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Qabili Palau | Kabuli Palaw | Afghanistan

Learn how to make the traditional Afghani rice and meat dish, Qabili palau. Rice cooked in a meat broth and topped with caramelized carrots & raisins.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr 35 mins
Total Time1 hr 55 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Afghani, Central Asian
Keyword: palaw, qabili palau, qabili palau recipe, qabili pilau
Servings: 3 people
Author: Famidha Ashraf


For Almonds, Carrots and Raisins Toppings

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons cooking oil sunflower oil or canola oil etc.
  • ¼ cup almonds blanched, peeled and sliced
  • 2 large carrot chopped into thin batons
  • cup black raisins
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

For Broth

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil if required
  • 2 medium-sized onions diced finely
  • 500 grams mutton or lamb pieces with bone
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • ¾ teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper powder
  • 1 cup water
  • salt to taste

To Par-boil the Rice

  • cup basmati rice rinsed and soaked for 10 mins
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 green cardamom
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • salt to taste


Prepare the Almonds, Carrots and Raisins

  • Heat oil in a pressure cooker or pot in which you would want to cook the meat. 
  • Fry the sliced almonds until golden brown and remove using a slotted spoon and keep them aside. 
  • Add the carrot batons and sauté until wilted and darkens in colour. Stir in the raisins and saute until they are all plumped up. You may sprinkle sugar to caramelize them. Remove the carrot and raisins with the slotted spoon and keep them aside

Prepare the Meat Broth

  • Add more cooking oil if required and fry the onions until almost browned.
  • Add the meat pieces and sear them until browned.
  • Add the spices and salt and cook until all the moisture is released and almost dried.
  • Add a cup of water and pressure cook for 15 to 20 mins on low to medium flame or until the meat is cooked through.
  • Use a slotted spoon and remove the cooked meat pieces and keep them aside.
  • Keep the broth with all the onions aside for later use. 

Prepare the Rice

  • Take the deep pot in which you plan to assemble the rice and add a lot of water, whole spices and salt.
  • Keep the flame on high and bring the water to a full boil.
  • Add the drained rice carefully and continue on high flame to bring back the water to a full boil.
  • Stir and boil until the rice is half cooked or doubled in size. (approx 2 to 3 mins)
  • Drain the rice into a colander and put the rice back into the pot. 
  • Reduce the flame to the lowest and slide a flat pan (heat diffuser) under the pot.
  • Carefully fold in the meat broth using a rubber spatula so that all of the rice is coated.
  • Place the meat pieces on one side and add the carrot raisins on another side.
  • Cover the pot with foil or a clean cloth and then cover with the pot lid.
  • Cook for 30 to 40 minutes.

How to Serve Qabili Palau

  • Open the pot and remove the meat pieces and the carrot raisins mix and keep them aside separately.
  • Add the rice to a serving plate and top with the meat and more rice.
  • Garnish with the prepared carrots and raisins and fried almonds.
  • Serve Qabili Palau with yoghurt and salad.