Afghani lamb pulao from Summers Under the Tamarind Tree
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Pakistani
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8 servings
This fragrant Afghani style lamb pulao makes for an exotic yet homely family feast, with tender chunks of lamb in a lightly spiced rice.
  • 150ml vegetable oil
  • 1 large red onion finely chopped
  • 4 tsp grated ginger root
  • 3 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 Tbs salt
  • 400g lamb shoulder on the bone cut into 7.5cm pieces
  • 1 litre water
  • 300g basmati rice
  • 70g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp freshly ground cardamom
  • 20g carrots, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
  • 70g sultanas or raisins
  • Handful of blanched almonds
  1. To make the lamb stock, heat half the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5-7 minutes until golden brown,.  Add the ginger, garlic and 1 Tbsp of salt and cook for 30 seconds until the raw garlic smell disappears.
  2. Add the lamb and cook for 10 minutes or until the meat is sealed and light brown. Pour in the measured water, then reduce to low and cook gently for 1 hour, skimming the surface occasionally to remove any scum, until the lamb is tender.  Remove the lamb from the pan, set aside and keep warm. Reserve the stock.  Meanwhile wash the rice, since and soak in a bowl of water for an hour, then par-boil in hot salted water for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Heat another saucepan over medium heat and add half the sugar.  Cook, shaking the pan occasionally for 5-6 minutes, or until the sugar had caramelised.  Add 250ml of the reserved stock, 1 teaspoon of the garam masala and ½ a teaspoon of ground cardamom.  Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat.
  4. Drain the par-boiled rice and put into an empty stock pan. pour over the caramelised sugar mixture, add 1 teaspoon of garam masala and a pinch of cardamom, and stir until the rice is evenly coated.  Remove from the heat.
  5. To make the caramelised carrots, heat 1 tablespoon of of the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add the carrots and remaining sugar and stir-fry for 5 minutes or until lightly caramelised.  Add the sultanas and cook for 1 minute.  Remove from the heat, add another pinch of cardamom and set aside.
  6. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan until smoking hot. Pour the hot oil over the rice (enough to coat the rice evenly but not to soak it).  Make holes all over the rice with the end of a wooden spoon to allow the rice to steam evenly, then scatter most of the carrot over over the top. Place the lamb around the rice. Cover the pan firmly with foil and then with a lid. Cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes until the rice is fluffy and fragrant - if it is still undercooked, cover and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  7. To serve, carefully spoon the rice and lamb onto a serving platter and garnish with the remaining carrots and sultanas, and almonds (if using).
Recipe by Cooksister | Food, Travel, Photography at