1. Rice

Afghani Kabli Pulao


  • 2 cups sella basmati rice
  • 5 cardamom pods, divided
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 1 whole head garlic, loose skins removed
  • 5 whole cloves, divided
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seed, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 3 ½ cups water
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped into matchstick pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup slivered almonds


  • Step 1 Soak the rice in cool water for 5 minutes. Rinse until water runs clear.
  • Step 2 Place 4 cardamom pods on a cutting board and lightly crush using the flat side of a knife; transfer to a pressure cooker. Add halved onion, garlic head, 4 cloves, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon cumin seed, salt, sugar, cinnamon stick, paprika, and coriander seeds. Pour in water to cover.
  • Step 3 Seal pressure cooker lid and turn heat to high. Cook until pressure cooker whistles once, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Wait for 2 more whistles, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow pressure to release naturally, about 10 minutes.
  • Step 4 Strain broth into a bowl. Clean out the pressure cooker and heat it over medium heat. Add oil and chopped onion; cook and stir until softened and browned, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add carrots; cook until soft, about 3 minutes more. Add raisins, almonds, and strained rice. Add remaining 1 teaspoon black pepper, remaining 1 teaspoon cumin seed, and remaining clove.
  • Step 5 Crush remaining cardamom seed to a powder and add to the pressure cooker. Mix to combine; pour in enough broth to cover the rice.
  • Step 6 Increase heat to high and seal the pressure cooker. Cook until the first whistle, 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Cook for 5 minutes and remove from heat. Let rest for 7 minutes; release the pressure naturally, about 10 minutes. Transfer cooked rice to a serving dish immediately to prevent overcooking.

Cook’s Notes:

You can also add chicken or beef bouillon cubes to the water, or substitute broth for additional flavor.

When adding the rice to the pressure cooker, if it is soft to taste at this point then only add enough water to just cover the rice, if the rice is still hard the Add enough water to go 1 centimeter above the rice.

To cook the pulao without a pressure cooker: Make the broth by boiling the same first ingredients for 1 hour. Follow the same instructions. When cooking rice add all the broth and make sure there is 3.5 cups of liquid; if not, add more water. Add all ingredients the same but bring rice to a boil then turn heat to low, put a paper towel over the pot then seal with a lid over it. Let rice cook for 25 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 378 calories; protein 8.5g; carbohydrates 70.7g; fat 8.2g; sodium 401.5mg.

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