Qabuli Pilau/Spiced Rice
Qabuli Pilau/Spiced Rice with Carrots, Raisins and Lamb
1.5 lbs lamb leg or shank, cut into small pieces (with bones)
1 large onion, diced
1.5 cups water
(For a vegetarian version, use 1 lb cooked chickpeas mixed with 2 sliced onions and 1/2 tsp of Smoked Pimenton Paprika)
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1/4 lb raisins, soaked in water until soft
1 Tbsp beef (or vegetable) bouillon paste
2 cups long-grain basmati rice
1 tsp Royal Cinnamon
1 tsp Stone Nutmeg or Grenada Gold Nutmeg, grated
1 tsp Cloud Forest Cardamom, ground
1 tsp Wild Mountain Cumin, whole seeds
1 tsp Smoked Black Cardamom, ground
1/4 cup pistachios, chopped & toasted
1/4 cup almonds, sliced & toasted
In a saucepan, simmer lamb leg with chopped onion and water over a low flame until tender, about 1 hour.
Chickpeas (if using)
Over medium-low heat, slowly caramelize the two sliced onions with a hearty pinch of salt. Once caramelized, add 1/2 tsp of smoked paprika. Then stir in 1 lb cooked chickpeas.
Raisins & Carrots
Sauté carrot matchsticks with a little oil and a pinch of salt, until just soft. In the same pan, sauté soaked raisins with a little oil and a pinch of salt until the raisins (momentarily) inflate, then set aside.
Wash rice, massaging gently to release starch without breaking grains, then soak for at least 2 hours.
Add bouillon paste to a large pot of water (1.5+ quarts) and bring to a boil.
Add soaked rice to the boiling water and cook for about 5 minutes, until just barely soft.
Drain the rice into a colander to remove the water, and add back into the same pot, carefully incorporating cooked lamb or chickpeas and spices. Mound the rice mixture in the middle of the pot away from the edges and poke holes in the rice with the handle of a wooden spoon for steam to escape.
Add raisins and carrots on top.
Put a clean fabric or paper towel across the top of the pot and put the lid on it to hold the towel in place.
Put the pot on a very low burner and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until the rice is fully cooked.
Plate the rice mixture on a platter, carefully mixing in raisins and carrots. Avoid breaking the rice grains.
Garnish with toasted pistachios and almonds and serve.