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Bites Fil Beit: Kabsah – Lamb with fragrant spices and rice - Daily News Egypt

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Bites Fil Beit: Kabsah – Lamb with fragrant spices and rice

We love food. We love the real, down to earth, tried-and-tested, handed-down-through-the-generations, local Egyptian food. Here is your chance to learn how to make these local delicacies in your own home. And just so you know what to ask for, we have added how to say the ingredients in Arabic. No more excuses, off to the souq!

Eid Al Adha will be celebrated this month which traditionally involves eating lots of meat.

Bites Fil Beit will bring you several delicious and traditional recipes to prepare meat Egyptian style.



  • 1½ kg lamb, ribs or any meat on bones – kha-roof
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste – sal-sa ta-ma-tam
  • 6 tbsp corn oil – zeit dor-a
  • 5 cups water – ma-ya
  • ½ cup vinegar – khal
  • ½ cup raisins – ze-beeb
  • 3 cups basmati rice – roz bas-ma-ti
  • 4 large onions, sliced – ba-sal
  • 4 dried lemons – li-moon moo-gaf-faf
  • 1½ tbsp Kabsah spices – bo-ha-rat kab-sah
  • 4 cinnamon sticks –far-ra ir-fa
  • 4 bay leaves – war-ra lau-ra
  • ¾ cup cashew nuts, unsalted – ka-zjoo
  • 4 cardamoms – hab-ba-ha-ni
  • salt and pepper – malh and fil-fil



  • Wash the meat well under running water. Soak the meat in a large bowl with cold water and vinegar for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse well under running water.
  • In a large, deep, non-stick pan heat 4 tbsp oil over medium heat. Stir in the onions until yellow. Add the meat, dry lemon, kabsah spices, bay leaves, cardamoms, cinnamon sticks, salt and pepper.
  • Add 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and leave the meat to cook for about 1½ hours. Add water occasionally when needed.
  • After the meat is completely cooked, leave it in the pan until all water is gone and the meat turns brown. Remove from pan.
  • In the same pan, add 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Add the rice and tomato paste and leave to boil until the water is almost absorbed. Move to low heat, cover the pan and leave to cook for about 20-25 minutes. Take off the heat. Remove the solid pieces left from spices.
  • In a skillet, heat 2 tbsp of oil over medium heat. Add the cashew nuts and stir until golden. Add raisins and stir for 20 seconds. Take off heat and let cool.
  • Spoon the rice on a large serving platter and arrange the pieces of meat on top. Sprinkle the fried raisins and cashews nuts on top and serve.


Replace the lamb with veal or beef according to taste.


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