My husband Khaled cooks for me once a year. The very first time he made this Kabsah [it’s the only thing he really makes besides steak] I was blown away with its deliciousness. It is quick, easy and does not sacrifice taste. When I am crunched for time, this is what I usually make. I asked him where he learnt this and he told at the Yemeni Bachelor pad he stayed in before we got married. He added, “We made it every day! Different person every day but the same recipe.” What makes it convenient is that you can use any spice mix for this, but Hawayej Shirkah [mixture of ground cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamon, pepper, and sometimes turmeric] is the one typically used by Yemenis for this one. I am sure before Yemeni brothers migrate from Yemen their mothers, sisters or wives send them with a big bag of this mixed spice. But you can use any spice mix–Garam Masala or even Biryani mixes work equally well. They usually use one pot that they can start on the stove and then place in the oven.
You will need [serves 4] :
1) 1 chicken or 1 lb of lamb cut into medium pieces. If you are using lamb then boil it until it is well done.
2) 1 cup and a 1/2 of rice half boiled [which means boiled until almost done, but not quite]
3) 1 tsp and a 1/2 of the spice mix of your choice
4) 2 clovers of garlic roughly crushed
5) 1 tomato roughly chopped
6) 1 green chilly pepper roughly chopped
7) 1 tblsp of cilantro roughly chopped
8) 2 medium potatoes quartered
9) yellow / orange rice coloring
10) medium onion roughly chopped into slices
11) 2-3 tbslp of oil
Alright let’s begin! In the pot, under medium high heat, add the onion slices and let brown a little. Then add the oil and potatoes. When the onion has browned, add the meat, garlic, spice, tomatoes, green chilly, and cilantro. Let cook for 5 minutes and then add 1 cup of water and let cook until the potato is almost done [but not quite]. Layer all the rice on top. Sprinkle a little of the food coloring and about 2 tbslp of water and place in oven for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s done. Serve hot with your favorite salad.