Afghani Kabuli Pilaf

BM # 44
International ABC Cooking
Cooking with Alphabets : A
Meal Type : National Dish

    Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in Central Asia and South Asia.

Friends welcome to this wonderful , delicious month of September. Delicious, since we , a group of bloggers are going to cook yet another edition of A- Z recipes throughout this month. Last September we cooked recipes starting with alphabets, but this time it is going to be a recipe from a country staring with a particular alphabet. We shall naturally go alphabetically. We shall work on the recipes Monday through Saturday and take breaks on Sundays.

Let me tell you that we had to choose our countries , this perhaps was the first challenge, but somehow I was very clear about the countries I am going to cook from, so actually I did not take long to make my country list. 

Next step was to choose the recipes . Being a vegetarian at times it is difficult, but I realized that a lot of people are actually turning vegetarian and I could find these recipes without much difficulty.

The third step was to get the perfect recipe which I should show case. This was the most difficult because while searching I kept getting confused. This confusion made me take another challenge. I decided to divide my 26 posts into 5 sections, thus getting a figure of 25 posts . The 26 post is added to one of these sections. I chose themes but with random posts. So I have five themes in all.

5 posts on National Dishes
5 posts on Breakfast 
5 posts on Street Foods
5 posts on Desserts / sweets
6 posts on Meals featuring a Curry.

So for Day 1 my country is Afghanistan  and I am cooking Afghani Pilaf.

Kabuli Palaw, also called pilav, is an Afghan pilaf dish consisting of rice mixed with raisins, carrots and lamb. It is one of the most popular dishes in Afghanistan, and is considered the Afghan National Dish.

Kabuli Palaw is  made by cooking basmati or long grained rice in a brothy sauce .The rice is boiled and the extra starchy water after cooking is removed as broth .It is rather interesting the way this Pilaf is made.It is of course a non vegetarian pilaf cooked with lamb, which is cooked separately.The meats can be lamb, chicken, or beef.i looked up for a vegetarian version, and it said omit the meat, which made it simple. The pilaf is baked in the oven and  topped with sautéed grated carrots, raisins, and chopped nuts like pistachios or almonds. The meat is covered by the rice or buried in the middle of the dish ,while serving one cannot see it.

While watching a documentary on telly, I fell in love with this pilaf, unfortunately I just saw the end, so googled and got the recipe. I cooked this pilaf twice, the first time I  accidentally deleted the pics.I was disappointed but after three days hubby dear encouraged and said, how about making those Carrot rice , they came out pretty good. I was really happy and made them, this time I added almonds and pistachios too which I missed last time. The rice turned out richer. Okay I think it's about time I get to the recipe...

Afghani Kabuli Pilaf
2 cups basmati rice
1/4 cup ghee
Salt to taste
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp pepper
2 carrots,
1/2 cup golden raisins
Wash the rice well and soak for about 30 minutes.
Add salt to large pot of boiling water; add rice.
Cover and simmer until tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid; set liquid aside.
Heat about 1 tsp of ghee over medium-high heat.
Add sugar; stir until dissolved.
Add reserved cooking liquid; bring to boil.
Add rice .
Stir in cardamom, cinnamon, cumin and pepper.
Bake in 450°F (230°C) oven until water is evaporated, about 10 minutes.

In skillet, heat remaining ghee over medium-high heat; sauté carrots ,raisins ,almonds and pistachios until tender, about 2 minutes. Spoon over rice.

The rice tasted really good inspite of not having any chilly to it. The flavors were pretty strong and while it baked the whole house was full of aroma. I actually did not serve any accompaniment with it.

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