How to Prepare This Middle Eastern Entree

Kabsa is a chicken and rice dish that is popular in Saudi Arabia and Jordan. While the dish is often made with chicken, kabsa can also be made with goat, lamb or seafood. The dish is also called makbus in the Persian Gulf. This entree is an easy dinner dish that is ideal for cooks who are looking for difference dishes to add to their repertoires, and the spices and herbs used in the dish are sure to impress friends and family members. If you’re looking for a new and creative way to prepare chicken, this flavorful dish could be the answer.

The meat for kabsa can be prepared in a number of ways. One of the most popular ways of preparing the meat is called mandi. This is a technique that has been around for thousands of years and originated in Yemen. The meat is barbecued in a very deep hole dug into the ground. The hole is covered while the meat cooks. Mathbi is another method for making the eat for kabsa. Mathbi involves placing the seasoned meat on flat stones that are positioned on burning embers. Another way of cooking kabsa meat is madghut, which involves cooking the meat in a pressure cooker.

To make kabsa, you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups of white basmatic rice that has been cleaned and rinsed
  • Water (the amount will depend on the size of the rice cooker or pot that you’re using)
  • 1 small chopped tomato
  • 1 small to medium chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons of ground Baharat spice
  • 3 teaspoons of ground cardamom
  • 3/4 can of tomato paste
  • 6 teaspoons of olive oil
  • 1 snack-sized box of raisins
  • 1 small chicken, cut into setions
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 dried black lemon
  • salt (to taste)
  • 2 packets of instant beef broth (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons powdered garlic
  • 1 dried black lemon

Start by thawing the chicken according to the meat package instructions, or get a fresh chicken cut into sections by your butcher. Wash the chicken and remove the skin. Set is aside for a few minutes (leaving chicken out for long periods of time could cause bacterial growth).

Set the stove to medium high heat. In a large pot add the oil onion and cardamom. Stir until brown. Add the water to the pot until it is half full. Add salt to taste. Add more cardamom, garlic powder and tomato.

Add the tomato paste and black lemon. Add the raisins and broth. Turn the pot down to medium heat and add the chicken. Cover the pot with aluminum foil and then cover with the pot lid.

The mixture should cook for about half an hour. During this time, heat the oven to 300 degrees. Then, take the chicken from the pot, put it in a baking dish and place it in the oven.

Strain the broth in the pot and keep the strained contents in one bowl while saving the broth in another bowl. Place the strained ingredients back into the pot.

Add the rice and three cups of the broth to the pot. Bring the rice, vegetables and broth to a boil, then turn the heat to low and over the pot with aluminum foil and the pot lid. Let the mixture cook covered for about 10 minutes. Check to make sure the rice is fluffy, but don’t stir it. The rice is fully cooked when all the broth has been absorbed.

Check the chicken to ensure it is not becoming dry. Turn off the stove heat and take off the aluminum foil from the pot to let the steam escape. If the rice is a little dry, add some extra broth and cook for a few more minutes on low. Add a little water to the rice, but do not mix.

Pour the rice into a large dish. Remove the chicken from the oven and place the meat over the bed of rice.

Kabsa can be served with shattah, which is a Middle Eastern hot sauce, or you can skip the sauce if you don’t want the dish to be too spicy. The dish can also be enjoyed with pita, or you can prepare a salad with tomatoes, cucumber and an olive oil dressing to make the meal complete. This hearty meal is sure to leave your family asking for seconds, and is a tasty entree to prepare on special occasions.


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