AFGHANI KABULI PULLAO (SPICED LAMB RICE WITH CARAMELISED CARROTS AND RAISINS)
Takes 2½ hours to prepare
150ml vegetable oil
1 large red onion, chopped finely
800g lamb leg or shoulder, on the bone, cut into three-inch pieces
3 tsp crushed garlic
4 tsp grated ginger
Salt to taste
1-2 litres of water
70g caster sugar
2 tsp garam masala
(Make fresh by grinding together 1 tsp each of cloves, green cardamom, 4 bay leaves and ½ inch cinnamon)
1 tsp freshly ground cardamom
800g long-grain basmati rice, soaked in cold water for 1 hour to overnight – then parboiled in hot salted water
20g carrots, peeled and cut into thin batons
70 g sultanas/raisins
A handful of almonds and pistachios, silvered – to garnish
Heat half the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook the onion for until golden brown. Next, add the ginger, garlic, 1 tbsp of the salt and cook until the raw smell leaves the pan
Then add lamb and cook until meat is sealed and light brown (about 10 minutes). Add about 1 litre of water, reduce heat to low and skim surface occasionally, until lamb is tender (about 1 hour). Remove lamb from pan and set aside. Reserve the stock.
Using another saucepan, heat over medium flame and add half the sugar. Cook, shaking pan, for 5-6 minutes or until sugar has caramelised. Carefully add half the stock, 1 tsp of garam masala and a little ground cardamom. Bring to the boil, then remove from heat and set aside.
Drain the parboiled rice and return to the empty stock pan. Pour over the caramelised sugar mixture, add a pinch of garam masala and cardamom, and stir until rice is evenly coated. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the carrot and remaining sugar and stir for 5 minutes, or until lightly caramelised, then add the sultanas and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in another pinch of cardamom. Set this aside for later. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan until smoking. Pour oil over the rice (enough to cover the rice evenly but not soak it; if you have some stock left over it can be frozen).
Make holes all over rice with the back of a spoon. This allows the rice to steam evenly and cook.
Now sprinkle over the carrot and place the lamb around the rice.
Cover and seal pan with foil and then the lid. Place over high heat and cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Reduce the heat and cook until the steam rises when you lift the lid and the rice is cooked.
To serve, carefully spoon the rice and lamb into a serving platter and scatter with almonds and pistachios and any remaining spiced carrots and raisins.