Lamb Kabsa

The black lime in this dish will give your kabsa a unique smoky flavor. A true Middle Eastern taste. Kabsa is Saudi Arabia’s most popular dish which I have previously mentioned in my Chicken Kabsa recipe post. This lamb is so full of flavor and tender that the meat actually falls from the bones. If your in a hurry you can easily substitute kabsa or Arabic spice mix instead of the various spices in this recipe.

1 kilogram lamb chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tomato
1 onion
1 teaspoon cumin
4 green cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste
1 cinnamon stick
4 ounces tomato sauce
1 black lime
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1-1/2 cups basmati rice
Pinch saffron
4 cloves
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, for garnish
 fried pine nuts and almonds, for garnish.

1. In a 4-quart saucepan on high heat add lamb and cover with water and add chicken cubes. Allow to come to a full boil then reduce heat to low and cover. When done reserve lamb broth. Meanwhile in a food processor add onion and pulse until diced, remove and then do the same with the tomato being careful not to puree. Sit aside.

2. In a saute pan on medium heat, add oil and onions. Allow onions to cook until tender. Add tomato, tomato sauce, cumin, cardamom, pepper, salt, cinnamon, black lime, ginger, cloves and saffron. Allow to cook for 1 minute.

3. Add rice and saute for another minute marinating in the spice mixture. Add meat and carefully push down so no rice is above meat. Pour lamb broth very carefully on top of mixture. Broth should be 1/2 inch above mix. Bring to a full boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Allow to cook 30-40 minutes minutes, until rice has fully cooked. DO NOT remove lid until finished.

4. Place on serving platter. Garnish top with nuts and cilantro.

Yields: 4 servings

43 Responses to Lamb Kabsa

  • Anonymous says:


    Jizak’Allah Khair sister. Most of the family members in my home liked this kapsa dish ALOT. Will be making this again insha’Allah.

  • Noor says:

    Meeso black lime is also called dried lemon. That is pretty much what it is a dried lemon or lime. Here they smoke them so they are actually black and have this yummy smokey lemon flavor. You can find this at any Arabic store anywhere.

    I am glad everyone liked it. You can never go wrong with kabsa.

  • andaluss says:

    I have been looking for an authentic recipe, I guess I just found it! Thanks for sharing. I also would like to invite you to check out my blog for some Moroccan goodies..

  • Mommy Apprentice says:

    I am making this right now! I’ve made chicken kabsa once and loved it so I thought I’d try your recipe! Shukran for posting this!

  • Noor says:

    I hope that it turned out great for you. Let me know how you liked it. You should try my chicken kabsa :)

  • Unknown says:

    I love your saleeq dajaja recipe. I am looking forward to trying this one. And @meeso – you can find black limes (also called lumi or Omani limes) can be found in virtually any halal market in the US.

  • Umm says:

    Salam alaikum sister it is UmmBinat, This was good even though I did not use a chicken bullion cube because of allergies but I am sure it would be better with it. I also use canola oil instead of sunflower oil as I don’t like the taste it gives & tomato paste for the 4 oz tomato sauce as I think that is what was meant. I will make a different version for our diet next time insha Allah.

  • Kristin says:

    Salaams Noor! Alhumdulilah I found your blog a couple months ago, you were an answer to my prayers! I’m American and married to a Saudi man from the Ad-Damman area and we have 4 kids. We live in Denver, CO. We’ve been married for 14 years and he has taught me how to cook Kabsa, Saloona and some of the most popular Saudi dishes but I was boring us by cooking the same meals over and over and there are only so many times you can get recipes over the phone from my Saudi family and a lot gets lost in the translation I am sure, lol. I have tried almost all if your middle eastern/biryani recipes and we LOVE them all, mashaAllah! Please post more Saudi
    recipes, inshaAllah!!!! Thank you thank you thank you!!!!! Oh and I’ve even made some of your southern recipes. I’m a native Texan ;)

    I’m cooking this lamb kabsa as I type this! How long do you normally have to cook your lamb pieces until tender? I usually mess up meat recipes bc I do not boil the meat long enough ;(

  • Noor says:

    Wa Alaykum Salam wow thank you so much for your kinds words I started my blog bc I was once like you and also wanted to help people that were feeling that way. Back them you could not find ANY Saudi recipes lol.

    Lamb is tricky a lot of westerns mess it up bc they do not cook it very long and here in Saudi you let it cook for a few hours at the least when baking etc.

    However bc these are cubes it does not take as long maybe an hour :)

  • Noor says:

    btw you should mail me I would love to get to know you more yasalamcooking at gmail dot com

  • Kristin says:

    I WILL email you soon, inshaAllah! I already feel like I know you, lol. I never felt comfortable inviting my husband’s cousins and friends over bc I was so insecure. I cooked decent before but I’m kinda a perfectionist, lol, and I don’t want to serve food that isn’t restaurant style and on point, hehe. I’ve invited so many of his peeps over and now they actually request my food (your recipes, hehe)! I love when they say “Ya Salam” and ask for seconds and they tell me it’s just like “back home”. I know I have a lot to learn but through you, I have gained so much confidence! You are like my cooking soul sister, lol!!! I totally trust that your recipes will turn out delicious! I do modify and add stuff (that I know my husband likes) but you are the one sister! May Allah continue to bless you and enable you to express your talents, inshaAllah! I think you’ve put some pizazz in my marriage too, lol, and we were already deeply in love. It’s so exciting to “wow” my husband day after day. Al-humdulilah!

    Oh btw, I’m a big fan of taking pics if my food now, hehe…

  • Noor says:

    YA mabrook so glad it turned out good for you all as well as your other recipes. Your doing better than I was bc when I got married I could not even boil rice and my dh had to eat raw chicken LOL.

    Can not wait to see some of your food pictures and hear from you <3

  • Staci says:

    Hi Noor! I just moved here to Saudi (Yanbu) from the states with my american husband and two girls. I am happy to find your blog so that I can cook some of these great Saudi dishes. I read the comments and you mentioned that you cooked the lamb for just an hour? Looking forward to this dish and many more! :) (and trying to navigate the grocery stores!)

  • Noor says:

    Hi Staci I hope you like Saudi. I have never been to that city where is it? Yes, the lamb is only small cubes so it does not take long to cook. It does not even take me an hour. You should just cook until no longer pink :)

  • Staci says:

    Hi Noor. :) Yanbu is about 3 hours north of Jeddah. Right on the Red Sea. Nice little town. But, it seems groceries here are more limited than in the larger cities. Going to give this recipe a try tonight! Can’t wait! My first official Saudi dish. :D Thanks again!

  • From Yeast to Zest says:

    I’m making this today, sounds yummy and doesn’t call for those Saudi whole spices I don’t have in hand. Glad you mentioned the food processor cause I sure don’t feel like chopping anything. Did I spell chopping right? That word always gets me. Yumm with some salta (whatever it’s called) I’m going now.

  • Sun Cuisine says:

    your Kabsa looks yammy ! I just came up with my own version of Kabsa that I learned while living in KSA ..Take a look :)

  • leilayasmin says:

    Have made this a couple of times now, it’s really nice and your recipe was easy to follow. My husband, who is half Saudi, really enjoyed the dish, as did my children. A definite keeper! Keep up the good work Noor!

  • Yuyun says:

    Salam Noor, Im from Malaysia. Ive tried lamb kabsa in many of Arab restaurants here in KL and I love the taste and the tenderness of the lamb. I would like to try to cook by myself using your recipe. Hope it will turn out more delicious than the restaurant one. Wish me luck ok.

  • Noor says:

    My husband and I love Malay food you can give me recipes anytime inshAllah. I hope this turns out perfect for you :)

  • Noor says:

    I am sorry I just saw the other comments on this I am not getting them like I should but thank you all for taking the time to comment and telling me you enjoyed it I am truly happy :)

  • Iman says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I’ve been looking everywhere for one. My parents have Saudi friends and we would always eat kabsa and the recipes I found before sounded nothing like what we used to eat except yours. Yay! I’m making this now and iA we will have an awesome Iftar. :)

  • Noor says:

    Thank you so much I really appreciate it and inshAllah I hope you and your family have a nice iftar.

  • Selwa Osta says:

    Salam Noor, I am very excited to try this Saudi rice dish. My husband is Lebanese and my father is also, so middle eastern food is on our daily menu. I learned a lot about cooking Lebanese food after living with my husband and our family in Beirut. But we eat it all the time and we need to spice our menu up a bit while still convincing our two little girls to eat it lol. On another note my husband and myself have been planning a our visit to Saudi Arabia along with our visit to Lebanon , we have family there as well and being Muslim it is most definitely a destination we are eager to make. So i am sure this recipe will help us prepare us for the great food we will taste along our trip. I am really excited to come across this site and your recipes. I will have to post an update on how the recipe went for us. Thanks so much, Salam.

    • Noor says:

      Wa ALaykum Salam, I am so glad you found my site as well. I love Lebanese food mashAllah and we have plenty of it here in Saudi sometimes more than Saudi lol. I would love to hear how you all liked it and if you did.

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  • Aisha says:

    Asalam Alaikum Sister, I’ve been cooking Kabsa for a while now and today I followed your recipe. The flavours are delicious however my rice always turns a little soggy. Do you have any tips?

    • Noor says:

      Wa Alaykum Salam, thank you so much and I am glad you like it. Sometimes depending on where you live you may need a bit more or less of something so if your rice is getting soggy then you need to add less water. I use double whatever rice I cook so when I cup 1 cup of rice I use 2 cups of water.

  • mariam says:


  • Muhammad Awais says:

    thanks for the recipe mate, is this also a recipe for laham mandy ? i recently visited dubai and eat laham mandi there at dragon mart i am literally gone mad about that yummy rices with juicy beef , please share a recipe for laham mandi as well bro. i got a lot of beef on this eid ul adha

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