United Arab Emirates – Kabsa

by Adelina Aida

This is known as MIXED RICE PLATTER. This platter has almost all the healthy and nutritious ingredients from meat, vegetables to rice and nuts. It has the addition of lots of spices to make it smell tasty and delicious. The fragrance of spices from the dish makes more impact on the eaters. This dish is known as NATIONAL DISH OF ARABS. This dish has many elements that seem to be favorites of ARABS like Almonds, dates, pistachio, walnuts, cashews.

We can have the vegetarian dish by adding only vegetables to the rice platter. Mix meat can be added like chicken or mutton combined. Meat elements and rice are cooked separately. Then served on the same platter.

Mixed rice dishes are very popular in every region related to the addition of their favorite ingredients into the rice. This dish is very versatile and popular in the UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. Many countries admire this dish and cook it as the local cuisine. This dish has many other names in the world by different regions and their names.


  • Al kabsa
  • Kabshah
  • Kabsa
  • Makbus
  • Machboosh
  • Machbus, etc.

This dish is popular in many Asian countries like :

  • Yemen
  • Kuwait
  • Malaysia
  • Iran
  • Indonesia
  • Najd
  • Singapore
  • Saudia Arabia
  • Thailand


The word KABASA means to squeeze out. In this dish, this word means to cook all the elements like meat portion and vegetables with rice is squeezed in one pot.

There are many varieties of KABASA served in UAE according to the different addition of ingredients like the difference in meat portion. Many different vegetables can be added. The cooking technique to cook the meat is also can be different from region to region.



Meat is sold in UAE are of following kind like :

  • Chicken
  • Lamb meat
  • Cow meat
  • Camel
  • Seafood is also cooked.

From the above available varieties, we have the meat varieties kabsa like :


Chicken either whole is cooked or cut into pieces. The chicken is marinated with spices and some yogurt to make it juicier and good in flavor. Then we can option to fry the chicken or steam it. When chicken is cooked, rice is prepared and chicken is served over the rice platter. Rice is full of whole spices and nuts, dates, raisins.


Mutton kabsa is also very popular because it is richer in flavors and taste. The most like meat by ARABS is mutton so the mutton kabsa is also very famous because of the use of mutton. Mutton with bone and without bone is added. The use of bone in rice is just to make it full of flavors by the juices and marrow from the bone. Broth or stock is prepared by mutton meat and bones. Then bones are removes when rice is added and meat remains to make it tasty. The flavor of the meat is absorbed by the rice and then cook to serve them.


Vegetarian kabsa is also prepared by adding maybe only one vegetable. By adding different vegetables, etc.

Vegetables to put into kabsa are :

  • Potato
  • Carrot
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Corn
  • cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Brinjal
  • Beans sprouts, etc


Seafood can be added in kabsa but usually two-three items are added like :

  • Fish
  • Shrimp
  • Prawns



  • Sliced cucumber tomaoes salad
  • Pickle
  • Sumac onions
  • Channa salad
  • Al mixed vegetables salad
  • Cabbage mixed salad


  • Tomato sauce
  • Curry gravy
  • Mint sauce
  • Pepper sauce
  • Mint sauce
  • Sweet chili sauce
  • Tomato lemon sauce


  1. Chicken = 800 grams
  2. Rice = 500 grams
  3. Oil = 1 cup
  4. Yogurt = 250 grams
  5. Onions = 1
  6. Garlic = 6 cloves
  7. Tomatoes 4


  1. Salt = 1 tablespoon
  2. Red chili flakes = 1 teaspoon
  3. Black pepper whole = 8 to 10
  4. Cloves = 5
  5. Cinnamon sticks = 2
  6. Nutmeg powder = 1 teaspoon
  7. Star anise = 2
  8. Bay leaves = 4
  9. Turmeric powder = 1 teaspoon
  10. Cumin seeds = 3 teaspoons


  1. Almonds = 15
  2. Cashews = 10
  3. Pistachio = 10
  4. Coconut = 5 to 6 slices
  5. peanuts = 15
  6. Raisins = 1/2 cup


  1. Take the chicken, add yogurt salt, pepper, some turmeric powder, black pepper powder and marinated it for an hour.
  2. On other than, add oil in cooking pan with onions, garlic and tomatoes.
  3. Cook them for a while, now add dry spices and whole spices, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, etc.
  4. On the onion mixture add 4 glass of water and rice together and cook it for 10 to 20 minutes.
  5. While rice is cooking, we need to cook the chicken, either by frying and steaming.
  6. While frying, add chicken into plain flour for coating so the spices didnot wash off from the chicken.
  7. Then fry the chicken into cooking oil.
  8. If your are steaming, you no need to coat it with flour, just add chicken into the steamer and wait for it to cook completely.
  9. Now when rice’s water is almost dried out, put this cooked chicken into rice.
  10. Let this put onto the low steam heat for 10 minutes.
  11. After that add all the nuts and raisins on the rice before serving.
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