Qabili Palao Recipe

Here is one of the recipes from my last post; “A taste of war”


Critical flavors in this cuisine are spices such as cardamom, cumin, and cinnamon which tend to add a sweet aroma to all dishes.  Afghan food is not “hot” or “spicy” but tends to create a deep flavor, resulting for many hours of marinating. Typical is the key classic Afghan dish Qabili Palao – made with either chicken or lamb or both – and enhanced with browned rice, spices, golden raisins and carrots.

Qabili Pilau

This dish – cooked with either lamb or chicken or both – and rice, raisins and carrots is a classic Afghan dish adapted here for use by the home cook. For four people. Working Time:90 minutes


  • 2 cups basmati rice – soaked in cold water for 20 minutes and then drained. This prevents the rice from sticking together.
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (such as olive oil)
  • 5 lbs lamb on the bone or 1.5 lbs of chicken breast, cut into 1-inch chunks 3 cups water
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and julienne (i.e. cut into thin sticks) cut into matchstick size pieces
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron diluted in a tiny bit of cold water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar


  • In a large sauce pan and on medium heat, sauté the onions in oil until translucent, then add the meat and brown it on all sides.
  • Add the spices (cumin, salt, cinnamon, and the saffron)
  • Add the water
  • Cover the sauce pan and over low heat boil the mixtures for about one hour; stir occasionally.
  • Then remove the meats and set aside.
  • Preserve the water in which the meal was browned
  • In a small sauce pan sauté the carrots and the raisins for about five minutes; drain and set the carrots and raisins aside.
    Bring the juices where the meats were to a boil and add the rice; cover and cook for about 20 minutes.
  • Mix the meats and rice together in a large oven-proof pan; bake for about 60 minutes at 350 F.
  • To serve, place the meat and rice mixture on a platter and place the raisins and carrots on the side.