Kabsa (Arabic: كبسة) is a family of rice dishes that are served mostly in Saudi Arabia — where it is commonly regarded as a national dish — and the other Arab states of the Persian Gulf. Kabsa, though, is believed to be indigenous to Yemen. In places like Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait the dish is popularly known as majbūs (Arabic: مجبوس) or machbūs (Arabic: مكبوس), but is served mostly in the same way.
These dishes are mainly made from a mixture of spices, rice (usually long-grain basmati), meat and vegetables. There are many kinds of kabsa and each kind has a uniqueness about it. The spices used in kabsa are largely responsible for its taste; these are generally black pepper, cloves, cardamom, saffron, cinnamon, black lime, bay leaves and nutmeg. The main ingredient that accompanies the spices is the meat, such as chicken, goat, lamb, camel, or sometimes beef, fish, and shrimp. In chicken machbūs, a whole chicken is used. The spices, rice and meat may be augmented with almonds, pine nuts, onions and raisins. The dish can be garnished with ḥashū (Arabic: حشو) and served hot with daqqūs (Arabic: دقوس) — home-made tomato sauce.
Meat for kabsa can be cooked in various ways. A popular way of preparing meat is called mandi. This is an ancient technique, whereby meat is barbecued in a deep hole in the ground that is covered while the meat cooks. Another way of preparing and serving meat for kabsa is mathbi, where seasoned meat is grilled on flat stones that are placed on top of burning embers. A third technique, madghūt, involves cooking the meat in a Pressure cooker.