This Kabuli Pulao is from the north in Afghanistan and many consider this to be the national dish. It is easy to see why, the dish is succulent with a lovely combination of flavors. It is not spicy like Biryani but has an elegance to it with glistening carrots and raisins and then the tenderness of the lamb. It is mild yet very flavorful. It has hints of cardamon, cinnamon and saffron. It may just be the sugar water at the end that is the crown jewel.
Remember this is a typically a special occasion dish. You can also add some toasted almonds or pistachios which would be a wonderful addition and totally authentic.
You will want to use Basmati rice for this dish or certainly a long grain one.
Why not set up a dastarkhan (covering) on the floor, add in some pillows, have a hand washing ritual and try eating with your right hand. It takes a little practice but once you get it you just may like it! It is a really fun way to enjoy a meal with friends and family.
Kabuli Pulao (Afghan rice dish with lamb, carrots, raisins and apricots)
- 1 cup basmati rice or other long grain rice
- 1 lb. lamb cut into pieces
- 2 carrots peeled and grated
- 4 green cardamom pods
- 1 cup apricots dried
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon saffron essence
- 2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 sticks of cinnamon
- ½ cup olive oil
- Heat the ½ cup of olive oil in a fry pan to medium, add the lamb with fat and fry until a golden brown.
- Add 1 cup of water and 1 teaspoon salt. (The oil will splatter when you add the water so be careful). Cover and simmer until the meat becomes tender.
- Wash the rice and then soak for 20 minutes. Cook the rice following the package instructions for only half the time with 2 teaspoons cumin seeds and 1 teaspoon salt.
- Drain the rice and set aside
- In the meat mixture add the carrots, raisins, cardamom , apricots, cinnamon and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Cook all together for a minute or so.
- Now add in the ½ boiled rice and ½ teaspoon of saffron essence.
- Stir all together
- In another pan, cook the 2 tablespoons of sugar in a saucepan till it melts and add ½ cup water and mix well. Pour this sugar mixture on top of the rice mixture and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Serve hot!
You may also enjoy learning a bit more about Afghanistan here is Our journey to Afghanistan
If you are looking for more Afghan recipes be sure to check out the other authentic Afghanistan recipes below.
bolani - A stuffed flatbread
Kebab-e-murgh Chicken Kebab marinated in a yogurt cumin sauce.
Kabuli Pulao – Afghan rice dish made lamb, carrots, raisins and apricots.
Borani Banjan – Eggplant baked in a tangy tomato sauce
Afghan Salata – cucumbers, tomatoes and onions with a light lemon dressing
Sheer Birinj – Rice pudding with almonds and cardamom