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How to Make Afghani Kabuli Pulao

I tried Afghani kabuli pulao for the first time when I was 16, and since then I have always been a huge fan.

 A serving of kabuli pulao made using this recipe.

A serving of kabuli pulao made using this recipe.

Kabuli pulao is a dish from the north of Afghanistan. Considered to be a national dish of that country, you will certainly have this dish if you visit Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia (where it is called roz Bukhari).

I tried this dish for the first time when I was 16, and since then I have always been a huge fan. I always wanted to learn how to cook this dish, and after several attempts using different recipes, I finally found the perfect method. Since then, I have made kabuli pulao about once a month. I often prepare it when friends come over to eat, or I make it for special occasions like birthdays and festivals.

Traditionally, this dish is made with beef, but lamb or chicken can be substituted. I always prefer it with beef, though.

You can serve this dish as a main course, or, if you want to create a more traditional meal, you can serve it with BBQ, salad, and green tea afterwards.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

30 min

2 hours 30 min

3 hours

Serves 8


  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 kilogram beef, 2 1/2-inch cubes
  • 50 grams ginger, minced
  • 75 grams garlic, minced
  • 3 to 5 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 onion, diced precisely
  • 250 grams carrot, julienne
  • 125 grams raisins
  • 750 grams rice
  • salt, to taste


  1. Heat 1/2 cup of oil in a pot and add the 1 1/2 onion that you chopped. Once the onions are slightly brown, add beef and wait for it to change color. Stir beef a bit while you wait. Add garlic and ginger paste (if you are allergic to either of them, you may skip this step). Add 8 to 10 cups of water and salt to taste. Once the meat softens, separate meat from the stock.
  2. Rinse the rice a few times and let it rest in cold water while the meat becomes tender. It is also now a good time to soak the raisins for later use.
  3. Once the beef is almost softened, take a pot and fill it with water and add some salt. Once the water starts boiling, add the rice to it. Once the rice is 3/4 done (it can take from 5 minutes to 10 minutes, depending on the quality of the rice, shape of the pot, and water temperature), strain water out of the rice and let the rice rest in the strainer.
  4. Boil the stock further until it is reduced by half or it is reasonably thick. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon garam masala, and 1 teaspoon cumin (whole zeera).
  5. Pour 1/3 cup of oil in a wok/pan. Add 1/2 onion diced precisely and fry until brown. Add boiled meat and fry for 3 to 5 minutes. Sporadically add in a little bit of the stock prepared in the last step.
  6. Pour just shy of 1/4 cup of oil in a pan and warm it a bit. Add the julienned carrots and stir-fry them for 4 to 5 minutes. Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of sugar and the raisins (after draining the water from them). Be cautious as raisins gets burned very easily. Keep on adding a little bit of the stock prepared in step 5 sporadically.
  7. Take a pot with a wide diameter. Put some oil on the bottom and add a layer of rice in it. Add the items prepared in steps 4, 5 and 6 (but half of the mixture prepared in the 6th step should be kept for a topping). Now add another layer of rice and on top of that add the remaining mixture prepared in the 6th step. Now cover the pot, put it on very low flame, and let flavors mix into the rice (it should take about 10 to 15 minutes). Try not to open it again and again.
  8. Mix well, and your Afghani pulao is ready to eat.

How Did You Cook It?