Rice with chicken and spices – a typical dish of Qatar and Saudi Arabia – 03/06/2022 – Recipes from Marcao

Rice with chicken and spices – a typical dish of Qatar and Saudi Arabia – 03/06/2022 – Recipes from Marcao

Today we will talk about the food of the host of the Qatar Cup.

The most traditional dish in Qatar is called mahbous, sometimes spelled “makbous” or “mahboo”. It’s a big pot of rice with chicken, something remotely similar to our chicken.

The Qataris share the taste of mahbus with other countries in the Arabian Peninsula such as Bahrain, Oman and of course Saudi Arabia. If you look at a map, you will see that Qatar is a very small country (it takes up about half the area of ​​Sergipe). It is surrounded on one side by the sea; on the other hand, the Saudis.

In Saudi Arabia, chicken rice also has the status of a national dish, but there it is better known as kabsa with slight variations in the recipe, which can also be made with lamb, goat, seafood, and even camel.

In mahbus, everything is cooked in one pot: rice, chicken and spices. Rice in the original recipe should be of the Basmati variety, but the national agulinha is enough for the cost.

In mahbus spice blend, turmeric (also called turmeric) is the most prominent ingredient in flavor and color. Nutmeg, cumin, coriander, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and paprika are also used in proportions that may vary depending on the taste of the client.

For example, I took cloves and cinnamon very lightly, since I’m not a big fan.

A hard-to-find—if not impossible—component is the lumi, or black lemon, a lemon that has been completely dehydrated to a solid state. The closest thing you can find here is dried lemon wedges used in making cocktails.

The number of legs in the recipe is not accidental: on the trays that come from the refrigerator, there are usually five legs, but you can use more or less. I don’t recommend using the breast only, it’s too dry for this dish.

In Arab countries, mahbus/qabsa is served in the center of the table in the pot itself or on a shared plate and eaten with the hands. It’s okay if you prefer to use cutlery.

Chicken Mahbus

Yield: 2 to 3 servings

Difficulty: medium


1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds.

1 tablespoon of cumin powder.

1 tablespoon sweet paprika.

2 tablespoons of turmeric.

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg.

Salt to taste.

5 chicken thighs (or two thighs with a drumstick)

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.

1 large onion, chopped.

2 cloves of garlic.

1 bay leaf.

3 pods of cardamom.

2 slices of dehydrated lemon

1 stick of cinnamon.

1 clove.

1 cup (200 g) basmati rice or rice

Fresh coriander to taste.

For serving: fried onions, raisins and almond flakes.


1. Prepare a spice mix with ground coriander, cumin, paprika, nutmeg and turmeric. Season the chicken with a little of this mixture and salt to taste.

2. Heat the oil over low heat in a saucepan large enough to hold all the rice. Brown the chicken pieces. To book. Preheat oven to 200°C.

3. Fry the onion in the same pan. When soft, add the garlic, bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, and dehydrated lemon. Saute until the onion starts to brown.

4. Add about 750 ml of water. When it boils, add half of the chicken (if using only thighs, add two or three and leave the rest to roast).

5. When the chicken is tender enough to separate the meat from the thighs, separate them from the broth. Discard the bones and return the mince to the pot.

6. Bake the reserved thighs for about half an hour.

7. In the meantime, remove the lemons, bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves (or whatever you can catch) from the broth. refuse. Add rice and coriander leaves. Cook over low heat, uncovered, until dry. Add more water if necessary.

8. Serve rice with fried thighs, raisins, fried onions and almonds.

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