F1 Food Challenge – Chicken Kabsa

Week two of my Formula 1 food challenge! Saudi Arabia was an interesting race wasn’t it? I’m still waiting for Daniel Ricciardo to get back into the swing of things.

The food for this week was very similar to the Chicken Machboos I made last week, with a few variations on the spice front. Food from this part of the world is all new to me, so again I used a recipe I found online. I was lucky enough to find a premade Kabsa spice mix at my local Turkish supermarket (which is genuinely one of my favourite places at the moment), so that cut down a lot of prep time.

I really enjoyed this, probably more so than the Machboos – I think the main difference was the sultanas and heavier presence of cinnamon, both of which added a subtle sweet character to the food. I’d strongly recommend trying both the Machboos and the Kabsa, and would love to hear your thoughts on which you prefer!

Anyway, onto the recipe:


  • 2.5 tsp Kabsa spice
  • 2 tbsp oil (I used a bit of butter as well)
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 thumb sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 green chilies
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 6 cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • Pinch of nutmeg powder
  • 0.5 tsp black pepper
  • 0.25 tsp ground cumin
  • 0.5 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 large carrots, finely chopped
  • Tin of tomatoes (x200g)
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • Six chicken thighs
  • 1.5 cups basmati rice
  • Handful of raisins
  • Slivered almonds to garnish


  1. Heat oil and butter in a large pan over medium-high heat. Throw in the onions, garlic, ginger, and chilies. Cook for a few minutes, when the onions turn golden brown, add the bay leaves, cardamom, and cinnamon stick.
  2. Add the tomato puree, nutmeg, pepper, cumin, coriander and kabsa spice. After a few minutes, add the carrots and tomatoes. Let this cook for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add chicken stock cube and chicken pieces. Let this cook for about 30 minutes, and preheat oven to around 200 degrees.
  4. Remove chicken from the pan, and roast in the oven for about 10-15 minutes. While this is cooking, add the rice to the sauce along with 4 cups of water.
  5. Bring the rice to the boil, reduce the heat, cover with lid and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Serve rice with chicken, and throw some slivered almonds on top; enjoy!

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