Kinghat Afghan lamb Kabuli Pulao

Kabuli pulao is a rice dish that is made in the Northwest of Pakistan and is the national dish of Afghanistan. The dish can be made with lamb, chicken or beef. Unlike biryani, Kabuli pulao is not spicy and has a less competing flavours. Consisting of steamed rice mixed with raisins, carrots and lamb cooked in sweet rice brothy sauce.

Lamb pilaf is popular in other countries, including Saudi Arabia, where it is also known as Roz Bukhari, Arabic meaning Bukharan rice which is a simpler form introduced by Afghan immigrants living in Saudi Arabia.

This lamb pilaf recipe or known as Kabuli Pulao calls for Sella basmati rice which is simply rice that has been processed differently. It is sometimes referred to as par-boiled rice, and it is a lovely golden colour.

Preparation 25 min

Cooking 2 ½ hours

Service 6


3 cups of Sella basmati rice

1 large onion chopped

1 tablespoon of crushed garlic

700g of lamb chops

8 cups of water

200ml Vegetable oil

300g carrots cut into thick matchsticks

¾ of a cup sultana

75g of white sugar

2 teaspoons of gram masala

2 teaspoons of ground cardamom

100g mixed silvers almonds

50g silvered pine nuts (optional)

50g of fresh pistachios

2 tablespoons of salt


Wash the rice and soak covered in water for 4 hours of overnight.

In a reasonable sized pan Heat 50 ml of the oil over medium-high heat and cook the onion for 6 to 8 minutes, or until golden.

Add the lamb chops, garlic and 1 tbsp of the salt and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lamb chops is well browned on all sides.

Add the water, reduce heat to low and cook, skimming surface occasionally, for 45 minutes to an hour, or until lamb chops is tender.

Remove lamb chops from pan and set aside. Reserve the stock.

Toasting the nuts

Heat oil in a small pan until hot not smocking. Add the almonds and pine nuts and cook. Stirring occasionally, until browned and toasted 7 to 8 minuets using a wooden spoon transfer onto paper towel on a plate and put aside.

Place half of the sugar in a hot, dry saucepan over medium heat. Cook, shaking pan, for 5 to 6 minutes or until sugar has caramelised.

Carefully add 1 cup of reserved stock, the remaining salt, 1 tsp of garam masala and a pinch of cardamom. Bring to the boil, then remove from heat and set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the carrot and remaining sugar and stir for 5 minutes, or until lightly caramelised and glossy. Add the sultanas and cook for another 1 minute. Remove from the heat add in another pinch of cardamom, set aside.

Drain the soaked rice. Cook in a large pot of boiling water for 5 minutes, or until almost cooked.

Drain and return to pot.

Pour the caramelised sugar mixture evenly over the rice, add the remaining garam masala and cardamom,

Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan until smoking. Pour oil over the rice. Using the end of a large spoon, make holes all over rice to allow it to steam evenly.

Top with spiced carrot and reserved lamb chops.

Cover and seal 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 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and leave, covered for 10 minutes.

Remove lamb chops and spiced carrots from the pan. To serve, gently cover base of a platter with a little rice, spoon over the lamb chops and then cover with remaining rice. Top with spiced carrot, then scatter with almonds pine nuts and pistachios. Enjoy.


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