Tag Archives: Afghani food

Afghanistan – Qabili Pilau

I couldn’t decide which of the 205 countries I should start the challenge with so I thought the most logical way would be to start with ‘A’ – in this case Afghanistan.  When I told my husband that we were having an Afghani meal for tea he looked slightly bemused but bless him he is quite happy to let me experiment on him.  I found this recipe after searching the various foodie chatrooms and Afghani sites.  It seemed a very popular choice especially with the expats wanting to remind themselves of home.  The dish was simple to make, made the kitchen smell delicious and looked fantastic with the raisins and carrots sprinkled through it.  I was also pleased that I managed to cook basmati rice and not turn it into rice pudding – I have a pathological need to stir things for which I really need to seek treatment or forever eat clumped rice.  So here is the recipe, if you are not a fan of lamb you can replace this with chicken thighs/legs or beef.  Enjoy.

Qabili Pilau
(Lamb and rice with carrots and raisins)


  • 300g long grain rice, preferably basmati
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 750g stewing lamb on the bone
  • 750ml water
  • 1 onion – diced
  • 2 large carrots – cut into batons
  • 100g black seedless raisins or golden sultanas
  • 2tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp Ground Cardamom

Add 2tbsp of the oil to a pan and brown the onion. Add the lamb and cook until sealed on all sides.

Add 750ml water, 1tsp of the salt and the cinnamon, ground cumin and ground cardamom.  Cover and simmer for about an hour, or until the meat is tender.

Separate the meat from the liquid and put both to one side.  At this point I removed the meat from the bone but many of the recipes I read say to leave it on and serve that way.

Saute the carrots and sugar in 2tbsp of oil. Cook until they are lightly browned. Remove from oil, then add the raisins (or golden sultanas) and cook until they swell up.

In a pot bring the meat juice to the boil and add the rice, the remaining salt and if needed, enough boiling water to come 2 inches over the rice. Cook for 10-15mins until the water is barely absorbed and the rice is tender – do not stir the rice.

With a fork mix the meat, carrots, raisins and rice together, add a splash of water. Place in a large oven-proof casserole, cover and bake at 150°c for about 30mins.