Uzbeki Qabeli Pulao

Qabeli Pulao is a ubiquitous Afghan dish that is often served at weddings, funerals and other large social gatherings. There are regional variations in the way it is prepared, but it generally consists of rice, meat, carrots and raisins.

My mother learned to make it from women in Northern Afghanistan in the Uzbek style. At times when I particularly miss Afghanistan, I use her recipe:

First, rinse two cups of rice, and then leave to soak in warm water for at least an hour. Basmati rice works best.

Finely slice one large or two small onions.

Fry these in a quarter cup of vegetable oil until they begin to brown.

Add about 400 grams of meat on the bone. Lamb is best, but I often use chicken as well. Fry until golden brown. Then add 2-3 cups of water and 2 tsp salt. Leave to simmer.

Peel and julienne two large carrots. Measure out 1/2 a cup of raisins.

Remove meat and keep warm in the oven. Then layer carrots and raisins onto the onions and broth. Add the soaked rice. Cover with boiling water until rice is covered by about 2cm.

Add a couple crushed pods of green cardamom and a half tsp of cinnamon.

Cook until rice is soft.

Serve by layering meat, then rice, and finally the raisins and carrots from the bottom of the pot. Enjoy!

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