Greg's Khabli Palau (Afghani spiced lamb pilaf)

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Greg's Khabli Palau (Afghani spiced lamb pilaf)

Greg offers this colourful recipe for lamb which comes with a back-story: he had it in Chicken Street in Kabul in 1979, just before the Russians invaded. It's some kind of food lover who gets a recipe written down when the tanks are rumbling across the mountains! 


¼ cup oil

2 medium sized onions – chopped

500g lamb

½ teaspoon Garam Masala

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups water

¼ cup butter

¼ cup blanched slivered almonds

2 medium size carrots cut in match stick lengths

2 cups long grain rice

6 cups water



Heat the oil in a heavy deep pan. Add onion and fry over medium heat for 15 minutes until transparent and golden brown. Remove and keep aside.

Trim lamb and cut into 2 cm cubes. Add to pan with remaining oil and fry over high heat until brown, stirring often. Sprinkle on spices and salt, stir over heat 1 minute, add 1 ½ cups water and return onion to pan. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.

While meat is cooking lightly brown the almonds in butter in a separate pan. Remove and set aside, leaving butter in pan. Add carrots and fry over medium heat until lightly coloured.

Wash rice well and strain. Bring 6 cups water to the boil with 1 tablespoon salt, add rice, return to the boil, and boil for 6 minutes. Strain.

Remove cooked meat and about ½ cup liquid from pan. Stir partly cooked rice and 1 teaspoon salt into juices in pan. Make 3 or 4 holes in the rice with the end of a wooden spoon. Place cooked meat on one side on top of rice, and place carrot over rest over rice. Spoon reserved meat juices over meat and carrot mixture.

Cover rim of pan with two paper towels and cover tightly with lid. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, reduce heat to low and cook for further 25 minutes. Leave off the heat, covered, for 5 minutes.

Pile meat pieces in centre of platter, and top with carrots. Fluff up rice with fork and mound around edge of dish. Sprinkle with almonds and serve.

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