My Taste Club

RECIPE: Traditional Saudian Kabsa

If you live here in Dubai and don’t know how to cook up a delicious kabsa, shame on you!

This traditional Saudian dish has been adopted all over the region, and is easy to make.

For anyone who grew up in the region, this is comfort food at its best. For those of us who didn’t, it’s a fine, tasty rice and meat dish that should be in every cook’s repertoire.

Swap out the lamb for meat of your choice for a bit of variety. It’s often served with chicken, mutton, goat and even camel!

Prep and cooking time: 2-3 hours,

Servings: 7-10



  • 2 1⁄2 kg lamb, large cubes
  • 4 cups basmati rice
  • 1⁄2 kg carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 kg tomatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 kg finely chopped onion
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pinch ground cumin
  • 1 pinch ground coriander
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Butter (for frying) or olive oil (for frying)
  • 1⁄4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • For the Kabsa spice mix
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon saffron
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground green cardamoms
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground dried limes
  • For the sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 beef stock cube (Maggi)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 400 grammes chopped tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1⁄4 cup diced celery
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter


  • 1. Fry meat until browned on all sides.
  • 2. Add water to the pot to cover the meat by about 5cm, bring to a boil then cook gently over medium heat for 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until tender. Reserve stock & set meat aside.
  • 3. Soak rice for 15 minutes. Drain, rinse under running water then drain well again.
  • 4. Add butter to a large stock pot or casserole, fry the onion, pepper, carrot, and spices. Cook on low heat for about 10 minutes, or until tender.
  • 5. Add rice to vegetables in the pot, cook for five minutes on medium heat. Add meat stock until it covers the rice (approx 3cm above the rice). Cover pot. Cook on low heat for 30 minutes or until tender - add a little more stock or water if rice becomes dry.
  • To make the sauce:.
  • 6. Fry onion, garlic, and tomato in the butter. Add tomato paste, celery, salt, cinnamon, water and stock cube. Cook on medium heat until slightly thickened and celery is tender.
  • 7. Serve in a large dish or on a platter. Place the rice first, then top with the meat mixture and garnish with pine nuts.
  • 8. Serve the sauce in a jug with a spoon. Saudis enjoy kabsa with hot sauce

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