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Afghan lamb pilaf recipe (Kabuli Pulao)

Afghan lamb pilaf recipe or kabuli pulao is popular recipe in all over world. In Afghan party is incomplete without kabuli pulao. It is a traditional recipe in Afghan.


Sella basmati rice 1 kg  (soaked in cold water for 4 hours or overnight)
Lamb leg or shoulder 800 gm (on the bone, chopped into 6cm pieces)
Vegetable oil 200 ml
Chopped onion 1afghani_pulao2
Garlic paste 1 tsp
Ginger paste 1 tsp
White sugar 1/2 cup
Garam masala (made from ground cloves, bay leaves, cardamom and cinnamon) 2 tsp
Freshly ground cardamom 1 ½ tsp
Carrots 250 gm (peeled and cut into batons)
Sultanas 75 gm
Salt as Taste
Water (8 cups)
Mixed slivered almonds and pistachios for garnish


Heat 50 ml of the oil in a large frying pan over medium–high heat. Add Onion.fry until golden brown. Add the lamb pieces. Add garlic paste and 1 tbsp of the salt. Cook in low flame. Fry the lamb until it is well browned on all sides. Add the water, reduce heat to low and cook, stir the surface occasionally, for 1 ½ hours. When lamb is tender.  Remove lamb from pan and set aside. Reserve the stock.

Place a pan on gas in medium heat. put half of sugar in the pan. When sugar is caramel, carefully add 250 ml (1 cup) of reserved stock. Add the remaining salt, 1 tsp of garam masala and a pinch of cardamom powder. Bring a boil, then remove from heat and keep aside.

Drain the soaked rice. Wash thoroughly. Cook in a large saucepan. When rice is cooked. Drain the water and return to pan. Pour over the caramelized sugar mixture. Add a pinch of garam masala and cardamom powder and stir until rice is evenly coated.

In a separate pan, sauté the carrots in a small quantity of oil, add sugar and fry until softened. Remove from pan and keep aside. Add a little oil to the pan and sauté the raisins until they swell up. Remove from pan and set aside. Next fry the almonds and pistachios to a golden brown and set aside.

Heat the remaining oil in frying pan. Pour oil over the rice. With the handle of a large spoon, make holes all over rice to allow it to steam evenly. Top with spiced carrot and reserved lamb. Cover and seal the pan with a tea towel, then a lid. Place over high heat and cook for 5 minutes, or until you hear a ticking sound. Reduce the heat to low and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave, covered, for 10 minutes.

When you have to serve remove the lamb and spiced carrots, and mix rice well. Cover base of a platter with a little rice, spoon over the lamb and then cover with remaining rice. Top with spiced carrot. Garnish with almonds and pistachios. Serve hot with raita or salad.

There most probably will be left over stock that is very good even as a soup on its own and probably served that way in an Afghani household.

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