Afghan Rice with Chicken & Carrots | Kabeli Palau

Kabeli Palau

Serves 6-8

Kabeli Palau is a much loved party dish in Afghanistan. The highly seasoned rice dish is finished in the oven, giving the cook 45 minutes to prepare for the arrival of their guests (simply prepare garnish ahead of time). The intense flavor of garaham masala is balanced by sweet bursts of carrot and golden raisins.

Note: You may purchase 6 cups chicken broth and use leftover chicken pieces. This will save you several steps (and at least an hour) if you are in a hurry.

Ingredients:

1 lb basmati rice, rinsed
1/4 cup ghee or butter
1 large onion, sliced thin
1/2 chicken, bone in or 3 chicken breasts
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp salt
1 clove garlic, crushed
6 cups water
1 Tbsp garaham masala
1/4 tsp saffron

Garnish:

2 carrots, cut into matchsticks or shredded
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup slivered almonds
pinch saffron
1/2 cup hot water

Method:

1. In a large pot, bring 6 cups water to a boil.

2. Meanwhile, rinse rice until water runs clear. Add rice to boiling water, reduce heat to low and simmer for 6 minutes. Drain rice and discard cooking water.

3. Add six cups water to a large pot. Add chicken. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30-45 minutes or until chicken is falling off the bone.

3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook onions in ghee until deep golden brown in color. This could take 30 minutes. Stir often. Be careful not to let pan dry out and burn the onions.

4. In a food processor, combine onion, tomato paste, and a 1/2 cup chicken broth. This will cook more on the stove and in the oven, so you can take the broth at any point from the simmering pot of chicken.

5. In a very large casserole (I used my new, oven safe wok), combine rice and onion mixture. Add salt, garlic, garaham masala, and saffron.

6. Defat chicken broth and strain into to rice mixture.

7. Preheat oven to 350F. Pick through chicken and add the pieces to the rice mixture. Stir to combine.

8. Cook uncovered in the oven until rice is tender (taste test please), about 45 minutes, adding up to a cup of water towards the end if it looks too dry. Some drying around the edges is normal.

9. Meanwhile, saute carrots in ghee until golden brown and soft. Add raisins, almonds, saffron, and water. Cook until water is reduced and raisins have plumped.

10. Add carrot garnish to the top of the rice mixture when done cooking. Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from Afghanistan, Enchantment of the World, by Terri Willis
Votes: 1
Rating: 4
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Kabeli Palau is a much loved party dish in Afghanistan. The highly seasoned rice dish is finished in the oven, giving the cook 45 minutes to prepare for the arrival of their guests (simply prepare garnish ahead of time). The intense flavor of garam masala is balanced by sweet bursts of carrot and golden raisins.Afghan Rice with Chicken & Carrots | Kabeli Palau
Servings Prep Time
6-8people 20minutes
Cook Time
2.5hours
Servings Prep Time
6-8people 20minutes
Cook Time
2.5hours
Ingredients
Garnish:
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, bring 6 cups water to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, rinse rice until water runs clear. Add rice to boiling water, reduce heat to low and simmer for 6 minutes. Drain rice and discard cooking water.
  3. Add six cups water to a large pot. Add chicken. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30-45 minutes or until chicken is falling off the bone.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook onions in ghee until deep golden brown in color. This could take 30 minutes. Stir often. Be careful not to let pan dry out and burn the onions.
  5. In a food processor, combine onion, tomato paste, and a 1/2 cup chicken broth. This will cook more on the stove and in the oven, so you can take the broth at any point from the simmering pot of chicken.
  6. In a very large casserole (I used my new, oven safe wok), combine rice and onion mixture. Add salt, garlic, garaham masala, and saffron.
  7. Defat chicken broth and strain into to rice mixture.
  8. Preheat oven to 350F. Pick through chicken and add the pieces to the rice mixture. Stir to combine.
  9. Cook uncovered in the oven until rice is tender (taste test please), about 45 minutes, adding up to a cup of water towards the end if it looks too dry. Some drying around the edges is normal.
  10. Meanwhile, saute carrots in ghee until golden brown and soft. Add raisins, almonds, saffron, and water. Cook until water is reduced and raisins have plumped.
  11. Add carrot garnish to the top of the rice mixture when done cooking. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

You may purchase 6 cups chicken broth and use leftover chicken pieces. This will save you several steps (and at least an hour) if you are in a hurry.

Try making this with homemade <a href="http://globaltableadventure.com/2011/07/09/recipe-dreamy-homemade-garam-masala/">garam masala</a>!

Source:

Recipe Copyright Sasha Martin, Global Table Adventure. For personal or educational use only.

23 Comments

  1. I like the sound of the recipe… simple with so much colour and flavour! I have a wok that looks like this…YAY!!

  2. Hilary says

    Could you give us a print version to take to the kitchen? I am going to cook this sunday evening right here in Maple Ridge, Tulsa OK. My son in San Francisco told me about your blog. I went to Afghanistan many years ago and loved the food!
    H

    • Hi there neighbor 🙂

      I’m so pleased you decided to try the recipe. I emailed you the printer version. Right now I am not equipped to do print versions on the web site. Thanks for your understanding 🙂

  3. Brian S. says

    I’ve been waiting and hoping to make this since I first saw it and today was the day! Oh it was wonderful! All the ingredients combined to produce the delightful and exotic perfume of Afghanistan.

    Cathe made it, we bought the broth and used about 3 cups, which worked perfectly.

  4. Joanne says

    I have gone back to the beginning to read about your adventure. Mine also started with Afghanistan and the dish I selected was similar and spelled differently (Qaubili Pilau) and instead of chicken, it called for lamb. It had the same garnish of almonds, carrot sticks and raisins sauteed with oil and sugar. Although the first of my adventure, it could be my favorite dish so far.

    • That was a really great dish – actually the whole meal was. My favorite was the eggplant, though. And the bread… mmm so wonderful!

  5. Laura says

    where do you find all the ingredients (I mean in general, not for this one recipe in particular)? Or do you substitute? I would like to try this recipe but I can’t find garaham masala. Are there any substitutes for it?

    • Nikki says

      Laura, I just started reading this wonderful blog and don’t see any answer to your question. So here is one! I found this recipe for garam masala at AllRecipes.com

      There are many other versions. I have read that in India, every cook has their own version and they pass down the recipe through the family!

      Ingredients

      1 tablespoon ground cumin
      1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
      1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
      1 1/2 teaspoons ground pepper
      1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
      1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
      1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
      Directions

      Mix cumin, coriander, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg in a bowl. Place mix in an airtight container, and store in a cool, dry place.

  6. OK, I’m in. A friend just sent me this web site, and as I type this, the Kabeli Palau is in the oven. Smells awesome. Thanks for doing this. I hope to try one recipe each week.

      • Thanks Sasha! I made the Kabeli Palau, and my family LOVED it! I like to cook new recipes and always ask the kids to have some patience when trying them. I can happily report that not only did they really enjoy this dish, but they declared is a “keeper” which means that it is officially in my recipe book and will hit our table again. It was a pretty big batch, and I thought I’d have leftovers the next night… only to find my teenage son had gobbled it up! Thanks for the great recipe and for the challenge… on to Albania! I’ll post my knight’s badge on my FB page!

        • Sasha Martin says

          Hey! That’s fantastic Steve… I’m so glad everyone enjoyed it… happy Adventures and keep in touch as you progress along… good luck!

  7. Holy magillucutty (sp?) – that was INSANELY good. My 5 YO loved being able to eat with his bread instead of utensils. Hubby thought he had died and gone to heaven (and kept saying again and again, this takes like we’re out at a restaurant). Only nay-sayer was my 2YO, but he still ate the bread. 🙂 We also loved learning about Afghanistan as a family – although my son was a tad disappointed that there were no volcanoes there, just earthquakes. 😉

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  9. Renee says

    I made this last night. The flavor was amazing and I’ll make it again but would appreciate feedback and/or advice first. The rice was like grainy mashed potatoes—barely recognizable as rice. It tasted good but the texture was not appealing. The rice package directions said to cook for 15-20 minutes but the cook time for this recipe is much higher. The 6 minute par-cook followed by 45 (I took it out at 35 and it was overcooked) in the oven is much longer. I’ve not bought or cooked basmati rice before so am wondering if mine might have been quick cook. I got it at Trader Joe’s (not the seasoned package). I’d like to get it right next time. Otherwise, it was really good.

    Thanks in advance. -Renee

    • Hi Renee – just now seeing your question. I think you might have had quick cook rice. The cooking times and temperatures are very specific, as-is the moisture level. Too much moisture will mush up the rice, as well.

  10. Suzanne says

    Hi Sasha,
    My book club is meeting next week – we read your wonderful memoir and are making a global potluck in celebration! I’m making the Kabeli Palau but I had a question – the recipe in your book differs a bit from this one on your blog. Which do you prefer/recommend? Thanks so much! I loved your book!

    • Hi Suzanne – how fun! To answer your question – I would use the recipe in the book. I made some modifications/updates that will simplify the process for you. Give your book club a big “hello” from me 😊

      • Suzanne Sweidan says

        Thank you so much! Book club was great – we enjoyed this dish, Algerian lasagna, torte di riso, empanadas, and Maltese cookies along with plenty of wine and lively conversation. Your memoir was a hit! I’m making the full Afghani menu for my family tonight. Thanks again so much for sharing so much of yourself with the world! Wishing you peace and happiness!

  11. I started a cookbook club after seeing a post on Facebook about one. We began with the book, “Stir” and just finished with yours. I have made the Algerian lasagna, Angolan chicken (Muamba de Galinha) and Kabeli Palau. So far, I have loved everything. The chickpeas and potatoes made a different texture for the lasagna, the sweetness of pumpkin along with the okra in the chicken but I really like the palau the best, so far. Investing in saffron was a big deal but so worth it. I had everything else already! Your book was a great story of life, relationships and how food can bring us all together in heart or in actuality. Thank you for the book and the blog!

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