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The national dish of Bahrain - Machboos

Recipe: The national dish of Bahrain - Machboos

Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs
Servings 8


  • 1,2 kg chicken
  • 1,5 l water
  • 750 g basmati rice soaked for at least 20 min
  • 3 onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 4 cm ginger
  • 100 g coriander leaves
  • 2 green chili
  • 2 tbsp mint leaves
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 small chili pepper
  • tbsp Bharat spice mix see below
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 2 big dried lemons crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 green cardamoms
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • ½ tsp black peppper
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • salt
  • 120 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 pinch saffron soaked in rose water
  • 3 tbsp rose water optional (can be replaced by normal water)

For garnishing

  • 3 tbsp raisins
  • 3 tbsp almonds
  • 1 carrot

baharat spice mix:

  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • tsp ground cumin
  • tsp ground cinnamon
  • tsp ground dried lime zest
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp saffron threads


  • Grind the garlic cloves, ginger, green chili, mint leaves and half of the coriander leaves. Soak saffron in rose water. Soak the rice.
  • Slice and then fry the onions lightly brown. Add the ground ingredients and fry well.
  • Chop the tomatoes and the chili pepper and then add them followed by tomato paste and the green cardamoms, cinnamon, crushed dried lemons, black pepper, chili powder, Bharat powder, turmeric powder and crushed bay leaves. Fry the spices and add the chicken pieces. Add salt and enough water to cover the chicken.
  • When the chicken is done (slightly soft), add the rice in and slowly stir adding the remaining coriander leaves and enough water to cook the rice. Be very careful when adding water because if you add too much the rice will be very soft. Add the saffron soaked in rose water, slowly stirring.
  • Cover tightly and keep covered while cooking on low heat for 25-30 minutes.
  • Start frying the carrot. Blanch the almonds and then add them to the frying pan together with the raisins
  • Before serving stir the rice using a fork to separate the rice grains. The chicken should be intact. Garnish the dish with fried nuts, raisins and carrots.