Beef Kabsa is a traditional Saudi dish that consists of beef cooked with tomato sauce & different aromatic spices, and then combining it with long-grain rice cooked in a flavorful broth. It is considered a national dish of Saudi Arabia, that is served during family gatherings and important occasions.
In Gulf Arab countries, also known as the Khaleeji, rice is a popular staple food that is traditionally made with meat and different spices. It is served on a large plate and they sit on the floor and eat together with families, friends, or visitors.
If you have visited or lived in Khaleej countries, you will know that there are many variations of Arabic spiced-infused rice and meat dish. For example, I have tried many different rice dishes like majboos, mandi, biryani, and kabsa. They all taste delicious since they contain different aromatic spices that make the food flavorful.
One Arabic dish that I am excited to share with you is kabs. Back in my old days when I live in Gulf Arab countries, I have eaten Kabsa and I find it absolutely mouthwatering. In this post, I will like to share with you a very flavorful and aromatic dish Kabsa, which is a traditional Saudi Arabia rice and meat dish.
Here are the ingredients you need to make this traditional beef kabsa:
Beef with Bones: I am using beef that has bones since it will add flavor and tenderize the meat when cooking in the pressure cooker. You can use either beef ribs or shank.
Kabsa Spice: This is the main Saudi spice that you need to make this recipe which is a combination of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, black lime, and other spices. It is more convenient to use a ready-made rather than making your own.
Other spices: Other middle eastern spices & herbs you need to intensify the flavor of the meat and its broth include cumin, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, and black lime.
Red Onion and Garlic: These two herbs will help enhance the flavor of the beef and spices. In addition, you need half of the red onion to brown or caramelize it since this will add sweetness and intensify the flavor of the rice.
Vegetable Oil: You will need that to cook or saute the beef, onion, garlic, and spices.
Tomato Sauce: This will serve as a sauce to add sweetness and moisture, and helps bind the flavors together.
Long-grain rice: I am using basmati rice since it is a long-grain and it is a traditional rice used in the Gulf Arab cuisines.
Other ingredients: For the rest you will need water to make the broth and cook the rice, salt & black pepper for adding season.
Here are the full instruction how to cook this delicious beef kabsa:
- Firstly, I added vegetable oil to the pressure cooker.
- Add chopped red onion and garlic. Stir till it turns translucent and cooked. Use only half of the red onion since the remaining half will be used to brown or caramelize it.
- Next, I add the beef, kabsa spice, and the other spices & herbs. Mix gently.
- I poured the tomato sauce and water. Gently mixed to combine
- Cover the lid and put on the pressure release valve. I let the beef cook for approximately 35-40 minutes or until it is soft.
- Based on step 8, this is what it looks like after cooking the beef.
- When you are cooking the beef, I saute the remaining half of the red onion until it turns golden brown. Set it aside since you will need that for the rice.
- Next, Once the beef is cooked and soft, I add the rinsed basmati rice & browned onion, and then mix it with the beef and the broth.
- Close the lid again and let the rice boil till no more water and is already cooked. You can tell if the rice is soft and fluffy.
- Lastly, I transferred it to a large plate and served it with Arabic salad and yogurt garlic sauce.
Majboos- This is a national dish of Kuwait which is a flavorful rice and chicken dish cooked in an Arabic spices-infused broth. It is traditionally served with tomato garlic sauce called daqoos.
Maqluba- It is a Jordanian spiced rice dish that is mixed with cauliflower, eggplant, potatoes, and meat (e.g. chicken) which is traditionally served with plain yogurt.
Biryani- This is similar to Indian biryani but it is my Khaleej Arabic version that is mixed with basmati rice, chicken, and other Middle Eastern spices.
Tips and Hints
- The basmati rice must be washed at least 3 times and then soaked for 30 minutes before cooking it to remove the excess starch and have nice fluffy rice.
- Browning the onion and then adding it to the rice will enhance the flavor of the kabsa.
- Make sure you have enough water when cooking the beef in the pressure cooker to prevent the dish from drying out.
- Using beef with bones will add more flavor to the broth during the cooking process.
- If you notice there is less broth after using the pressure cooker, add more water if needed.
- It is better to use ready-made kabsa spice- which is found in middle eastern grocery stores since it is more convenient and easy to use. Making your spice is quite time-consuming.
- You can add red chili powder or green chilies to make your kabsa spicy.
Frequently Asked Questions
The word Kabsa (كبسة) is an Arabic word meaning “pressing” or “pressured,” which refers to the cooking technique used in preparing the dish
It is traditionally served with Middle Eastern salads like fatoush, tabouleh, or any Arabic salad. In addition, you can serve it with plain yogurt or yogurt garlic sauce.
Traditionally, you can use other meat like chicken or lamb instead of beef. They all blend with this recipe and taste delicious.
Ideally, you need to use meat as a protein since this is traditional in Saudi Arabia and in Khaleej Arab countries. However, you can use tofu, chickpeas, or lentil as a substitute for meat in kabsa since they contain rich sources of proteins.
You can store it in the fridge for up to 5 days. But if you want to preserve it longer for up to 2 months, you can store it in a plastic container in the freezer
???? Recipe Card
Beef Kabsa is a national dish of Saudi Arabia that contain beef cooked in tomato sauce, spices, and served with flavorful basmati rice.
- 1 Kilo Beef Ribs / Shanks
- 2.5 cups of basmati rice
- 4 cups of water
- 2 cups of tomato sauce
- 1 piece of large red onion chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic chopped
- 3 tablespoon of kabsa spice
- 2 teaspoon of cumin
- 2 black lemon
- 1 medium cinnamon stick
- 3 bay leaves
- 5 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 2 teaspoons of black pepper
Add vegetable oil to the pressure cooker.
Add half of the chopped red onion and garlic. Saute till it turns translucent. Set aside the remaining half of the chopped red onion.
Add the beef, kabsa spice, and the other spices & herbs. Mix gently
Pour water and tomato sauce. Mix gently.
Cover with the lid and the pressure valve. Cook the beef for 35-40 minutes or until it becomes soft.
While the beef is still being cooked in the pressure cooker, caramelize or browned the red onion in a separate pan. Set it aside after.
Once the beef is already soft and cooked, add the rinsed basmati rice and the browned red onion.
Cover with the lid again and let the rice cook for 10 minutes.
When there is less water, adjust in low heat and gently stir the rice to prevent sticking to the pot.
Once the rice is soft and fluffy, transfer it on a large plate and serve it with salad and plain yogurt.
- Wash the basmati rice at least 3 times and then soaked in water for 30 minutes before cooking it.
- Add more water if needed
- Browning the onion will help intensify the flavor of the kabsa.
- It is better to use beef with bones since the broth will absorb more flavor.
Serving: 5gCalories: 795kcalCarbohydrates: 83.5gProtein: 50.5gFat: 26.9gSaturated Fat: 2.9gSodium: 800mgPotassium: 431mgFiber: 3.3gSugar: 4.6gCalcium: 65mgIron: 2mg