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Kabuli Pulao - Afghan Carrot & Raisin Jewelled Rice with Lamb

Kabuli Pulao - Afghan Carrot & Raisin Jewelled Rice with Lamb

A delicious dish from Afghanistan. This light and aromatic rice dish with lamb, other meat or poultry, is jewelled with carrots raisins is the Afghan national dish.

Ready in: 3 hours

Serves: 4

Complexity: very-easy

kcal: 408

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2 cups basmati rice (340 g)
2 cups boiled water for the sauce (470 ml)
2 lamb shanks or lamb shoulder or leg (850 g)
3 carrots (200 g)
50 g raisins
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
3 tbsp rice bran oil
3 tbsp sesame oil
1½ tbsp butter
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 tsp cumin powder
3 tsp sugar
1 tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp SIDS SALT & PEPPER to taste
⅛ tsp saffron
2 ice cubes (from blooming the saffron)
1 tbsp slivered pistachios as garnish (optional)


Prepare the Ingredients
Transfer 2 ice cubes into a glass. Sprinkle the saffron over the ice. Let the ice melt. The saffron will dissolve in the water. Alternatively you can dissolve it in a few tbsp freshly boiled water.
Peel and slice onion and garlic. Peel and chop the carrots in julienne size. Rinse the raisins and set them aside to dry.
Cook the Meat
I used lamb shanks for the purpose of presentation. You can however use lamb shoulder or leg. In this case, cut the meat in about 5 cm large chunks and rub with SIDS CRAZY SALT.
Heat 3 tbsp sesame oil in a frying pan and fry the lamb shanks (or cubes) for about 10 minutes until golden brown from all sides.
Remove the meat from the pan and gently fry the onions in the same oil. After 5 minutes add the garlic and fry both together for another 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste to the onions and season with turmeric, SIDS SALT & PEPPER, 1 tsp of cumin. Combine everything well and let the tomato paste fry gently for 5 minutes, then add 2 cups freshly boiled water.
Give the mixture a good stir and return the meat to the pan. Put on the lid and simmer over low heat for 1h 45min. If you’re using whole lamb shanks, turn them occasionally. After about 1h cooking time, add half of the saffron water.
Fry the Carrots
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pan. Add the carrots and gently fry them over low heat for about 5 minutes then sprinkle the sugar over them and put on the lid. Let them caramelise for about 10 minutes.
Remove the carrots from the pan. Gently fry the raisins in the same pan for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Set both aside for later.
Parboil the Rice
Start preparing the rice 15 minutes toward the end of the cooking time for the meat.
Wash the rice by moving it around in a bowl of water, draining it, adding fresh water, and repeating this process 4-5 times.
Bring at least 5 cups of water to boil in a large pan. Add 1 tbsp of salt and let it dissolve.
Once the water is boiling, add the rice and briefly stir to make sure it does not stick together.
After about 3 minutes, fish out a rice corn and either bite or cut through it. When the rice corn is soft on the outside and still firm inside, it means the rice is pre-cooked. This can take up to 10 minutes depending on your rice.
Drain the rice in a colander and rinse thoroughly with cold water. This will interrupt the cooking process as well as wash off any excess salt.
Finish the Sauce
Once the meat is cooked, remove it from the pan. The sauce should be nicely reduced now. Sieve the sauce through a strainer to filter out the onion and garlic. All their goodness is now in the sauce and you can discard of them.
Layer the Rice
Set some of the carrots and raisins aside for later as garnish. Add 3 tbsp of rice bran oil and 2 tbsp of hot water to the pan you want to finish cooking your rice in.
Now add a little rice to the pan, enough to cover the bottom of it. Then add a little sauce, a little meat, some carrots and raisins and sprinkle with some of the remaining cumin and cardamom powder. Repeat these steps until all the ingredients are used up. If you’re using this method, you can pour the remaining saffron water over the rice in the end.
Poke 3 holes through the rice with the back of a wooden spoon. Heat the pan over medium temperature. Line the lid with a clean kitchen towel. As soon as steam rises from the rice, put the lid on.
Reduce the temperature to low and let the Kabuli Pulao steam for 45 minutes.
Serve the Kabuli Pulao
Submerge the bottom of the pan into a sink with a bit of cold water so the tadig, the crispy part of the rice from the bottom of the pan, comes off easily.
If you used my method of serving the whole shanks, you can now mix the remaining saffron water with a small part of the rice and use it to garnish your dish.
Serve on a large plate. Garnish with the carrots and raisins you set aside earlier and sprinkle with slivered pistachios, if you like. Enjoy.