MBG Iftar: The one Qatari dish you have to make this Ramadan!


By Kim Wyatt

Salam Alaikum and Ramadan Kareem! In this week’s episode I was lucky enough to be invited by ILQ’s QTips host and presenter Aisha for a special cooking master-class of a well-loved Qatari classic – machboos!

Regarded as the national dish of Qatar and popular in nearby countries, machboos is a favourite meal during the Holy Month of Ramadan where cultural dishes help to bring families and friends together.

Similar to biryani, machboos is a tasty and flavourful rice dish packed with lots of fragrant spices such as cardamom, ginger, and turmeric, with recipes handed down through the generations and differing from family to family. Depending on where you’re from and your traditional family recipes, it’s not uncommon for different people to add their own unique touch to machboos when it comes to different herbs and spices.

Usually served on a large platter for the whole family to enjoy, and cooked with meats such as chicken, seafood, or lamb, this traditional Qatari dish is simple and straight-forward to make with a few staple ingredients and a little elbow grease. Check out Aisha’s family recipe here!



Serves 4 to 6 people

2 uncooked chickens – cut in half

7 cups of basmati rice

6 onions – finely chopped

1 Tbsp garlic – finely minced

4 tomatoes – chopped

135 grams (small carton) tomato paste

1 cup of fresh coriander – chopped, plus extra for garnish

1 lemon – sliced – to garnish

Water - boiled


SPICES1 Tbsp each of following

Coriander powder

Black lemon powder

Ginger powder

Cardamom powder

Machboos pre-mix, or chicken biryani powder mix (optional)



Salt to season



1.  Pre-heat the oven to 180 -200C

2.  Rinse the rice and set aside

3.  Preheat the oil in a large pot

4.  Add the onions and fry until golden

5.  Add the chicken and fry until lightly browned

6.  Add the spices and mix thoroughly

7.  Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, and coriander

8.  Pour in enough boiling water to cover the mixture and simmer gently for 15 minutes

9.  Remove the chicken and place on a lined baking tray. Place into oven and bake for approx. 15 to 20 mins or until fully cooked.

10.  Add the rinsed rice to the large pot and simmer gently until fully cooked. Add more boiling water if mixture becomes too dry.

11. When cooked, place rice onto a large serving tray, top with the chicken, and garnish with sliced lemon and coriander. Serve immediately.

So thank you to Aisha for inviting me into her lovely home and showing me a true taste of Qatari culture! Be sure to watch the episode and leave your comments below. Ramadan Kareem to everyone!