The United Arab Emirates – Al Kabsa

by Adelina Aida

Kabsa or kabsah is a rice dish in which many elements are included. The variety of ingredients makes it more versatile in a form of a whole course meal. This dish is from SAUDIA ARABIA and Emirati Cuisine. It is a platter of rice in which meat and many dried fruits are added to make it more delicious and rich in flavors.

In GULF ARABIC, it is known as ” Makbus/ Machboos

The word Kabsa is originated from the word ”KABASA”. Kabasa means Squeeze so from this the word comes up with ”SQUEEZE ALL INGREDIENTS INTO ONE POT”. These all elements cooked together in one pot is a word used as squeeze.

Region and state in which this dish is cooked and included in their national cuisine ; Arabian Peninsula :

  • Saudia Arabia
  • Kwait
  • Oman
  • Bahrain
  • Qatar
  • Yemen
  • UAE
  • Iran
  • Negev

This dish has a variety of different ingredients used in rice. Like meat of chicken, beef or also lamb can be used in this dish make it delicious. The tenderness of the meat is so soft, it makes meat fall out from the bones. The use of dried fruits like almonds, cashew, walnuts with the dried spices like cumin, cardamom, bay leaves is very common to make this dish aromatic with spices and rich with fruits.

Alternative names of the same dish

This dish belongs to many region so it may be having different names according to the region like :

  • Majboos
  • Macboos
  • Machbus
  • Kabsa
  • Kabsah
  • Al kabsa

Cooking techniques

There are different elements of different origins used in this dish. So to cook that elements we required to use different techniques in cooking these ingredients :

  • BOILING: To cook rice, we have to use the boiling method. Banaspati rice is used in making this dish so boiling them is one of the cooking technique used in this dish.
  • ROASTING: In this dish, meat is cooked separately like we can roast, fry the meat and then put it into rice to make a one-pot dish by assembling things together.
  • FRYING: sometimes frying of meat is used in making Kabsa.


There are different elements from which this dish is came into existence like the following :

1. Rice

This is a rice dish, so main ingredients from which the base of the dish is made is rice. This rice is made up with many dried spices to make rice aromatic with spices like cumin, star anise etc. Any meat broth, usually chicken broth is used in cooking rice with salt some pepper. The technique used in making this rice dish is very simple like the usual rice but the use of spices is very important.

BANASMATI RICE are usually used in making AL KABSA.


Meat is specific in making this dish. As because Saudia Arabia is an Islamic country so the concept of HALAL food is very important in making dishes of them. So any Halal meat is used in making this dish like following :

  • Chicken
  • Cow’s meat
  • Lamb’s meat
  • Camel’s meat
  • Goat’s meat
  • Sea food like shrimp, fish etc


In vegetables some specific items are selected and used into the trsditional recipe. Otherwise we can add according to your taste. Follwoing are the vegetables used in making this dish :

  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Green chillies
  • Capsicum etc


Dry fruits are the main ingredients of this dish. This element gives the richness of the dish and used in good amount.

  • Almonds
  • Pistachio
  • walnuts
  • dried grapes
  • Raisins
  • Coconut
  • Peanuts
  • Pine nuts
  • Cashew etc


  • Chicken = 2 lbs
  • Rice = 2 lbs
  • Salt 1 tablespoon
  • Crushed red chilies = 1 tablespoon
  • Onions = 2 large
  • Oil = 1/2 cup
  • Garlic paste = 4 tablespoons
  • Ginger paste = 4 tablespoons
  • Green chilies paste = 4 tablespoons
  • Tomato puree = 1 cup
  • Yogurt = 2 cups
  • Chicken broth = 1 litre

Dried spices

  • Cloves = 4
  • Bay leaves = 2
  • green cardamom = 2
  • Black cardamom = 1
  • Cinamon stick = 1
  • Cumin seeds =2 tablespoons
  • Black pepper = 1 tablespoon

Dried nuts

  • Almonds = 2 tablespoons
  • Pistachio 2 tablespoons
  • Raisins = 2 tablespoons
  • Coconut = 2 tablespoons
  • Cashews = 2 tablespoons


  • Potatoes = 3 ( cube cuts )
  • Carrot = 1 ( cube cuts )


  • First of all add oil in a cooking pot and add onions with it.
  • Fry them in oil until they get dark brown and than add garlic ginger and green chilies paste into it.
  • Let them simmer together and than add tomatoes puree with chicken into it.
  • Mix them together and than add all the spices like dried spices with salt, pepper and cumin into it.
  • Let it cook for 15 minutes, Make sure to soft anf tender the chicken completely.
  • After 15 minutes, check the water is dried than add yogurt into it and cook them for 5 minutes in medium flames.
  • Now add potatoes and carrots into chicken mixture and cooked them together with chicken.
  • Now our chicken and vegetables gravy is ready.
  • Add chicken broth of 1 litre into the chicken mixture and bring it to boil.
  • Now add rice into it on medium heat.
  • On other side, Take few drops of oil and sauteed dried fruits into it.
  • Add these sauteed dried fruits into rice pot and cook them together.
  • Check the broth absorbs completely, and put this rice for 20 minutes on low heat.
  • After 20 minutes serve it.


It can be served with yogurt mint sauce, boiled eggs and salad.


  • Calories = 400
  • Fat = 60 grams
  • Carbohydrates = 50 grams
  • Protein = 80 grams

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply