing ½ filled with olive oil. Place on top the centre of the chicken and rice pot. Place the red hot coal that has turned white inside the oil cup. It will immediately create smoke. Cover the pot well so that the smoke fills up the pot. Leave it cover for 15 min. After 15 min gently remove the cup from the centre pour the olive oil on top of the rice without getting the coal in. now you have that smoky aroma that develops same as the taboon cooking.