Qabili Palau | Kabuli Palaw | Afghanistan

Time for GlobeCookingMad!

Afghanistan, I think everyone is at least aware of this South Asian country mostly for the wrong reasons. However, let us just focus on their cuisine, shall we? 

Afghan cuisine is largely influenced by Persian, Indian and Mediterranean cultures. I was so surprised that they too have naans, chapatis, all types of pulao or palaw as they say. They also have bolanis that are very much like our stuffed parathas. Their national dish is Qabili Palau and it is known in different names like Kabuli, Kabul, Qabul, Qabili Palaw. It is all the same thing but made differently. 

I zeroed down to bolani or this Palau and decided to go with the rice as you know making parathas is easy for me and rice is more challenging. And this is the first rice recipe on my blog! 

First time I made this was for the new year eve as a tester. Honestly, I almost gave up in the middle as I went so unprepared. It was overwhelming to be doing things simultaneously and still not being sure if I did right. The constant thought that "you have screwed up" just did not help at all. But I was so surprised when I opened the dum and served it ... he said "niiiiiiiicccceee" and then I took a spoon and tasted and yeah it was indeed niiiiiiccccce.

Then I was determined to make it again well planned and more focused. As we avoid eating rice for dinner, the only other option was to make it during the weekend which is so not my thing. I mostly avoid cooking elaborate meals on weekends because it is my weekend too. 

This time, I planned and made carrots and raisins mix and the broth on Thursday, and on Friday, I just had to cook the rice and dum it with the already prepared meat broth and carrots raisins mix! Easy!

The first time, I had followed a recipe that required caramelized sugar to be added to the broth that makes the rice more brown. I skipped that here, to reduce the sweetness. The only hard task is chopping the carrots! If you have time, you can do all in one day. Or if you want to spend more time with family than in the kitchen, then plan and make ahead a couple of steps.

Qabili Palau | Kabuli Palaw Recipe


For Broth
5 to 10 pieces of lamb (or chicken)
2 medium onions chopped finely 
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin powder 
3/4 teaspoon cardamom powder 
1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder 
4 cups of water
Salt to taste 

For Carrots and Raisins Toppings:
2 large carrots - chopped in match stick shape and size 
1/3 cup raisins (Golden or Black)
1/4 cup almonds - blanched and sliced (optional)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 to 3  tablespoon water - to cook the carrot 
1 tablespoon olive oil (divided)

For Rice:
2 cups basmati rice (I used India Gate) - rinsed and soaked for 30 to 45 minutes
2 cups of water 
2 cups of the prepared broth 
1 whole cardamom
2 cloves
1"cinnamon stick


For the Broth:
  1. Heat oil in a large pot and sauté onions until deep brown. 
  2. Add the washed, trimmed, chopped and drained lamb pieces along with spices, water and salt
  3. Cover and cook until meat is well done stirring occasionally 
  4. Check the taste and adjust accordingly
  5. Remove the meat pieces and keep aside
  6. Measure the broth along with all onions - it should be 2 cups of broth. - Keep aside
For the Carrot and Raisins Mix: 
  1. Add more oil in the same pan
  2. Sauté carrots until lightly browned. You can add up to 2 tablespoons of water to cook the carrots faster. Remove carrots from heat and keep aside. 
  3. In the same pan, add some more oil and fry raisins until they are plump and add them to the carrots and keep aside along with any remaining oil.
For the Rice: 
  1. Bring 2 cups of water and salt to boil in the same pan
  2. Add the whole spices 
  3. Add drained rice to the boiling water 
  4. When it starts to bubble, add the reserved 2 cups of broth and bring to a full boil until you see the grains
  5. Reduce the flame to lowest and slide a flat pan under the pot
  6. Stir once and when there is no water on the top - place the meat pieces on one side (you can dig them into the rice too) and add the carrot raisins on another side
  7. Cover the pot with foil paper and then cover with the lid - bring the excess foil on top of the lid
  8. Dum process is on now... let it be for 30 to 40 minutes
  1. Open the dum quickly and pull away from the pot so that the steam doesn't fall back into the rice, remove the meat pieces, and the carrot raisins mix and keep aside
  2. In a serving plate, layer the rice and meat alternatively with a few carrots and raisins
  3. Garnish with carrots and raisins on top or around the serving plate

This is how I did: 
  • Day 1 Morning - prepared the broth, removed meat pieces and boxed them into the fridge, measured the broth and kept it in the fridge
  • Day 1 Evening - prepared the carrot raisins mix and kept wrapped them in a foil and left in on the counter
  • Day 1 Night - Washed and soaked the rice, blanched the almonds and sliced them 
  • Day 2 Brunch - Took the broth and meat out of the fridge and left on kitchen top while I prepared the rice and started the dum process 
Enjoyed a home-cooked rich lunch on time on a Friday!


Next is Albania! I cannot wait to find out what interesting cuisine they have...


I would love to hear from you. If you have made this recipe then do leave a comment below. If you like this recipe then do share the recipe link on Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Follow me on Instagram and mention @butfirstchaai or tag #butfirstchaai so that I can see your creations!


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