From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Alternative namesKabsah (Arabic: كبسة‎), makbūs/machbūs (Arabic: مكبوس/مچبوس‎)
Place of originSaudi Arabia
Region or stateNajd, Hijaz, Saudi Arabia
Main ingredientsRice (usually long-grain, almost always basmati), chicken, vegetables, and a mixture of spices (cardamom, saffron, cinnamon, black lime, bay leaves and nutmeg)

Kabsa (Arabic: كبسةkabsah) is a mixed rice dish, served on a communal platter,[1] that originates from Saudi Arabia but is commonly regarded as a national dish in countries of the Arabian peninsula.

The dish is made with rice and meat. It can often be found served in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen, South of Iran, the Negev desert in Israel, and the Malabar Coast of India. The dish is also popularly known as makbūs/machbūs (مكبوس/مچبوس Gulf pron.: [mɑtʃˈbuːs]).


The name comes from the word kabasa (Arabic: كبس‎), literally meaning to press or squeeze, alluding to the technique used in the cooking where the ingredients are all cooked in (or "squeezed into") one pot.


These dishes are usually made with rice (usually basmati), meat, vegetables, and a mixture of spices. There are many kinds of kabsa and each kind has a uniqueness about it.

Pre-mixed kabsa spices are now available under several brand names. These reduce preparation time, but may have a flavor distinct from traditional kabsa. The spices used in kabsa are largely responsible for its taste; these are generally black pepper, cloves, cardamom, saffron, cinnamon, black lime, bay leaves and nutmeg.[2]

The main ingredient that accompanies the spices is the meat. The meats used are usually chicken, goat, lamb, camel, beef, fish or shrimp. In chicken machbūs, a whole chicken is used.

The spices, rice and meat may be augmented with almonds, pine nuts, peanuts, onions and sultanas.[3] The dish can be garnished with ḥashū (Arabic: حشو‎) and served hot with daqqūs (Arabic: دقّوس‎), which is a home-made Arabic tomato sauce.

Methods of cooking[edit]

Kabsa is also known as machbūs in Arab countries in the Persian Gulf.

Meat for kabsa can be cooked in various ways. A popular way of preparing meat is called mandi. This is an ancient technique that originates in Yemen, whereby meat is barbecued in a deep hole in the ground that is covered while the meat cooks. Another way of preparing and serving meat for kabsa is mathbi, where seasoned meat is grilled on flat stones that are placed on top of burning embers. A third technique, madghūt, involves cooking the meat in a pressure cooker.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Report: Qatar 2015. Oxford Business.
  2. ^ "Al Kabsa - Traditional Rice dish". Food.com. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  3. ^ "How to Make Kabsa". Retrieved 23 June 2012.