Easy kabsa – Arabic Chicken and Rice pilaf



You are on your way home after a very long day at work , thinking of what you will cook for dinner, you have no energy to cook or clean! Then why don’t you try this light and easy kabsa version that is sure to feed a crowd!

Kabsa is the national dish of Saudi Arabia, which consists of rice, spices, vegetables, and lamb or chicken, it is VERY spicy and extremely delicious, the only problem is it takes quite a lot of time to prepare, but my recipe for a quick and easy to clean one pot kabsa is what you need if you don’t have the time to spend in the kitchen.


I usually use the ready Kabsa mix and add more spices, you can however only use the kabsa mix, it will taste just as delicious.

  1. 1 boneless skinless chicken cut into cubes
  2. 1 medium sized red onion
  3. 4 cloves of garlic
  4. Kabsa Spices (freshly ground)
  5. 4 cardamom pods
  6. 2 pinchs of Safaron
  7. 4 chilies
  8. 1 tsp sweet paprika
  9. 1 tsp of coriander
  10. 1 tsp of turmeric
  11. 3 cups of Basmati rice
  12. 2 tbs tomato paste
  13. Salt
  14. Boiling water
  15. Vegetable oil

Kabsa Spices: you can buy a mix for kabsa spices from the store, I usually buy mine and grind as much as I want, my kabsa mix contained:

  1. Bay leave
  2. Saffaron
  3. Cumin (It has a slight cumin taste)
  4. Mustered seeds
  5. Ginger
  6. Cinnamon
  7. Black pepper
  8. All spice
  9. Nutmeg
  10. Coriander
  11. Turmeric
  12. Cardamom pods
  13. Dried black lime

I used a heavy bottom wide skillet.

  1. Rinse the rice and soak for 10 minutes, then drain it and set it aside.
  2. Heat the oil and add the chicken cubes (make sure they are dry in order to get a good caramelisation on them).
  3. Add the finely diced onions, garlic, 2 chilies, and cardamom pods to the pot and toss them with the chicken.
  4. reduce to a medium heat, add all of the spices and tomato paste, cook until the spices releases its aromas, then add the rinsed rice and coat each grain gently with the spices and tomato mixture.
  5. At this point the chicken is partially or completely cooked, pour the hot boiling water and the remaining two whole chilies, making sure that the water is slightly above the rice level.
  6. Cook on high heat covered for 7 minutes or until the water level is even with the rice, then lower the heat and let it cook for 15 minutes.
  7. Resist the urge to open the lid and check the rice, after 15 minutes on low heat check your rice it should be fluffy and each grain has soaked all of the water.

Serve with a tomato, onion, and dried mint salad dressed with olive oil, salt and lemons or yogurt. W sahtain 🙂



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12 thoughts on “Easy kabsa – Arabic Chicken and Rice pilaf

  1. Fendi says:

    I like to buy “Kabsa Spices”
    I can’t get it in my plce Singapore.
    I ever bought it when I was in Madina. I Love the Labsa spice.
    Try making it but the taste is not the same with the ones I bought.
    Can u help me get it,,,


  2. Ella Eats says:

    I made this last night!! Being of Jordanian decent, I’ve never had kabsa with chicken. Mostly lamb and/or beef. I’ve started to get in to cooking more and this turned out beautifully authentic and was loved so much by all, my fiancé even thought it was better than my mother in laws!! Thank you so much for this quick, easy, super yummy meal!!! I paired it with my homage garlic sauce (toum) a side of homemade yogurt and also the salad you mentioned. Thank you so much!

    Liked by 1 person

    • procrastinatorcook says:

      Hi Ella, I realize its been like three years since you wrote a comment but the blog wasn’t active then, now that I am back it warms my heart to read such a comment! I Am excited that your Kabsa turned authentic and your Fiancé liked it 🙂 I hope you and your loved ones are safe and sound.


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