Chicken Machboos of Bahrain

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More chicken and rice?! Yes, friends. Many countries feel the need to celebrate these two simple ingredients. Some dishes do a better job of enhancing the ingredients. To Bahrain, I applaud you.

This recipe happened to be fantastic. The seasoning, quintessential Middle Eastern with a vast landscape of flavors, was beautifully balanced. (Note, we have had a Maqboos recipe from Oman prior to this, where I failed miserably creating that balance.) I have been waiting for a good recipe that I can make at home to satisfy my need for spice. One of my favorite parts of this journey so far is tracking down and collecting various spices. It’s gotten a little out of hand… and I need a new system. Maybe just a bigger box.


The spice mixture, Baharat, will take some time, and you will need a spice grinder if you have whole seeds. I made Baharat previous to this recipe, and using ground spices, adjusted the amounts accordingly.

Lastly, you must purchase Rose Water for this dish. Sprinkle it over the meal, and it elevates your experience with a fragrant aroma and pleasant flavor. Rose Water was new, exciting, and made my nostrils dance. Though we must warn you to not drink it by itself. Spencer and I attest that it tastes lousy on its own.

Ingredient List

  •  onions, diced
  • ghee or unsalted butter
  • baharat (see recipe below)
  • turmeric
  • vegetable oil
  • A combination of chicken thighs, legs and breasts
  • 1 hot green chile
  • fresh ginger, minced
  • garlic
  • roma tomatoes
  • dried limes
  • green cardamom pods
  • ground cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • salt
  • chicken stock
  • basmati rice
  • fresh cilantro
  • fresh parsley
  • Rosewater

For the Homemade Baharat:

  • black peppercorns
  • cumin seeds
  • coriander seeds
  • cinnamon stick
  • whole cloves
  • green cardamom seeds
  • paprika powder
  • ground nutmeg

Quick Quotes

S: “This was awesome. Rice was amazing, spices were exciting. Rose water is very interesting. It tastes like shit alone, but it tastes good on the rice. Cardamom smells good!”

T: “Loved it! Everything I want from the Middle Eastern cuisine!”

Trivial Trifles

  • The capital of Bahrain is Manama
  • The official language is Arabic
  • It is known for its pearl fisheries
  • Bahrain is the site of one of the ancient Dilmun civilization, one of the oldest of the Middle East
  • In 2002, women were able to vote and run in national elections for the first time



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