vgnwtch (vgnwtch) wrote in vegancooking,

Qabili Pilau

My in-laws live close to an Afghan restaurant in NJ where I've had vegetarian qabili pilau (or pilaw or polow or palaw, depending on who's spelling it, it seems), and as I recently stumbled across an Afghan recipe page, I thought I'd give it a go.  What follows is the recipe from the page, which involves lamb, plus my (very few) amendments for veganising it.


  • 1 lb long grain rice, preferably basmati (I used 2 cups brown basmati)
  • 4 fl oz vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 lb lamb on the bone or 1 chicken, cut in pieces (I used one aubergine [eggplant], blackened over the gas stove flame - next time, I'll use twice as much)*
  • 1/2 pint water
  • 2 large carrots
  • 4 oz black seedless raisins
  • 2 tsp char marsala or cumin
  • 1/4 tsp saffron (optional)
  • 2 1/2 pints water (I added a tsp or so of veg stock powder)
  • salt and pepper


Brown 1 medium diced onion in oil. Fry until the onion is fairly dark. Add 1 lb lamb or beef cut into 1"-2" cubes and brown lightly.

Add 2 cups of water, 1 tsp. Salt and 1 to 1 ½ tsp each (cinnamon, ground cumin and ground cardamom)*** Cover and simmer until meat is tender, about an hour.  (As I was not using meat, I did this until the aubergine seemed happy to me - about 15 minutes)

Remove meat from the juice and set juice aside. Cut 3 carrots into match stick size pieces. Saute carrots and 1 tsp sugar in about 1/4 cup of oil. Cook until they are lightly browned. Remove from oil Add 1 cup of raisins (I prefer golden sultanas) to the oil and cook until they swell up.

Boil the meat juice and add 2 cups basmati (very long grained) rice, 1 ½ tsp salt and enough boiling water to come 2 inches over the rice. Cook until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender--but NOT mushy. **

Mix the meat, carrots, raisins and rice together. Place in a large oven-proof casserole, cover and bake at 300 degrees for about a half hour--or up to an hour. To serve--place on platter, making sure the carrots and raisins show on top.

* I took an aubergine and stuck it with a kebab skewer, holding it very, very close to the gas flame.  At first the skin went a rather lovely golden, and then it began to pucker and blacken.  This took a while, but by the end of it the aubergine was pretty much cooked through, and the skin scraped easily off.  The aubergine was then diced and set aside.

** I used Lorna J Sass's "casserole" method of pressure cooking brown rice: For 2 cups of rice in a casserole dish, add 2 1/4 cups stock (in this case, the one cup of reserved stock from the onion and aubergine + 1 cup water), and place the casserole dish on top of a rack in the pressure cooker.  In the bottom of the pressure cooker was 2 cups of water.  The cooker was brought to high heat and kept there for 35 minutes + natural release time, so about 40 minutes in total)

*** The ingredients list and directions don't tally - or, at least, they seem not to do so as far as I can tell.  I used 1 tsp each cinnamon and ground cumin, but did not have ground cardomom, so used about 4 large pods, slightly crushed

I layered the rice and veg, and placed in an oven heated to 150C/300F for about 40 minutes:

Et, voila!

It was fiddly, and a tad time consuming, as I had never made it before, but definitely worth it.  The one thing missing? - the rather delicious hot sauce available at the restaurant.

Tags: ethnic food-afghan, fruits-dried, fruits-raisins, grains-rice, vegetables-carrots, vegetables-eggplant/aubergine
  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded