Kabsa Fahm (Ruz Bukhari) of Saudi Arabia

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Whenever we pick a Middle Eastern dish, a wave of responsibility and reverence washes over me. When a corner of the world faces such turmoil, I feel the need to honor that place, and those people, with integrity and respect. Though the action is small, my thoughts while cooking are grounded in making a connection to a place which more often feels divided from our world, rather than apart of it. And the few strings that are attaching us to one another are made of tension, anger, misunderstanding, and hostility.

One of my favorite gifts I’ve received was given by my sister Maggie for my 25th birthday: a year long subscription to National Geographic. A couple months prior to making Saudi Arabia’s dish, I read an article about the changing (albeit slowly and softly) culture for women in Saudi Arabia. I highly recommend it.

Lastly, this dish was very enjoyable. The tomato sauce added some cohesiveness and interest to yet another chicken and rice dish. The raisins in the rice are a must, and though spice mixes can look intimidating… It’s worth it. Save the extras for another international dish, or any weekday night to add interest to a normal dish.

Ingredient List

For the Chicken
  • garlic clove
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • olive oil
  • kabsa spice mix (see details further down)
For the Rice
  • basmati rice
  • butter (preferably ghee/clarified butter)
  • chicken broth
  • turmeric
  • carrots
  • raisins
  • salt
Daqous (Spiced Tomato Sauce)
  • finely crushed tomatoes / tomato puree
  • tomato paste
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • olive oil
  • cumin
  • tahini (roasted sesame paste)
  • garlic cloves
  • baharat spice mix (see details further down)
Baharat spice mix (mix all ingredients together and use only ½ tsp)
  • black pepper
  • ground coriander
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground cloves
  • ground cumin
  • ground cardamom
  • ground nutmeg
  • paprika powder
Kabsa spice mix (mix all ingredients together and use only ½ tsp)
  • saffron
  • ground cardamom
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground allspice
  • black pepper
  • ground dried lime
  • ground fennel seeds (optional)
  • ground coriander (optional)

Quick Quotes

S: “I am glad it wasn’t lamb again. I enjoyed the meal quite a bit. Perhaps lamb would have made it feel more authentic.”

T: “I really liked the tomato sauce, rice, and raisins. This was simple to make, just a lot of spices!”

Trivial Trifles

  • The capital of Saudi Arabia is Riyadh
  • The official language is Arabic
  • It is the birthplace of Islam, and is home to two of the world’s most sacred mosques, Masjid al-Haram (of Mecca) and Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (of Medina, burial site of the prophet, Muhammad). It also is the only country to claim the Quran as its constitution
  • It is the only nation-state where women are not allowed to drive automobiles
  • Saudi Arabia is one of the few countries not to accept the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights
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