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Kabsse ( Chicken With Rice – Arabian Gulf Way)

Kabsse ( Chicken With Rice – Arabian Gulf Way)

After living in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates for more then twenty years, I learned a lot about their culture and some of their cuisine. Their food is somehow similar to our Lebanese food, but they use more spices. Kabsse is a very popular dish in Abu Dhabi, and it can be cooked with chicken, meat or even fish. Today I prepared chicken with rice the Arabian Gulf way “Kabsse”.

Recipe by  ninabaydoun, Tabkhet el yom


1 whole chicken
3 large onions, cut in wing shape + one small onion peeled
5  cloves
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 large tablespoon tomato puree
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
spices: cumin, dried coriander, black pepper, salt, ground cinnamon, lime salt
cinnamon stick
3 cups basmati rice ( long grain from pakistan)
4 bay leaves
4 whole cardamon
2 tablespoons oil
1 medium onion chopped roughly
4 or 5 celery stick, cut into small cubes
2 red tomatoes, chopped
3 cups chicken stock
pine seeds, handful
peeled almonds, handful
cashews, handful
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon corn oil


1. Wash the chicken and cut into 8 pieces
2. Mix 1 tablespoon of each: salt, cumin, dried coriander, black pepper, ground cinnamon, lime salt and place in a small jar
3. Put the chicken pieces in a bowl and rub with one tablespoon of the spices mixture, soak with the 1/4 cup lemon juice and the half cup of olive oil. Soak overnight
4. Next day, in a large pot heat the 2 tablespoons of oil and fry the wings of onion until light brown, remove half of the fried onions and put aside ( you will use it later for the decoration)
5. Fry the chicken pieces over the remaining onions in the pot, until brown
6. Put the 5 cloves on the small peeled onion and place it over the fried chicken with the cinnamon stick, 2 bay leaves, 2 cardamons
7. Put over the chicken 1 tablespoon of tomato puree, cover the pot and let it cook on a very low fire for about 5 minutes
8. Put the rice over the chicken, cover with about 5 cups of water ( or chicken stock if you prefer), when it start boiling place the pot on a very low heat, cover it and let it cook gently until the rice absorbs all the water
9. In the mean time prepare the sauce : in a small pot, heat the remaining oil, fry the onion, the chopped garlic and the celery sticks  and the tomatoes, add the remaining tablespoon of tomato puree, cover with 3 cups of chicken stock and let it boil gently
10. Add one tablespoon of the spices mixture, one cinnamon stick, 2 cardamon, 2 bay leaves
11. When the vegetables are well cooked remove the cinnamon stick, the bay leaves and cardamon, puree the vegetables with a hand mixer
12. In a small saucepan heat the butter with the oil and fry the pine seeds, almonds and cashew
13. Place the chicken with rice on a serving plate place fried onions on the top and decorate with the pine seeds, almonds and cashew, and few leaves of celery
14. Serve the sauce with the rice and enjoy.
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