Fair warning this makes a large portion so you will have plenty of leftovers if you are not cooking for a crowd. Also be sure to make the super spicy dipping sauce called shattah, it truly elevates the dish from ordinary to extraordinary.
Since Saudi Arabia is an Islamic state, pork is forbidden. I was intrigued to learn that the Saudi’s are the biggest consumers of boiler chickens in the world. Each person consuming about 88 lbs annually. This dish Al Kabsa would be just one reason for the high consumption.
Saudi Arabia is a very wealthy nation due to its oil and gas reserves however, they know that won’t last forever. They are working on diversifying their economy, with tourism being an important sector.
If you would like to learn more about this Arab nation, be sure to check out “Our Journey to Saudi Arabia”. There, you will also find more authentic recipes to enjoy with your Al Kabsa.
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Al Kabsa - The national dish of Saudi Arabia
A beautifully spiced chicken and rice dish that is perfect for a crowd. Be sure to make the super spicy shattah sauce to go with it.
- 1/4 cup butter
- 3 lbs chicken cut into 8-10 pieces
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- 1/4 cup tomato puree
- 14 ounces canned chopped tomatoes with liquid (or fresh)
- 3 carrots grated
- 2 whole cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 4 cups hot water
- 1 chicken stock cube
- 2 1/4 cups basmati rice don't rinse or soak this
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds toasted
Kabsa Spice Mix
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron
- 1/4 teaspoon ground green cardamoms
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground dried limes
- Melt butter in a large stock pot, or dutch oven.
- Add chicken pieces, onion & garlic & sauté until onion is tender and chicken is browned.
- Stir in tomato puree & simmer over a low heat for a couple of minutes.
- Add tomatoes, carrots, cloves, all the spices including the kabsa spice mixuture & salt and pepper.
- Cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add the water & chicken stock cube.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover.
- Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
- Add rice to the pot & stir carefully.
- Re-Cover & simmer for 35 - 40 minutes - adding the raisins for the last 10 minutes - cook until rice is tender.
- Place the rice on a large serving dish, topped with the chicken & garnished with almonds.
- Serve with a hot sauce called 'Shattah'.