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Kabuli Pulao
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Kabuli Pulao


Kabuli Pulao

This is one of my favourite rice recipes. Kabuli pulao in comparison to Pakistani/Indian pulao is a lot less spicy. The flavours mostly come from salty meat broth and sweet garnishing of stir fried carrots and raisins.

I first ate authentic kabuli pulao in an Afghani roadside eatery in the gorgeous valley of Naran( Pakistan). We got the hot, aromatic rice packed up and went for a picnic lunch by the side of river Naran, which is basically glacier melt (a visit to the valley is as much recommended as this rice recipe).

It became an unforgettable evening and the cuisine a family favourite. I’ve tried to replicate the taste as closely as possible and my family says I’ve succeeded hugely. I’ve only omitted the use of animal fat to make it less fattening.

This very aromatic and rich recipe makes a spectacular centre piece for any formal dinner.


5 cups rice
1/2 kg lamb cut ups
2 medium onions, chopped
4 pods black cardamom
1 tablespoon black peppercorn
5 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 cup raisins
2 medium carrots, julienned
1/2 cup olive or sunflower oil

This Is What You Do:

First we need to make lamb broth for the rice. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a deep pan, add 1 onion and lamb cut ups.

Stir till lamb and onions are golden, add black cardamoms, black pepper corn and 2 teaspoon salt. Add 5 cups water, lower the heat, cover and let simmer till the lamb is really tender and water reduced to half of its original quantity.

In another deep, wide mouthed pan heat the remaining oil. Add I onion, stir till caramelised. Add cumin seeds, rice, ground black pepper and remaining salt.

Add the the lamb broth and cut ups. The broth should be 1 inch higher than the surface of rice in the pan. If its not, add a little water to make it come up to the desired level. Cover the pan and let it cook over medium heat.

When the liquid evaporates and the rice are done (almost 15 minutes) turn down the heat to its lowest possible. Place a skillet/tawa under the rice pan.

Wrap the lid of the pan in a clean tea towel, put the lid back on. This process is called ‘dum’. Leave rice on dum for 10 minutes. Stir fry raisins and carrots in 1 tablespoon oil for 2-3 minutes. Serve over hot rice.

Serves 8
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1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars 5.00/5 (5 votes)


  • Abdullah says:

    Aoa, can you please confirm the amount of cumin seeds. Also if I want to keep the quantity of the meat same but let’s say want to change the rice to 2 cups what changes do I need to make in spices and salt? would I still need to put 2 tsp salt in meat? Thanks!

    • Maria Nasir says:

      Waalakum Assalam Abdullah!
      Thank you so much for visiting the blog and pointing out the mistake. My bad! I just corrected and added the quantity of cumin.
      You will reduce almost all the quantities to half. 1/2 medium onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt for yakhni should be enough because for 2 cups of rice you shall need a lot less broth.
      Add 1+1/2 to 2 teaspoons to rice, depending on your taste.
      Hope this will help. If you have anymore inquiries, I’m here to answer.

  • Amna Ibrar says:

    Asslamualakum Maria, hope all is well. In your recipe card it says use 5 cups of rice. Is this the correct quantity? I just want to make sure because I want to make this for my son’s birthday and I think I need around that much of rice anyways.. can you please let me know
    Thanks Allah hafiz.

    • Maria Nasir says:

      Yes Amna, 5 cups is the correct quantity. By cups we mean regular teacups not coffee mugs though.
      This quantity would be sufficient for 8-10 people, more if you are making other dishes too. You can increase the quantity of meat in the recipe, if you desire.
      Hope you and your family will enjoy. And a very happy birthday to your son! 😊💐

      • Amna Ibrar says:

        Oh ok yes im thinking of adding a little more meat inshallah. Aww thank you so much Sis! I’m going to make it today inshallah to practice the recipe first. I hope it turns out how you made it :)

  • Brandon Li says:

    I usually make this with chicken (as it is the 1st that I had) but I have made your recipe a number of times now and it is truly fantastic. Everyone loves it especially my youngest brother and our Tajik and Hazara friends. Have a wonderful and blessed weekend :)

  • amallia says:

    This one is really delicious, I like it

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