Afghani pulao is a special occasion dish from Afghanistan. This special rice recipe is originally cooked with meat but many of us are vegetarian or vegan. Thus, we have improvised a vegetarian version of the Afghani pulao. This rice recipe is mildly sweet and fruity in flavor. This flavor comes from the fried Afghani Raisins in saffron which is the star of the dish. It can be made vegan by replacing milk used in this recipe with water and ghee with refined oil.
For Main Rice:
- 2 cups basmati rice
- Salt (to taste)
- 1 cup Cauliflower (chopped)
- 2 medium Potatoes (diced)
- ½ cup Carrots (shredded)
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon Red chili powder
- ½ teaspoon Coriander powder
- 1 cup Yogurt
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 piece cinnamon
- Few Peppercorns
- Few Clove
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 5 cup onions (thinly sliced)
- 5 tablespoons Afghani Raisins
- pinch of saffron soaked in milk
- 4 tablespoons ghee
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Soak basmati rice in water for an hour. After 1 hour, drain and set aside.
- In a pot, boil water and add salt to the water as it boils.
- Then add the soaked rice and cook for 12 minutes; keep stirring occasionally. Make sure that the rice is not fully cooked to avoid sticking. Cook the rice to a point when it's still firm. If you soak the rice for about an hour, it will cook to this level in 10-12 minutes.
- Remove it from the stove as soon as the rice is done and keep it aside.
- Heat oil in a deep pot. When it gets hot, add bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon, peppercorns and cloves. Then add all the vegetables. Sauté for few minutes on a low flame. Then add turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and salt to yogurt. Mix it to combine well. Pour the yogurt on the vegetables and cook for 5-6 minutes on a low flame to make the masala.
- Then add the rice that was kept aside into this pot and mix them. Let it cook for 6-7 minutes on low flame.
- Meanwhile, heat ghee in a pan. When it gets hot, add the onions and fry for few minutes and then add sugar & saffron and stir.
- When the color of onions changes to golden, add the Afghani Raisins and cook for a couple of more minutes.
- Remove from stove and keep aside.
- After the pulao is cooked, top it with the saffron fried onion and raisin garnish.
- Enjoy Afghani Pulao with fresh mint raita.