A hearty and aromatic rice and chicken pilaf that is delicious, and rich of spices! It’s healthy, packed with nutrients, inflammatory properties of spices and gluten free too!
I’ve started a series “Arabic cuisine” featuring my traditional food. Today the dish is Saudi Rice Pilaf (Kabsah). This is a family favorite meal. I cook it almost every week. It’s easy to make, even it did take time, but it’s totally worth it. This pilaf, and other Saudi dishes are influenced by north Indian cuisine, and other cuisines as well.
First time, when I cooked this pilaf (kabsah) in my closet kitchen, someone recommended to me, to add a cube of chicken broth, to enhance the flavor. I got an envelope of chicken broth. I thought this will do the work, so I just added it without a second look.
After a while when I checked on the rice, it was looking weird, and starting to get lumps. I wasn’t sure what went wrong, I followed the instructions! I couldn’t fix it, and we ate it lumpy, and kind of bland. Later on, I discovered I added cream of chicken soup! That was really embarrassing! My husband still reminds me of it every now, and then!
It’s rice cooked in seasoned broth, spices, herbs, and nuts maybe add too. Most of rice pilafs are aromatic due to abundance of spices. South Asia countries like India, and Iran, also southeast Asia countries are famous for these pilafs. There are too many versions of Kabsah. Today I brought you the one that I make, which is a bit different from the original one.
Why you should add spices in your diet;
- A great way to add flavors to food, without adding extra fat, or salt.
- A rich source of antioxidants, and polyphenols.
- They have anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial properties,therefore they boost immunity, and they may encounter the effects of eating high fat meal.
- They may have a role in cancer prevention and treatment.
- They may enhance heart health too.
If you are curious here are more traditional dishes of Saudi cuisine.
It’s better for this recipe to use a ready mix blend. It’s hard to get the same flavor if you want to dot it yourself. I always buy it, here is the brand I trust and highly recommend.
Now let’s get to the recipe!
- 1 cup of uncooked Basmti rice (or any long grain)
- 1 lb of boneless chicken breasts
- 1 Tb tomato paste
- 2 medium carrots grated finely
- 1 medium onion grated finely
- 2 Tb raisins
- 2 Tb sunflower oil divided
- 1½ cup of chicken broth
- 2 Tb Kabsa spice mix divided
- Whole spices like:
- 2 medium Dried limes (with a sharp knife just crack the outer face a bit m like making a tiny hole)
- 2-3 bay leaves.
- 2 medium cinnamon sticks.
- 5 cloves pods,
- 5 cardamom pods,
- 5-10 peppercorn.
- 1 oz almonds
- 1 Tb ghee
- Optional sides:
- Wash the rice thoroughly, and soak it at least 30 minutes.
- Prepare the chicken (trim fat and cut if desired)
- In large pot on a medium heat, add 1 Tb of sunflower oil, and whole spice, leave it for 3 minutes.
- Add the chicken, and saute on high heat, until it's no longer pink.
- Add enough water to cover the chicken, let it boil then cover the pot with a tight lid for 30 minutes.
- Drain the broth, in a medium bowl, and reserve it.
- In a clean large pot, add 1 Tb of oil. Saute onion, carrots, and raisins for 5 minutes on medium heat.
- Add chicken, 1 Tb of kabsa spice mix, and salt, saute for 5 minutes.
- Add tomato paste, stir it well, so the chicken get covered.
- Add rice, 1 Tb of kabsa spice mix, and saute again.
- Add the chicken broth you made, and cover the pot with a tight lid.
- Keep it on high heat for 5 minutes, then turn the heat to lowest, and keep the pilaf for 30 minutes, or until the rice absorbed the liquid completely.
- In a small skillet, add 1 Tb of ghee, when its hot, add almonds , toast then until they are golden brown, and drizzle over the rice.
You can use any oil, butter or ghee.
If you want to add your own mix of spices, add the following of ground spices:
Cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, coriander, black pepper, nutmeg, curry powder
Add ¼ tsp in the beginning, then add more black pepper and curry. The other spices should be in small amounts.