Servings: 8-10

Preparation: 1 hour

Cooking time: 1 hour



4 cups basmati rice

2½ lbs. halal red meat (with a few bones) cut into 1½ inch cubes

1 big onion chopped

¾ cup vegetable oil

1 tbsp. tomato paste


Spices for Meat:

½ tsp. ground coriander

⅓ tsp. ground black cumin

⅓ tsp. ground black pepper

⅓ tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp. fresh crushed garlic

1½ tsp. salt


Spices for Rice:

⅓ tsp. ground black cumin

⅓ tsp. ground black pepper

⅓ tsp. ground cloves

⅓ tsp. ground cardamom



2 carrots, julienne (cut into slender strips)

½ cup black raisins

1 tsp. sugar

½ tsp. ground cardamom



  1. In a pressure cooker pot, fry onion in oil until golden brown.
  2. Add fresh, crushed garlic and fry for 30 seconds.
  3. Add meat, meat spices and simmer, stirring until oil surfaces (this could take 5-10 minutes).
  4. Add tomato paste and 2 ½ cups of water. Stir until tomato paste dissolves.
  5. Pressurize for 15 minutes or until meat is cooked (Add more water and cook for longer depending on the type of meat you are using).
  6. Separate meat from sauce.
  7. In a separate pot, boil 1 gallon of water with 1 tbsp. of salt. When water boils, add the rice.
  8. Boil the rice until it is almost cooked (a grain of rice should break when pressed but should not be completely soft or cooked).
  9. Strain the rice, draining the water, and replace the rice into the pot. Add the meat sauce (without the meat), and add the spices for rice. Mix well.
  10. Scoop some rice to one side of the pot and put the meat in its place so that it is not sitting on the rice. Then cover the meat with rice.
  11. Cover pot with foil and put lid on top.
  12. Cook in oven for 15 minutes at 500°F and then for 30 minutes at 300°F.
  13. Sauté julienned carrots in 2-3 tbsp. oil until the color changes to yellowish orange. Sprinkle sugar on it and simmer for another minute.
  14. Remove the carrots from oil and place on a paper towel covered plate. Sprinkle ground cardamom on the carrots.
  15. Add raisins to the oil and stir-fry. Keep stirring until raisins puff up. Take care not to burn the raisins. Take them out of oil and place on plate covered with a paper towel. Sprinkle ground cardamom on the raisins.
  16. To serve, place the meat in the middle of a platter, cover with rice and garnish with carrots and raisins. Serve hot and enjoy!


Chef’s Note: This dish is what people usually equate with Afghani food. It is one of my children’s favorite. From my experience, using either veal or goat meat will produce much tastier pulao. Sometimes I use more tomato paste; if I open a 6 oz. can of tomato paste, I would use the entire can. The pulao comes out just as tasty, if not tastier. If you rather not have a sweet taste in your rice then skip the raisins and carrots.