Diabetes Awareness Month

Keeping with the spirit of November being Diabetes Awareness month,

and to complete the menu for you from the last post – having started with dessert: Diabetic-friendly Cheesecake – this post is about the main course.

I for one, used to think that one of the first foods diabetic patients had to omit from their diets was rice. As it turned out this is a common misconception! In fact, “diabetic patients can still consume rice, provided they stick to the quantities and counts given to them by their doctors said Dr. Wafa Helmi Ayesh, the Director of Clinical Nutrition Department / Clinical Support Services Sector – DHA, and the founder of Sweet Kidz, who is dedicated to helping patients, parents and caregivers cook for diabetes. She even developed many recipes that are tailored to diabetes, many of which are everyday foods that we all know and love.

“Diabetic patients need the different nutrients from various foods. They need not to feel deprived, and food must remain exciting. With a few adjustments to the cooking methods, and with following count, food will never be boring or limited for diabetic patients!”  she continued.

Today’s recipe is Dr. Wafa’s Diabetic-friendly Kabseh with a Spiced Garden Salad (recipe on this link), which I have cooked during the press event to launch this project. When I asked her why she decided to go for Kabseh, she said: “Kabseh is a famous traditional dish that everyone loves. Most diabetic patients and caregivers will think it is food they cannot have! I wanted to show everyone that they can still have everyday food that they love.”

Kabseh is a rice-based dish that is uniquely flavoured with an assortment of spices (not necessarily hot spices) then the rice is cooked in chicken broth for a richer flavour, and then served with cooked chicken pieces or pulled grilled chicken. Kabseh is known to have originated in Saudi Arabia, however, it is a very famous dish across the region.  This is a delicious concoction whose bouquet of spices lend it a unique aroma and flavour. Being so boldly flavoured it is usually paired with an as bold salad, usually spicy. Dr. Wafa had also developed a garden salad to go with the Kabseh, however, she did not make it a fiery one in case children are eating.

Remember, since we are talking about healthy eating, and incorporating all food types, these recipes are a healthier version not only for diabetic patients, but for everyone! I personally don’t mind a guilt-free Kabseh.

Please note that I did not develop these recipes. These recipes are developed by Dr. Wafa Helmi specifically for diabetic patients based on her extensive research on different food types and their effects on diabetic patients. It is published here with her permission.

Also note that in terms of portions you have to follow your daily intake as recommended by your doctor. This is not something that I can suggest for you, I am not a doctor. I can only show you how to cook the food, and how to make the eating experience interesting.


  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped ripe tomato
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup white raisins soaked in 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground corriander
  • 10 cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp 7 spices
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 6 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs DS Premium Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Pre-cooked chicken in broth 2 chicken breasts or 2 thighs and 2 drumsticks
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp salt

In a large pot, place chicken, water, onion, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and salt and let cook covered on low heat for about 1 1/2 hour.

In a large bowl rinse rice and pour off excess water, mix in seasonings.

In another large pot add 2tbsp olive oil and 1 tbs butter, then add chopped onions and chopped tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat. Next add rice, mix and then add 4 cups of chicken broth from the cooked chicken, stir and then add 3 tbs butter. Let come to a boil and then turn down to low heat, cover and let cook for 45 minutes.

In a small pan, add 2 tbsp butter and stir in nuts and raisins, let cook until all are evenly brown, set aside for garnish.

In the meantime, pull apart cooked chicken and remove any bones. After 45 minutes, fluff the rice with a fork and let sit another 10 minutes.

To present dish, pour out the rice into a large serving dish, place pieces of chicken on top and then put the nut and raisin mixture on top of that. Serve with yogurt or salad.

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