Simply Lebanese

Lamb Kabsa

Lamb Kabsa
  • Prep Time
    10 mins.
  • Cook Time
    1 hr. 30 mins.
  • Serving
    4
Spiced rice, tender lamb, and toasted nuts come together for a delicious and classic dish known as Lamb Kabsa. This hearty meal would be the perfect way to use the traditional lamb meat eaten during the Muslim holiday Eid Al-Adha.
Lamb Kabsa

Kabsa is a fragrant rice dish that can be made with chicken, lamb or beef. This one pot meal is very popular in the gulf area of the Arabian-peninsula such as in Dubai, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and many more countries. However, this dish originated in Saudi Arabia and is known as their national dish.

In this Lamb Kabsa, the lamb is cooked in a tomato sauce with onions and carrots with a delicious spice blend until the lamb becomes tender. I then add the rice and more spices until cooked and finish off this dish served with toasted pine nuts, almonds, cashews and dried cranberries.

What kind of Lamb Meat to use?

With Eid Al-Adha being just a few days away, I wanted to experiment cooking with lamb. Traditionally, lamb is served on Eid after it has been freshly slaughtered. It honors the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) when God asked him to sacrifice his son for him. But, before he did, God provided a lamb to sacrifice instead. So, every Eid al-Adha, an animal typically a lamb or sheep is sacrificed and the meat is divided with some of it being served to family and friends and some of it being donated to those less fortunate.

Lamb Kabsa

When it comes to lamb, I am most familiar with cooking and eating lamb chops. I love grilling them, and cooking them with my grape leaves. I make chicken Kabsa quite often and have had the lamb variety before but, had never prepared it myself. I was able to find Lamb lions with quite a bit of meat on them to use for this dish and ultimately, I am very happy with the results. The lamb was tender and very flavorful. Lamb shanks would also work wonderfully with this dish and they present beautifully. I also saw a few recipes using lamb thighs, so those should work as well.

Kabsa Spices

What makes Kabsa such a fragrant and delicious dish, is the variety of spices used. More often than not, you can find pre-made spice mixes for Kabsa at any Middle-eastern or even Indian grocery store. It would save you some time since it requires quite the variety of spices.

Kabsa Spices

However, if you would like to make your own blend, I have come up with a spice blend that closely resembles the pre-made one I tend to have on hand. The most vital spices in this blend are turmeric, fennel, coriander, ginger, black pepper and black cardamom. I also added cumin, all spice and red chili powder. Also, when I was cooking the lamb, I added bay leaves, cloves, green cardamom pods, a cinnamon stick and a dried lemon. These aromatics help remove the potent lamb smell while adding even more delicious flavor to the dish.

STEP 1

Finely chop the large onion and wash, peel and grate the carrots. Set aside.

**Prepare the kabsa spice by grinding all the whole spices and mixing together very well. Spice mix makes about 7 teaspoons of kabsa. Store the unused kabsa spice in an airtight container or baggie.  

STEP 2

In a large deep pot, add ¼ cup of the oil and chopped onion and sauté until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes.

STEP 3

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt on the lamb and add to the pot. Sauté for about 2 minutes on each side. Add enough water to cover the lamb and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Lamb Kabsa
Lamb Kabsa

Strain the water from the pot, leaving behind the lamb and onions.

Lamb Kabsa

Add 2 tablespoons of oil, the shredded carrots, 2 tsp. of the kabsa spice, 1 tsp of salt, and all the aromatics (Bay leaves, cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon stick and dried lemon). Sauté for 5 minutes.

Lamb Kabsa

STEP 4

Add the cup of tomato puree and 4 cups of water. Cook over high heat until it comes to a boil, lower to medium heat and cover with the lid. Let cook for about 45-60 minutes until the lamb has fully cooked and become tender. Make sure to mix every now and then and add more water as needed.

Lamb Kabsa
Lamb Kabsa

STEP 5

Wash the rice until it runs clear. Add over the cooked lamb, along with the remaining 2 teaspoons of kabsa spice blend, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 2 ½ cups of water.

Mix everything together very well and let come to a boil over high heat. After 5 minutes, lower the heat, cover and let the rice cook over low heat for about 15 minutes until fully cooked and fluffy.

Lamb Kabsa

STEP 6

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to a small skillet and sauté the nuts for about 2 minutes until slightly browned. Set aside to serve over the prepared rice and lamb.

Lamb Kabsa
Lamb Kabsa

Lamb Kabsa

Spiced rice, tender lamb, and toasted nuts come together for a delicious and classic dish known as Lamb Kabsa. This hearty meal would be the perfect way to use the traditional lamb meat eaten during the Muslim holiday Eid Al-Adha.
4.91 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Lebanese
Keyword: kabsa, lamb, lamb kabsa
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 749kcal
Author: Iman

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Lamb Loins (or Lamb Shanks or Thighs)
  • 1.5 cups Basmati Rice
  • 1 cup Tomato Puree (or Crushed Tomatoes)
  • 1 lg. Onion
  • 2 Carrots (Shredded)
  • ½ cup Avocado Oil (or Ghee or Butter)
  • 3 tsp. Kabsa Spice
  • 3 tsp. Salt
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 Dried Lemon
  • 4 Cardamom Pods
  • ½ tsp. Cloves
  • 2 tb. Pine Nuts
  • ¼ cup Cashews
  • ¼ cup Sliced Almonds

Kabasa Spice Blend

  • 1 tsp. Turmeric
  • 1 tsp. Coriander
  • 1 tsp. Fennel
  • ½ tsp. Ginger
  • ½ tsp. All Spice
  • ½ tsp. Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. Chili Powder
  • ½ tsp. Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp. Black Cardamom

Instructions

  • Finely chop the large onion and wash, peel and grate the carrots. Set aside.
    **Prepare the kabsa spice by grinding all the whole spices and mixing together very well. Spice mix makes about 7 teaspoons of kabsa. Store the unused kabsa spice in an airtight container or baggie.
  • In a large deep pot, add ¼ cup of the oil and chopped onion and sauté until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt on the lamb and add to the pot. Sauté for about 2 minutes on each side. Add enough water to cover the lamb and let simmer for 10 minutes.
    Strain the water from the pot, leaving behind the lamb and onions. Add 2 tablespoons of oil, the shredded carrots, 2 tsp. of the kabsa spice, 1 tsp of salt, and all the aromatics (Bay leaves, cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon stick and dried lemon). Sauté for 5 minutes.
  • Add the cup of tomato puree and 4 cups of water. Cook over high heat until it comes to a boil, lower to medium heat and cover with the lid. Let cook for about 45-60 minutes until the lamb has fully cooked and become tender. Make sure to mix every now and then and add more water as needed.
  • Wash the rice until it runs clear. Add over the cooked lamb, along with the remaining 2 teaspoons of kabsa spice blend, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 2 ½ cups of water. Mix everything together very well and let come to a boil over high heat. After 5 minutes, lower the heat, cover and let the rice cook over low heat for about 15 minutes until fully cooked and fluffy.
  • Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to a small skillet and sauté the nuts for about 2 minutes until slightly browned. Set aside to serve over the prepared rice and lamb.

Nutrition

Calories: 749kcal | Carbohydrates: 80g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 1494mg | Potassium: 810mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 5695IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 137mg | Iron: 5mg

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    Recipe Reviews

    • Christiane rosenblum

      Hi., Cani make this recipe the day before ?

      • Iman

        Yes, you can! The lamb might not be as tender when you reheat it but will still be delicious.

    • S

      Hello
      I would love to try this
      Is it possible to make this in the pressure cooker and how would I do that if possible
      Thank you

      • Iman

        You can cook the lamb for about 15 min in the pressure cooker then move to a regular pot to cook the rice!

    • Leila

      Can I use chicken instead of lamb for this recipe?

      • Iman

        Yes, you can definitely substitute chicken instead. The cook time will differ a bit so, keep an eye on it! Enjoy.

    • Ceri Bosley

      5 stars
      It’s absolutely lovely. Now looking for a salad side dish to serve with it!

    • Laura

      My husband was raving about Saudi rice when after his Hajj trip last year so I was looking for a good recipe and I think I found it! One thing, I did feel like it was too much water to add at the end, and it was. My rice turned out a little too soggy so I think next time I’ll only add 1 cup rather than 2.5. It still tastes brilliant though!

      • Iman

        Glad you liked it! I am sure the type of rice you use makes a difference as well..

    • Armand

      5 stars
      Awesome Recipes

      • Iman

        Thank you!

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