Kabseh (Middle Eastern Rice Dish)

kabseh with roasted chicken on top

This right here is one of my favorite Middle Eastern rice dishes. I love the taste of the aromatic spices that goes into it. It is also so simple to make. Yes, every person may have their own way of making it. This is my Mama’s way and we all love it. Since, I am here visiting, I will be sharing recipes from my my Mama throughout the week.

Servings: 10 people

Total Time: approx. 2 hours


Chicken preparation

2 whole chickens cut into 8 pieces cleaned

1 onion cut into 4 pieces

3 garlic cloves

2 dried limes

2 stick of cinnamon

3 bay leaves

6 pieces of cardamon

1 whole tomato

Salt to taste

2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tbsp whole Gram Masala

Boiled Water to fill the pot

Rice preparation

5 cups rinsed Uncle Ben’s rice

10 cups homemade chicken stock

2 tbsp ground kabseh spice

6 oz can of tomato paste

Black pepper to taste

Salt to taste

2 tbsp ghee

Chicken Preparation part 2

1 tbsp garlic power

Salt & pepper to taste

1 tbsp dried oregano

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp ground chicken spice

1 packet Sazon seasoning

1 fresh lemon’s juice

2 tbsp ketchup/tomato paste

1 tbsp barbecue sauce


Clean the chicken to your liking. In a large pot, add all the above spices and cook for a few minutes till lightly browned.

Then add the chicken pieces to get a nice light brown. Then add the boiled water to cover the chicken completely. Let this cook for about 1 hour + till its cooked.

Take the chicken out from the water and place in a pan. Set aside. To that chicken stock, add tomato paste and mix.

In a separate pot, add the rice with the spices and ghee. Mix together on low heat for a few minutes then add the hot chicken stock from the chicken that was cooked prior.

Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Will take about 20-25 min to cook till all the liquid is absorbed.

While thats on the stove, to the chicken add the chicken mixture from part 2. Rub well into the chicken.

Bake chicken at 350 for 5 minutes to warm up and broil for 2 minutes till its a nice golden crisp color.

To plate, layer the rice with the chicken on top and garnish with toasted almonds/pine nuts.

Enjoy as is or with some plain yogurt and salad.

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    1. Hi, any Arabic grocery store should carry it in their spice section. I hope you find it! If you can’t find it, maybe try adding more gram masala spice.

      1. I made this for Ramadan, and the recipe is so easy to follow and it’s so so so delicious!!! Thank you fufu

        1. This is such a lovely recipe. It smells divine and has become a firm favourite in our home.
          Thank you for sharing

    1. Yes, you can use that as a substitute in this case. Sazon is found in orange packages in almost every supermarket but definitely in the Hispanic section.

  1. My husband and I only like chicken breast. How can we alter the recipe to cook only that instead of the whole chicken?

  2. 5 stars
    My go-to kabseh recipe! It’s flavourful and easy to make, and turns out so lovely! I didn’t have the sazon seasoning as it isn’t popular in the UK it seems, but I found it on Amazon. The only mistake I made the first time was not to strain the chicken stock🤦‍♀️, but I have learnt since then 😁

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