Qabeli Pallau 

Qabeli Pallau - BRIENNE BOORTZ
  • Brienne Boortz
  • Qabeli Pallau


4 c. Royal Basmati rice

c. vegetable oil

2 large onions

2 lbs. lamb

1 tsp. salt

1 lb. carrots

¹/³ c. black raisins

2 tsp. cardamom

1 tsp. black pepper

2 tsp. cumin seeds

½ tsp. sugar


Wet the rice in cold water for 2 hours, with the water covering the top of the rice by at least 2 inches.

Heat oil in a large pot slowly and put the onions in until browned. Cut meat into medium-sized cubes, stirring for 5 minutes on low heat, then put into a pressure cooker. Pour in 3 cups of water and salt, and steam for 20 minutes.

Cut carrots into very thin, matchstick-style, 3-inch slices and fry them for 4 minutes. Add black raisins and fry for 2 minutes.

Drain the rice water through a colander and pour some rice into a pot, covering the entire bottom of the pot. Put the lamb inside and cover it with the rest of the rice. Pour the oil, cardamom, black pepper, cumin seeds, sugar and 1 cup of water in, and cover the pot with a tight lid. Put into a 300-degree oven for 10 minutes. Turn down to low for half an hour, then serve.


Qabeli is a common dish in Northern Afghanistan and for the people of Kabul and Uzbeks and Tajiks of Afghanistan. It's not found in any neighboring countries such as Iran, Pakistan or India. It's a warming and comforting dish, whose colorfulness reminds me of the good old days of Kabul: In the '70s, when I was going to school there, its steaming rice and aroma was the face of Kabul restaurants. Those were the only good days I remember from Kabul, when it was heaven for the hippies and people lived carefree.

— Submitted by Rumi's Kabab owner Shams Forough


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