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Afghan Kabuli Pulao Recipe

Afghan Kabuli Pulao Recipe

Kabuli Pulao is a rice dish made with a blend of rice, spices, raisins, and meat from Afghanistan. This dish is often topped with almonds and pistachios, and may also be made with saffron, giving the rice a golden color.

Lamb meat is a popular choice for Kabuli Pulao, generally spiced with cardamon, cinnamon, and cumin. Other meats, such as beef, may also be used as an alternative to lamb.

Kabuli Pulao is a popular dish to serve at festive occasions, weddings, and family gatherings; it is usually served from a large sharing platter as the centrepiece of a banquet.

Origin & Cultural Significance

Although this dish is named after the capital city Kabul, it did not originate there. Kabuli Pulao is believed to have been invented in Northern Afghanistan, towards the Uzbekistan border region.

In some areas, raisins and carrots are introduced to the recipe, while other regions may include more spices. Kabuli Pulao is often served with Afghan green sauce and yogurt sauce to balance out its rich flavor profile.

Kabuli Pulao is similar, both in ingredients and preparation, to Indian Biryani or Central Asian Pilaf, which are both aromatic rice dishes made with meat and vegetables.

Kabuli Pulao

Afgan Kabuli Pulao Recipe

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

Kabuli Pulao is a rice dish made with a blend of rice, spices, and meats from Afghanistan.


  • Basmati rice - 2 cups
  • Lamb (cut into cubes) - 1 lb
  • Carrots (chopped) - 2 cups
  • Raisins - 1/2 cup
  • Onions (thinly sliced) - 2
  • Cooking oil - 1/2 cup
  • Sugar - 2 tbsp
  • Ground cardamom - 1 tsp
  • Ground cumin - 2 tsp
  • Ground coriander - 1 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Water - 4 cups


  1. Rinse the basmati rice thoroughly and soak in water for 15 minutes before cooking.
  2. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add sliced onions and cook until golden brown.
  3. Add lamb cubes to the pot and brown on all sides.
  4. Stir in ground cardamom, cumin, and coriander, cook for 2-5 minutes, until fragrant.
  5. Add water and cover the pot, allow the meat simmer for approximately 2 hours. You may need to add more water if the water evaporates.
  6. In a separate pan, sauté the chopped carrots in oil until they caramelize slightly.
  7. Add the raisins to the pan with the carrots and cook for 5 minuets, the raisins should swell slightly.
  8. Once the meat is tender, add the soaked and drained rice to the pot with water and bring to boil.
  9. Reduce the heat and simmer until the rice is almost cooked through, then turn off the heat.
  10. Layer the caramelized carrots and raisins over the rice.
  11. Dissolve sugar in a little hot water and pour it over the rice.
  12. Cover the pot and let the rice steam until fluffy.
  13. Gently fluff the rice with a fork, ensuring an even distribution of carrots and raisins.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 821Total Fat: 53gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 37gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 288mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 4gSugar: 23gProtein: 32g

Nutrition is provided and calculated by Nutritionix. It is for general information purposes and is only a rough estimation.

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