The national dish of Afghanistan, this Pilaf is full of juicy flavours and a delicious broth.
- 200 ml vegetable oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 800 g lamb leg or shoulder, on the bone, chopped into 6cm pieces
- 1 tbsp crushed garlic
- 2 tbsp salt
- 2 litres (8 cups) water
- 75 g (⅓ cup) white sugar
- 2 tsp garam masala (made from ground cloves, bay leaves, cardamom and cinnamon)
- 1 ½ tsp freshly ground cardamom
- 1 kg Kohinoor basmati rice, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes
- 250 g carrots, peeled and cut into batons
- 75 g mixed slivered almonds and pistachios, to garnish
- Heat 50 ml of the oil in a large frying pan over medium–high heat and cook the onion for 6–8 minutes, or until golden. Add the lamb, garlic and 1 tbsp of the salt and cook for 8–10 minutes, or until lamb is well browned on all sides.
- Add the water, reduce heat to low and cook, skimming surface occasionally, for 1 ½ hours, or until lamb is tender. Remove lamb from pan and set aside. Reserve the stock.
- Place half of the sugar in a hot, dry saucepan over medium heat. Cook, shaking pan, for 5–6 minutes or until sugar has caramelised. Carefully add 250 ml (1 cup) of reserved stock, the remaining salt, 1 tsp of garam masala and a pinch of cardamom. Bring to the boil, then remove from heat and set aside.
- Drain the soaked rice. Cook in a large saucepan of boiling water for 5 minutes, or until almost cooked. Drain and return to 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 and glossy. Remove from the heat and stir in another pinch of cardamom. Set aside.
- Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan until smoking. Pour oil over the rice. Using the end of a large spoon, make holes all over rice to allow it to steam evenly. Top with spiced carrot and reserved lamb.
- Cover and seal pan with a tea towel, then a lid. Place over high heat and cook for 5 minutes, or until you hear a ticking sound. Reduce the heat to low and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Remove lamb and spiced carrots, and mix rice well.
- To serve, cover base of a platter with a little rice, spoon over the lamb and then cover with remaining rice. Top with spiced carrot, then scatter with almonds and pistachios.