Kabul-Style Lamb and Rice Pilaf
Qabili pilau is widely considered to be the national dish of Afghanistan.
Yield: serves 6-8
- 2 1⁄2 cups basmati rice
- 4 Tbsp. canola oil
- 2 lb. boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1 1⁄2" pieces
- Kosher salt
- 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
- 2 large carrots, peeled and julienned
- 1⁄2 cup raisins
- 2 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1⁄2 tsp. ground black cardamom seeds (optional)
- 1⁄2 tsp. ground cloves
- 2 tsp. rose water (optional)
- Put rice into a large bowl and cover with water; let soak for 20 minutes. Drain rice and reserve. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Season lamb with salt and brown, turning occasionally, 8-10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer lamb to a plate; set aside. Reduce heat to medium, add onions, and cook, stirring, until browned, 12-15 minutes. Return lamb to pot with 2 cups water; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until meat is tender, about 1 hour. Using a slotted spoon, transfer lamb to a plate; set aside. Reserve cooking liquid in pot.
- Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add carrots, season with salt, and cook, stirring, until tender, about 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer carrots to a plate; set aside. Add raisins; cook until plump, 2-3 minutes. Set raisins aside.
- Combine coriander, cinnamon, pepper, cumin, cardamom (if using), and cloves in a bowl. Add rice to reserved pot; stir in half the spices and 3 cups water; season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, without stirring, until liquid is just absorbed, 8-10 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle remaining spices over rice. Scatter lamb, carrots, and raisins over rice. Cover; continue to cook until rice is tender, about 25 minutes. Stir rice, lamb, carrots, and raisins together and season with salt and pepper; transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with rose water (if using).