Qabili Palau Recipe - Afghan Rice With Lamb, Carrots, & Raisins - Gluten Free

Updated on March 20, 2018
3.5 stars from 50 ratings of Qabili Palau (Afghan Rice with Raisins and Carrots)

Qabili Palau

Qabili Palau 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, Qabili Palau is savory yet mild. The carrots and raisins add a nice mix of sweetness to the delicious dish. Below, you'll find the recipe for Qabili Palau with lamb. Enjoy!

Preparation Time, Cook Time, Number of Servings

Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 1 hour 30 min
Yields: Approximately 8-9 cups of rice, cooked.


  • 3 cups Afghan rice (Ahu Barah brand)
  • 1 1/2 lb chopped lamb, approximately 10 pieces
  • 2 large yellow onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 5 tsp. salt
  • 1 bag matchstick cut carrots
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 12 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp. 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, add oil to a medium heat. 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 cardamon 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 ten 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.

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Rinsed and soaked rice. (First instruction)Cooking the onions, garlic, and lamb. (Second instruction)Carrot and raisin mixture. (Third instruction) Cooked rice and broth mixture. (Sixth instruction)
Rinsed and soaked rice. (First instruction)
Rinsed and soaked rice. (First instruction)
Cooking the onions, garlic, and lamb. (Second instruction)
Cooking the onions, garlic, and lamb. (Second instruction)
Carrot and raisin mixture. (Third instruction)
Carrot and raisin mixture. (Third instruction)
Cooked rice and broth mixture. (Sixth instruction)
Cooked rice and broth mixture. (Sixth instruction)

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).


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 Qabili Palau, please share with us in the comments below!


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      Bianca 2 years ago

      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.

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      maryam 3 years ago

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

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      Mazlan 3 years ago from Malaysia

      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.

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      Tanya Jones 3 years ago from Texas USA

      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.

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      A Block 3 years ago

      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.

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      Waqar Ahmad 3 years ago

      its all my favourite Recipe

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      farmana 3 years ago

      wow yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy