Around the World in 12 Dishes: Al Kabsa - Traditional Saudi Rice and Chicken

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This month we are exploring Saudi Arabia. Since Hazel does not watch or hear news if we can help it, she does not know much about Saudi Arabia. There also was not much out there for her age on Saudi Arabia. We found a few picture books that were more on Islam. Since Islam's birthplace is in Saudi Arabia, I guess it is appropriate. I found a coloring page on
For a bit more on Saudi Arabia, you can check out my post on the Around the World in 12 Dishes blog.

We found recipes on-line since none of the books we looked at had any. We decided to try Al Kabsa which is a traditional Saudi rice and chicken. We found the recipe on All Recipes. I have seen Hazel grow and develop in the kitchen over the past year. It is amazing to see what she can do now.

Al Kabsa adapted from All Recipes
Kabsa Spice Mix:
1/2 teaspoon saffron
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried whole lime powder or lime zest (we could not find dried whole lime powder)

1/4 cup butter
1 onion finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic
3 pounds of bone-in chicken cut into 8 pieces
1/4 cup tomato puree
Hazel zesting the lime
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 package shredded carrots
2 whole cloves
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 pinch ground cumin
1 pinch ground corriander
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 1/4 cups hot water
1 chicken bouillon packet
2 1/4 cups unrinsed basmati rice (we used brown basmati rice and it took much longer!!)
1/4 cup of raisins
1/4 cup slivered almonds

1) Mix together the Kabsa Spice Mix in a small bowl and set aside.
Hazel adding tomato puree

2) Melt the butter in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and onion. Cook and stir until the onion turns translucent, about 5 minutes. 

3) Add the chicken, and brown them over medium high heat until lightly brown, about 10 minutes. 

4) Mix in the tomato puree, canned tomatoes, carrots, and all spices (including mix from step 1). Cook for about 3 minutes.
Stirring Mixture
Adding Water & Bouillon

5) Pour in the water and chicken bouillon (we mixed them together first since we use a no salt packet and not a cube). 
Waiting for it to boil

6) Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Simmer until the chicken is no longer pink, about 30 minutes.

7) Gently stir in the rice. Cover the pot and simmer until rice is tender and almost dry, about 25 minutes for white rice and 35 for brown.
Hazel Adding Rice

8) Add the raisins and more hot water if necessary (ours definitely did not need any more water). Cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until rice is dry.

9) Transfer the rice to a large serving platter and arrange chicken pieces on top. Sprinkle the slivered almonds over the dish. Enjoy!

I enjoyed it and Hazel liked the chicken but thought the rice was too spicy. Steve thought it was ok, but really didn't want it again.


For books we read:

  •  Hajj Stories by Anita Ganeri which shares the story of the traditional Hajj, journey to Mecca for Muslims.
  • Ramadan Moon by Na'ima B. Robert and Shiria Adi which shares how Ramadan is determined by the moon and what Ramadan is.
  • We also have our Fairy Tales in Different Cultures from the past which include: The Golden Slipper, The Persian Cinderella, Cinderella: An Islamic Tale, Snow White: An Islamic Tale. We are looking forward to the Sleeping Beauty: An Islamic Tale coming out in February!!

That is our exploration of Saudi Arabia. Around the World in 12 Dishes is hosted by these lovely blogs:

Adventures In Mommydom, Afterschool for Smarty Pants, All Done Monkey, Crafty Moms Share, Glittering Muffins, Kid World Citizen, Mermaids' Makings, The Mommy Talks and The Usual Mayhem
I hope you will take the time to check them all out and check out everyone's great explorations of Saudi Arabia. If you have a Saudi dish or craft or lesson, please share it here as well!! The Saudi placemat and passport pages are coming soon for help with extra learning about the country.