Shazia's Kabuli Pilau: Afghan Spiced Rice

Kabuli Pilau

Serves 4-6

Recipe by Shazia Naimi & Ethan Frisch

Kabuli Pilau is a complex, savory dish of spiced rice with meat (or chickpeas) raisins and carrots and is a strong contender for the national dish of Afghanistan. This is Ethan's mother-in-law’s recipe, made (of course) with Burlap & Barrel spices.

~2 cups or ⅓ pound Basmati rice
3-4 tablespoons ghee, butter or neutral cooking oil
2 onions, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup raisins
1-2 carrots, julienned into matchsticks
¼ cup pistachios, toasted
¼ cup walnuts, toasted & chopped
¼ cup almonds, sliced & toasted
1 lb lamb or mutton (any cut with bones, traditionally shank or shin) OR 1 can (or 8 ounces cooked) chickpeas

1 tablespoon Wild Mountain Cumin Seeds
2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon Verum
1 tablespoon Nile Coriander Seeds
1 tablespoon Zanzibar Black Peppercorns
2 teaspoons Smoked Pimenton Paprika
1 teaspoon New Harvest Tumeric
6 pods Cloud Forest Cardamom pods
Pemba Cloves
1 True Star Anise fruit
2 x Cinnamon Tree Leaves or 3-4 Laurel Bay Leaves
Plus: 0.25g Herati Saffron

1. Mix saffron and 2-3 ice cubes in a small bowl and set aside to infuse.

2. Wash rice in a colander until water runs clear, then drain

3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and add the rice. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until slightly soft on the outside but still crunchy in the middle. Drain into a colander.

4. While the rice is cooking, grind all spices (except for cinnamon/bay leaves and saffron) in an electric coffee or spice grinder to a fine powder texture.

5. In a pressure cooker, heat ghee/oil and sear the meat until brown, then add the lid and pressure-cook until tender (generally 20-30 min). Remove meat from the pan and set aside.

6. In the same pot, add onions, salt and ghee/oil and cook until onions turn deep brown. Add garlic and spices and lower heat to soften. Cook for ~10 minutes over low heat, until the texture is like a paste and the spices are fragrant.

7. Combine onions/spice paste, rice, and meat (or chickpeas) in the same pot, add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, wrap the pot lid with a cloth and cover. As the rice absorbs water, poke holes with the handle of a wooden spoon to allow water at the bottom to evaporate.

8. While rice is cooking, toast the nuts in a small pan and set aside.

9. In the same pan, sauté raisins in ghee until plump.

10. After raisins are plump, remove from pan and use the same pan, sauté carrots (with a sprinkle of sugar) in ghee until soft and sweet

11. When rice is done (al dente), add most of the carrots and raisins and salt to taste and gently fluff with a large slotted spoon.

12. Plate on a large serving dish and garnish with remaining carrots raisins, saffron-infused water and toast nuts. Serve with yogurt.

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