Kabsah – Middle Eastern Luxuriance


Kabsah is a traditional Arabic dish that can be considered as rich as a Mutton Biryani. It is very popular in Middle Eastern countries, especially in Saudi Arabia. You can choose to prepare this dish either with meat or chicken. Kabsah is traditionally cooked in an open pot and is the method is quite similar to our Biryani, except that there is a use of a little more amount of saffron in addition to dry fruits, apart from other aromatic spices. The most important ingredient is the kabsah mix, a powder that lifts up the dish instantly! I’m sharing the kabsah powder recipe below and you can keep it for further use as well. Please do not store it for more than a week as the aroma is lost. Also, try to keep the powder in an airtight container to keep the aromatic smell intact. 

Saudi Kabsah Mix 

1 tsp turmeric

1tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp black peppercorns 

1 tsp black cardamom pods

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp fennel seeds

Blend until crushed.

Use as required.

Ingredients Required to cook Kabsah:

500gms lamb meat, with bones (preferably lamb thigh meat) 

1 cup rice, soaked in water for 25-30 minutes

2-3 tbsp Ghee

2 bay leaves

1 cinnamon stick

4-5 cloves

2-3 tsp of Kabsah Mix

2 onions, chopped

1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste

1 tsp tomato paste

1-2 tomatoes, chopped

Salt to taste

1 tsp pepper powder

1 tsp garam masala powder

1 tsp lime zest

A pinch of saffron

A pinch of nutmeg powder

1 dried lime

Few dry fruits, chopped to garnish

Chopped coriander leaves to garnish


Cook the rice until it’s half done and mix a couple of strands of saffron and salt as needed. Keep aside. Heat the ghee in a pan and temper with bay leaves and the whole garam masala. Saute for a few seconds.

Then add the onion. Fry till they are lightly browned.

Add the mutton and fry for 5-10 minutes.

Add the ginger-garlic paste and tomatoes. Saute well

Add all the dry spices, tomato paste, Kabsah mix, lime zest and the dried lime.

Mix everything well and simmer that’s covered on medium flame till the meat is tender and the gravy is dry. (please add water if you think the meat has not tenderized yet) 

Separate the mutton pieces from the gravy and set them aside.

Add the rice to the gravy, simmer on low flame and cook till the rice is cooked well. Sprinkle some water and close the lid tightly. This may take 8-10 mins.

Switch off the flame. 

Arrange the Kabsah on a platter and garnish with the cooked mutton pieces, chopped nuts and coriander leaves. Serve with salad!

Recipe by Samyra Ruheen (Owner of Ruheen’s Kitchen)

Sign Up
To get the latest updates from CEIA
[mc4wp_form id="1867"]
%d bloggers like this: