Qabili Palau – Afghani Rice

Serves 4
Time 1 hour


4 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
Salt and pepper
1½ tsp ground cumin
1½ tsp ground cardamom
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp saffron threads
2 tbsp sugar
2 bay leaves
½ cup pistachios
½ cup slivered almonds
¾ cup raisins or sultanas
2 cups basmati rice
½ bunch coriander, roughly chopped
2 ½ cups chicken stock, hot


Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste, then rub in ½ tsp cumin and ½ tsp cardamom. Heat a large frypan over high heat and add half the olive oil and the chicken, skin side down. Cook for 5 minutes or until the skin is crispy then turn over, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5 further minutes or until just cooked through.

In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, add the remaining olive oil followed by the onion, garlic, celery and ginger and stir to coat. Add the saffron and remaining cardamom and cumin, then sweat off for a few minutes until softened and reduced. Stir through the sugar until it starts to caramelise, the add the bay leaves, pistachios, almonds, raisins and rice, and stir to combine. Stir through the coriander then pour over the hot stock and bring up to the boil.

Reduce the heat to low, place the chicken, skin side up, on top of the rice and pour over any pan juices. Cover with a lid and cook for 20 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed, then turn off the heat and let rest, covered, for 10 minutes before serving.