Vegan Kabsa | Arabian Chick’un & Rice

Yields: 2 Servings Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 10 Mins Cook Time: 40 Mins Total Time: 50 Mins

Continuing my current binge of making meaty dishes with seitan, here is a vegan kabsa! Chicken kabsa is a Saudi Arabian rice that is very popular in the Middle East. It has its similarities to biryani in South Asia, but is of course not entirely the same.

A very special ingredient in kabsa is loomi or dried black lime. Fresh limes are brined then sun-dried to create a knobbly and shriveled dark grey ball. Initially, I was not going to make this dish as I don’t have access to loomi here. Luckily, my friend in Dubai said that they sometimes make it with fresh lemon too! It does taste slightly different though. You lose the smoky and musky flavour but you get an extra freshness that is so appetizing.

There are many ways to serve the protein in a kabsa. Some like to only cook the meat with the rice; others like to bake it casserole style; and many like to grill the protein for that extra flavour. I chose to grill, but you can totally do this as a one-pot meal.  Traditionally, this dish is served with slivered almonds. Sadly, that is also another thing that I cannot get here on my little island. So, I replaced it with cashews.

The seitan-making technique for this dish is exactly the same as on this Vegan Cola Chicken WTF Seitan | 可乐素鸡 post. So, please hop over there to read up on the instructions. I used the yield from 500g of bread flour to get the two chick’un pieces used in this dish, so about 250g of seitan. For the stock powder, my recommendations are Vigor & Health Vegetarian G Seasoning and Massel Premium Stock Powder Chicken Style. You can also use mushroom stock powder.

To be absolutely honest, the star of this vegan kabsa is the rice. I mean, the grilled protein is tasty and a nice accompaniment, but the rice is already sooooo super yummy by itself. If you are a little bit sus about using orange peel and lemons in rice, don’t be. Definitely give it a try!


  • If you can’t be bothered with making seitan, you can totally use tofu or mushrooms.
  • Whole spices are way better than powder, if you can get them.
  • Tomato paste refers to thick canned tomato paste, but you can replace with another fresh tomato instead.
  • You can make this dish spicy by adding red chilli powder and more black pepper powder.

This recipe time is only for cooking this dish and does not include the time spent making seitan.

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0/25 Ingredients
Adjust Servings
  • Ingredients for Spice Paste
  • For the Rice
  • Grill Glaze


0/12 Instructions
  • Here are the ingredients. Use whole spices if you have them and powders otherwise.
  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil over medium heat and fry the cinnamon and other whole spices until they splutter. If you are using a shallow pan, you may like to use a lid so you don't get attacked by hot oil.
  • Once the whole spices are fragrant, add the onion and cook until slightly golden.
  • Add the ginger / ginger powder and mix for about a minute.
  • Add the powdered the spices, the diced fresh tomato, tomato paste, orange zest, and salt. Stir to mix well and cook until the fresh tomato is mushy.
  • Add 2 cups of water, including whatever leftover simmer stock you have from making the seitan. Add the bay leaves and the vegan chicken stock powder. Bring to boil.
  • Add the seitan to the boiling liquid and cook for about 10 minutes on low heat. This is just to make sure that the seitan is warmed up entirely, especially if it has been in the fridge overnight. Remove the seitan.
  • Add 1 cup of basmati rice and 3 slices of lemon. Cover the pot and let the rice cook. It will take about 15 minutes. When the pot stops steaming, check to see if the rice is cooked, if not you can add a bit more water and continue.
  • In the meantime, toast some cashews or slivered almonds. Set aside for later.
  • Then brush the seitan pieces with the glaze and grill them until they are a nice colour.
  • When the rice is done, mix it thoroughly and then leave to sit covered for 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the nuts over the rice. Serve hot!


#lemon  #mock meat  #nuts  #orange  #rice  #tomato  

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