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Afghani Lamb and Rice Dish

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“Known in Afghanistan as quabili pilau, this is a delicious and festive dish. A combination of several quabili recipes that I found online and made my own, my inspiration coming from an Afghani family in town that operates a food cart from which they sell the most delightful Afghani food. This is truly a perfect example of the best fusion of Asian and Arabic ingredients.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Soak saffron threads and set aside.
  2. Meat: In a large pot in plenty of water add the ground lamb, 2 T. of the onion and salt and pepper. Bring to boil and cook meat for about 15-20 minutes or until meat is no longer pink. Drain meat and reserve all the cooking liquid. Set meat aside. (It is very important to save the liquid as this will be used to cook the rice.).
  3. Rice: In pan combine the reserved lamb stock, the rice, the saffron threads-straining the threads but including the soaking water, cinnamon, ground cumin, ground coriander and the cardamom powder. Cover, bring to boil and simmer 20 minutes or until grains are tender.
  4. While the rice is cooking saute the carrots with the sugar on medium heat in a little bit of oil about 5 minutes, being careful not to burn. Next add the onion and raisins and saute another 2 or 3 minutes until carrots are slightly tender but still firm, onions are soft and raisins have plumped up. Set aside.
  5. Lightly oil an oven proof casserole dish. Spoon half of the carrot mixture on bottom of casserole, followed by part of the meat mixture, then some of the rice, layering the ingredients so that you end up with rice on top. Cover and bake about 25 minutes in low oven.
  6. Remove casserole dish from oven. Garnish with the remaining carrot/raisin mixture and fresh cilantro sprigs. Season with salt if necessary.

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