Kabuli Pulao

Created by Kari Ray

This impressive mix of chicken and rice, chocked full of sweet warm spices, is the national dish of Afghanistan. Kabuli Pulao takes its name from the capital city of Kabul and is a celebratory dish that can be found at most special occasions in Afghanistan. This take on the tradition celebration meal is surprisingly easy to make and stays true to the flavors of a more traditional recipe. It will surely find its way into your monthly meal rotation.


  • 2 cups Basmati rice
  • ¼ cup ghee or butter
  • 2 medium yellow onions, sliced
  • 3 cups shredded chicken (rotisserie chicken or chicken breasts, cooked and shredded)
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 8 ½ cups water, divided
  • 4 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp saffron


  • 2 carrots, cut into matchsticks or shredded
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • ½ cup hot water
  • 1 tbsp ghee



  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large pot, bring 6 cups water to a boil. Add rice to boiling water, reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes. Drain and rinse rice.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook onions in ghee until deep golden brown in color.
  4. In a food processor, combine onion, tomato paste, garlic cloves and 1/2 cup water. Process the onion mixture until smooth.
  5. In a large casserole dish, combine rice and onion mixture. Stir in salt, garam masala, saffron and 2 cups of water. Stir in shredded chicken.
  6. Cook uncovered in the oven at 350°F until rice is tender and water is absorbed, about 30 – 40 minutes, adding up to a cup of water towards the end if center rice is not completely tender. Some drying around the edges is normal.
  7. Meanwhile, for the garnish, sauté carrots in ghee until golden brown and soft.
  8. Add raisins, pine nuts, saffron, and water. Cook until water is reduced and raisins have plumped.

To Serve:

Add carrot garnish to the top of the rice mixture when done cooking. Serve immediately.

40 minutes
40 minutes
1 hour 20 minutes
1 cup
6 servings
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