By Norah Alwalan
First let me introduce myself, my name is Norah Alwalan and I am currently studying abroad in the US. It has been about a month and a half since I last was in Saudi Arabia. School is about a month in and I have just spent about the whole weekend doing schoolwork. I miss my family, and more pertinently I miss my family’s food. I am starving for some home cooked Saudi meals and I am just about gathering the courage to venture into the kitchen and make the recipes I’ve dreaded for so long. I decide I want to make Chicken Kabsa, the dish we had for lunch twice a week almost every week growing up, and a dish I had always assumed only mothers and professionals could pull off. I decide my first step should be to venture into the internet to find recipes, which unfortunately led me into a few snags.
Almost every recipe called for ingredients I had no way of procuring in the small Indiana college town I was in. Many called for appliances and tools I did not have in the small kitchen of my one-bedroom apartment. However, I refused to let that deter me and decided to go to the supermarket to get some general ingredients I saw in almost all recipe.
My plan here was to wing it, if anything I would have a simplified Chicken Kabsa-adjacent recipe. On the way to the supermarket, I call my sister back home and ask her what spices we usually use in our homemade Kabsa. She lists a few ingredients, I make note of them, and I hope I can find them in the supermarket near campus. Luckily, I found most of them and I headed back to my apartment to begin cooking. The following are the general ingredients and steps I used.
- 2-1/2 cups Long Grain Basmati Rice
- 250g Chicken Cubes
- Chopped Onions
- Diced Tomatoes
- Vegetable Oil
- Tomato paste (optional)
- Raisins (optional)
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 3/4 tsp pepper
- 3/4 finely grinded cardamom
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1/8 tsp cloves powder
- 2 small Bay leaves
Once the time is up for the chicken, the water should have evaporated a little to start showing the tops of some of your chicken.
Serve and Enjoy.
Optional: Lightly oil a pan, fry some raising to add as topping to your rice. Once the raisins brown, take them off the pan and put them on tissue paper to absorb the oil.
I absolutely love the result. A simplified Chicken Kabsa for the amateur in all of us. Admittedly, this recipe does not rival my mother’s. However, I am very happy I got to have a little bit of home for Sunday dinner.