A few weeks ago my sister, who works as a nurse in a large children's hospital, sent me a text. She was caring for a Saudi Arabian family, and they shared a chicken and rice dish with her which she loved. But when she asked for the recipe (and she noted their English was good), they said: "Recipe? What does this word mean?"
Well, sister, I think I finally have the recipe for you here! Kabsa (or kapsa) is the national dish of Saudi Arabia, and this recipe feels pretty authentic since it's written first in Arabic and then translated for English readers. And it is yellow, yummy, and flavorful just like you described!
Although the recipe said it served 2-3 people, my pan made enough food for two meals for our family. And I'm totally fine with that, because it's delicious! I doubled the spices in the kabsa spice mix, and upped the rice to 2 cups. Instead of pulling the chicken out onto a separate pan to broil, I baked the rice and chicken together in the oven for 45 minutes. Next time I'll probably make it with boneless chicken thighs for convenience, because my whole chicken chopping skills leave a bit to be desired.
We can't seem to get away from the ubiquitous cucumber salad! The traditional accompaniments to kebsa, according to this blog post, are fresh yogurt, a spicy tomato sauce called daqous, and cucumber tomato salad. And even though we're ready for a new side dish, it was the perfect complement.
In traditional Saudi style we ate dinner on a cloth on the floor. We joked that we should really go traditional and serve Daddy first before any of us women got to eat, but how fun would that be? This meal was fun, especially after a week of reading stories from One Thousand and One Nights, and having Aladdin's Arabian Nights firmly stuck in my head.
When the wind's from the east
And the sun's from the west
And the sand in the glass is right
Come on down stop on by
Hop a carpet and fly
To another Arabian night!