Nasi Kebuli - Middle Eastern Lamb Rice

Nasi Kebuli: Middle Eastern Lamb Rice Recipe

Nasi kebuli or lamb rice is a typical Middle Eastern food that has strong cooking spices. At first glance it does look like fried rice, but both have a very distinctive taste. The taste of Middle Eastern lamb rice is sharper and stronger because this dish is rich in spices and combined with goat meat.

Brief History

Islamic great scholars from Hadramaut, Yemen have a great role towards the creation of nasi kebuli. When spreading Islam in India, they try to mix and adapt the flavors of the two countries with savory spice rice food.

Having a great success in India, the scholars immediately spread Islam to Southeast Asia where Indonesia was first visited. Incidentally, Sunda Kelapa Port became the land they tread, so betawi people (native Jakartans) very much welcomed their arrival.

While teaching Islam to locals, they invited betawi residents to gather and eat with the Middle Eastern rice dish. Just like in India, they also try to adjust the flavors by combining Middle Eastern spices with Indonesian ones.

When is the best time to serve Nasi Kebuli?

Generally, kebuli rice is served at special occasions. One of the best moment to serve this dish is when family gathering take place. You can also easily find nasi kebuli served during Islamic feasts such as Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha (most commonly found on this holiday), and Maulid Prophet Muhammad PBUH.

Because the cooking process looks complicated, many people think that nasi kebuli is very difficult to make. Well, for those of you who want to make nasi kebuli at home, no need for you to worry anymore. Follow the easy recipe for making lamb rice below.


  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 60 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Serve: 4


  • 1 kg of rice
  • 500 grams of lamb meat
  • 2 liters of hot water
  • 50 grams of raisins
  • 2 tablespoons of ghee
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg powder
  • 4 cardamom
  • 4 cloves
  • 5 cinnamons
  • 2 lemongrass
  • 6 shallots
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 segment of ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of salt


  1. Boil lamb meat until cooked. Remove and drain. Cut into pieces and set aside.
  2. Heat ghee. Saute onion, garlic, coriander, ground pepper, cumin, ginger and salt until they are fragrant.
  3. Add the lamb meat slices. Stir until all ingredients are evenly mixed with spices and seeped into the meat.
  4. Add rice. Mix well until the rice is warm.
  5. Pour in hot water then cook until the broth starts to sting and soak into the rice.
  6. Add cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, lemongrass, nutmeg, and raisins. Stir well. Reduce the heat and cook until the water is completely absorbed.
  7. Transfer the medium cooked rice to the steamed saucepan. Cook for 20 minutes. Lift.
  8. Nasi kebuli is ready to be served with chips and pickles.

If you have difficulty getting ghee from supermarkets or markets in your area, you can replace it with margarine or olive oil. In addition, if you aren’t fond of lamb meat, you can add beef as an alternative option.

Alternative Recipes

1. Nasi Kebuli Spices With Beef

Here, beef becomes a substitute for lamb meat. Overall, the recipe and cooking method is quite the same. Beef will produce a combination of different flavors and aromas than lamb meat. But, it’s still tasty, of course.

2. Nasi Kebuli With Grilled Beef Ribs

The key to this recipe variation is grilled beef ribs. If previous beef was mixed with nasi kebuli, this time, the beef ribs were cooked separately. The beef ribs are grilled until cooked through, then serve with nasi kebuli. The smell of grilled meat will certainly make anyone who smells it want to eat immediately.

3. Nasi Kebuli With Fried Chicken

This variation is the right option if you don’t have any beef or lamb meat. Besides of cheaper price, the taste produced will be different but still appetizing.

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