It’s hard to tell what the highlight of this recipe is—the dessert or the Kapsa.
Kapsa (or Kabsa) is a Middle Eastern dish most commonly eaten in Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states. The dish at its most basic consists of a hearty mixture of meat, long-grain rice, and vegetables. The way it is seasoned gives the dish the majority of its flavor profile, often using spices such as cloves, cardamom, saffron, bay leaves, and a few others. The varieties of the recipe spin off from there.
Noorah, a resident at AMLI Dadeland, created a version of this recipe that truly showcases the versatility of the dish. Rather than lean on spices for much of the flavoring, Noorah let’s the pumpkin do the leg work. Feel free to add another spoonful of curry spice to amp up the spice here, it’ll pair well with the pumpkin. Noorah also took care to tie in complementary dessert and salad courses to the meal to really bring the meal together. Find the recipe below, as well as an interview with Noorah.
Noorah won a gift card to Williams-Sonoma. Other winners received gift cards to Blue Apron and two grand-prize winners received a dinner party with a private chef and up to 10 of their friends. Find the winning recipe below, along with a short interview with Noorah. Stay tuned for our next contest this fall!
Noorah’s Saudi Arabian Kapsa with Pumpkin
1 large pumpkin for the main dish
2 small pumpkins (1 for the salad and 1 for the dessert)
1 cup of Royal Basmati rice
2 chicken breasts
1 large spoon curry spices
1/4 large spoon of crushed garlic
1/2 small spoon of salt Yogurt
1/2 large spoon of dried mint
1 large slice of “Markouk” handmade bread (used to wrap the pumpkin).
For the salad:
Self-specified amounts of:
fresh and dried mint
For the dessert:
Pith of the large pumpkin
1 squeezed lemon
5 large spoons of honey
1 cup of water
2 large spoons of corn starch
1/2 large spoon of cinnamon
Boil the chicken breasts in a cooking pot that contains of half the water with salt, curry spices, and the crushed garlic for 20 minutes. Then, extract the chicken and put the rice in the same pot with the same water to take the chicken flavor. Leave the rice on the back burner until it finishes cooking.
Meanwhile, mix the chicken breasts with yogurt and 1 tablespoon dried thyme, mint, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, and small tomatoes then stir them together. All three pumpkins should be scooped out and the pith will be used for the dessert.
For the main dish, put half of the amount of rice in the large pumpkin, then put the mixture of chicken and yogurt as a second layer, then over that put the other half of the rice.
The dessert recipe:
Mix the pith of the pumpkin with squeezed lemon, and 1 tablespoon of sugar, 2 tablespoons of honey, 2 tablespoons of corn starch, and 1/4 cup of water, then cook the mixture for 15 mins.
Interview with the cook
1. How many days of the week do you typically cook?
Six days a week most of the time.
2. Who do you usually cook for?
My parents, my friends, and guests.
3. What was the inspiration for your AMLI EATS recipe? Is there a story behind it?
Actually, Kabsa is our traditional dish in Saudi Arabia, and it’s been a long time since we’ve made it. We choose the pumpkin to be a bowl, drawing on inspiration from fall season.
4. What is your favorite cuisine to cook? Why?
Well, I would say homemade pizza and pasta. I really enjoy cooking other Italian dishes as well.
5. Where do you shop for ingredients? Are there any local stores that have great deals, produce, or other items you use to cook?
My first stop is Whole Foods. They have a great selection of healthy and fresh products. Target and Walmart are my second and third stops.
6. What is the one thing you couldn’t do without in your kitchen?
The oven, of course.
7. What’s the best part about cooking at your AMLI apartment?
The layout of AMLI kitchens is the best!
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