Kabsah: The Traditional Food of Arabs

Kabsah has been a traditional food of Saudi. I tried different versions of Kabsah in the Kingdom whenever I travel but this plane rice and average mixtures of aroma made it tastes good.

Whenever I travel the kingdom, I normally go to different places but I can’t set a side the foods.

Last time I wrote about visiting Al Baha City  as one of my top destinations in Saudi Arabia. I visited Abha City which I will share a lot of experiences and the foods that drives me crazy like a hunger master of the planet. I admit, this time around I tried Kabsah. Well, Kabsah is a family of mixed rice dishes that believe to be indigenous in the country where I belong.  This dish is commonly served in Jordan and Saudi Arabia so I will give you some reviews and information about my experience . After a long drive from the city of Jeddah, I finally arrived in Abha City where I to enjoyed a lot of beautiful places. Well, you can find this food anywhere in the kingdom but they do have differences when it comes to the taste and the ingredients. Basic ingredients are rice- usually long grain, meat, vegetables and a mixture of spices. As stated, there are many kinds of kabsah and each kind has a uniqueness about it.

So I tried the Kabsah of Abha City. I went to Khamis Mushayt which is located in the east of Abha. I went to a typical restaurant where I can order easily through a counter, waited for my order until I got called. As usual, the staff speaks Arabic so It was easy for me to communicate.

Looking for a Kabsah resto in Khamis Mushayt
Looking for a Kabsah resto in Khamis Mushayt

As a travel blogger, I have seen a lot of people likes this dish not only the Saudis but also the expats because of two reasons: It is affordable and the taste. Now, I will share basic steps on how to prepare Kabsah:

Traditional Kabsah
Traditional Kabsah

What you need:

8 cups of water or 2 litres

1 kg whole chicken

4 tablespoon of vegetable oil

2 medium potato or 500 g, or cut into medium cubes

2 medium onions or 250 g , chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

2 medium tomatoes or 300 g, peeled and diced

3 tablespoon tomato paste

Secret preparation of Chicken stock

Pinch of salt

4 cups of basmati rice or 800 g washed and drained

Now, this recipe was given to me by my friend Mohammed  who is a local of  the city but he said they have a secret preparation in chicken stock that makes a Kabsah more tastier.


Put water and chicken pieces in a large pot, bring to boil and skim froth as it appears. Cover and simmer over low heat for 25 minutes or until chicken is almost cooked. Remove chicken from stock and set aside (reserve the stock).

In another large pot, heat vegetable oil and fry the cooked chicken pieces from all sides until they become golden color. Remove chicken and set it aside again.

In the same pot cook potato for 3 minutes then add onion and cook for another 5 minutes or until onions become golden color. Add spices, tomatoes, tomato paste and  chicken Stock. Stir for 2 minutes.

Add the reserved stock to the pot, the stock should be around 7 cups or 1750ml. Add more water if stock is not enough. Add rice and the fried chicken; bring to boil with occasional stirring. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is cooked.

There you go, you can now have a tastier Kabsah. I am not good in cooking but I learned something new from Mohammed.

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My friend Mohammed in Abha City.

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