Lamb Kabsa

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Sam Chance


Traditional aromatic Saudi lamb kabsa.

lamb kabsa

serves 4 | prep time 20 mins | cook time 1.5-2 hrs


  • two medium onions
  • 800g - 1kg meat (lamb or beef)
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 2 cups of rice
  • 1 bell pepper
  • some hot chillies
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 7 cardamon pods
  • 8 cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 dried limes
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp tumeric

for the sauce

  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 hot chilli
  • some corriander or mint
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice


  1. Add the meat to a pan with some olive oil and fry until slightly brown.
  2. Add the diced onions and whole spices to the pan. Fry on med-low until the onion begins to caramalise.
  3. Add the chopped garlic and fry for a minute followed by the powdered spices.
  4. At this point, fry the mixture until the aromatics from the spices are released, then add the tomato paste and cook out for a couple of minutes.
  5. Dice the tomatoes and add to the pan - cook for 5 minutes until soft.
  6. Cover the mixture with hot water and cook on medium heat for 1 hour.
  7. After about 30-40 mins of cooking, prepare the basmati rice. Wash several times and then soak in water for up to 30 minutes then set aside.
  8. When the meat is tender, remove from the broth and set aside. Then strain the broth through a seive to remove the whole spices.
  9. Add the meat back to the pan and add the two cups of washed rice.
  10. Add some salt to taste and throw in some bell peppers and hot chillies, then add 3 cups of the meat broth. Place a lid on the pan and set the heat to high for a few minutes to bring the mixture to a boil. Then simmer on a low heat for 20-30 minutes until the rice absorbs all of the water.

for the fresh tomato sauce

  1. Slice the fresh ingredients (tomatoes, garlic, chillies and herbs) and blitz with the spices and lemon juice in a food blender.
  2. Cover and set aside in the fridge.

when the kabsa is ready

  1. Remove the meat from the rice and set aside. Then on a large serving dish add a layer of rice and top with the meat.
  2. Serve with the fresh sauce.