Kabuli Pulao Recipe: Afghan Rice With Lamb, Carrots, and Raisins

Here you will find traditional food from Afghanistan. Enjoy!

Learn to make this delicious gluten-free Kabuli Pulao recipe with Afghan rice, raisins, lamb, and carrots.

Learn to make this delicious gluten-free Kabuli Pulao recipe with Afghan rice, raisins, lamb, and carrots.

What Is Kabuli Pulao?

Kabuli Pulao is the national dish of Afghanistan. It consists of long-grain Afghan rice, carrots, raisins, and either lamb or chicken meat. Like other Afghan dishes, Kabuli Pulao is savory and mild. The carrots and raisins add a nice mix of sweetness to the delicious dish. Below, you'll find the recipe for Kabuli Pulao with lamb. Enjoy!

All the ingredients needed for this recipe.

All the ingredients needed for this recipe.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

1 hour

30 min

1 hour 30 min

Approximately 8–9 cups of rice, cooked.


  • 3 cups Afghan rice, Ahu Barah brand
  • 1 1/2 pounds chopped lamb
  • 2 large yellow onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 bag matchstick cut carrots
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 12 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • garlic to taste, chopped

Cooking Instructions

  1. Rinse the rice three times, soak in warm water, and then set aside for at least 45 minutes.
  2. In a medium dish, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped onions and garlic, and sauté for around two minutes. Add 1/4 of teaspoon turmeric and salt to taste. Then, add the lamb and continue to stir until brown on each side. Add the 3/4 of water and cover the dish. Cook until the meat is thoroughly brown—this should be in around 20 minutes.
  3. In a separate skillet, heat oil on medium. Add carrots and stir fry until slightly browned. Once you have finished frying all the carrots, fry the raisins until they begin to fluff. Set the carrots and raisins aside separately, and sprinkle with a little bit of cardamom powder.
  4. Once the lamb meat has thoroughly cooked, remove the meat from the broth and set aside. Then, add the four spices (cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, and black pepper) to the broth.
  5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil (around 10 cups). Add the basmati rice and cook until it is tender enough to be broken between your fingertips (be careful, though, it'll be hot!) but still feels firm. Then, strain the rice and place in a large baking dish.
  6. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Add the broth from the lamb to the rice and mix gently, making sure that you don't break the rice. Bake for around 20 minutes. Once the rice has cooked, turn the oven to the lowest degree to keep warm until ready to serve. Sprinkle a little bit more of the four spices (cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, and black pepper) if desired. Place the lamb meat, carrots, and raisins on the corners of the dish surrounding the rice to keep warm.

Serving Instructions

Place the rice onto a large serving plate and form it into a mountain shape. Then, sprinkle the rice with the cooked raisins and carrots. Place the lamb meat pieces inside the rice and around the edges of the serving plate. Garnish with a little bit of black pepper (optional).


Plated dish.

Plated dish.

Where Can You Find Afghan Rice?

You can find Afghan rice, also known as basmati rice, at any of your local Middle Eastern grocery stores. Ask for the Ahu Barah brand. If you can't find one near your area, you can also purchase it online through companies like Amazon.

Share Your Special Recipe

If you have a special way of making Kabuli Pulao, please share with us in the comments below!


Josie on September 28, 2018:

We add beef instead of lamb

TravelAfghanistan (author) on April 11, 2018:

It's certainly one of the most delicious rice recipes in the world! Enjoy!

Bianca on August 13, 2015:

This is so delicious!!! I was invited twice at an Afghan family and they served this dish. G00d memories !

Thanks for sharing, I am able to make this for my own family now.

maryam on March 02, 2015:

Very nice dish. Quite addictive really. Thank you very much for posting.

Mazlan A from Malaysia on November 10, 2014:

At the moment we can't do any baking 'cos our oven needs repair. Until then, we may have to go to the Afghan restaurant in town to try this dish, which sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing.

Tanya Jones from Texas USA on September 21, 2014:

I've been wanting to learn to make this for ages. I had a really deliscious version served to my by a woman from Saudi Arabia. I can't wait to try this.

A Block on September 02, 2014:

This is a great recipe. I have been working on getting Uzbek Plov correct but this is so much more flavorful because of the additional spices.

Waqar Ahmad on June 07, 2014:

its all my favourite Recipe

farmana on May 08, 2014:

wow yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

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