One Pot Chicken Kabsah

Chicken Kabsa, considered as the national dish of Saudi Arabia is a rice and meat dish served with fried raisins and almonds along with yoghurt sauce and green salads for the side. The name is derived from the word kabs, meaning "press" which is the technique used in cooking Kabsa. All the ingredients are added in one pot but not all at the same time. So it is not an add all and cook till done dish, but working in layers to get the flavours married perfectly.

From my experience of dining out in Saudi, I found that Kabsah is not the same in every restaurant. While the general internet recipe all claims to be tomato-rich, I have eaten Kabsa which had no tomato at all! Upon further internet reading, I learnt that there is more than one way of making Kabsah. The recipe I am sharing today is adapted from various sources including Saudi food eman with additional whole spices and tips.

Anyone with expertise in cooking ghee rice can make this one-pot Kabsah! It is much easier than our biryanis... well I feel most of the Arabic rice recipes are much easier than our dum biryani! :-) 

One Pot Chicken Kabsa

I am calling this as one-pot Kabsa recipe because I am hoping to try the other methods too! For instance, there was this one time when we had kabsa where they served the tomato sauce separately and the rice was cooked in stalk and no had tomato trace.

Like most of my recent recipes shared here, this Kabsa recipe too was shared on Instagram stories and a few of my followers had tried it too. My highlights are not detailed enough for me to link here but the written recipe here includes every step in detail. 

Chicken Kabsa

One-Pot Chicken Kabsa


1 and 1/2 cup basmati rice, washed and soaked for 30 mins, drained
1/3 cup almonds, blanched, peeled, slit, and fried till golden
1/4 cup raisins, fried till puffed

1/4 cup oil
4 green cardamoms
4 cloves
1 loomi (dried black lime)
2" cinnamon stick
a small piece galangal root
a small piece shaiba (Black stone flower / kalpasi)
1 bay leaf

2 cups (250gms) red onion, finely chopped (diced)
1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
2 large tomatoes (300gms), chopped roughly
1 small carrot (60gms), grated
1 tablespoon green pepper (capsicum), finely diced

650 gms whole chicken with skin, cut into 8 pieces
1/2 tablespoon pepper powder
1/2 tablespoon cardamom powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 tablespoon tomato paste
salt to taste

approx 3 cups hot boiling water


  1. Heat the oil in a wide-mouthed and deep pot with a flat bottom on a medium flame
  2. Fry the prepped almonds until golden and remove with a slotted spoon and keep aside
  3. Fry the raisins till puffed remove and keep them aside for garnishing at the end
  4. Add all the whole spices and saute until fragrant 
  5. Add the chopped onions, saute until translucent 
  6. Add the ginger-garlic paste, saute until the raw smell of garlic wades off
  7. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, grated carrot and green pepper and mix well
  8. Add the cut chicken along with all the spice powders and enough salt 
  9. Cook open till oil surfaces
  10. Add the boiled hot water and adjust the salt
  11. Cover and cook until chicken is cooked completely 
  12. Remove the chicken pieces and keep aside 
  13. Add the drained rice and check if there is enough water (not more than an inch above the rice level)
  14. Stir well and adjust the salt
  15. Cook on high flame and bring the rice to full boil
  16. Boil until you can see the grains on the surface 
  17. Reduce the flame to low, 
  18. Cover the pot with foil or clean kitchen cloth 
  19. Slide a flat pan between the flame and pot - this prevents burning of food and distributes heat evenly
  20. Cover the pot with a tight lid and let it cook for 10 minutes
  21. Switch off and don't disturb for another 10 minutes
  22. Take the chicken pieces and grill or broil them in oven or stovetop 
  23. Serve Kabsa topped with the grilled chicken pieces and the fried almonds and raisins along with salads and yoghurt 
One Pot Chicken Kabsa

InshaAllah, next time I want to try making another version of Kabsa including marination for the chicken before grilling it... or maybe make with semolina or couscous? possibilities are endless.

If you ever try any of my recipes please do share your feedback, comments, or pics here or on Instagram @fashfaiz