Last summer, when we traveled to Montreal, I had the privilege of trying Afghani food for the first time at a restaurant called Fenetre sur Kabul. We had a wonderful dinner, and unsuccessfully attempted to get some recipes from the chef at the restaurant. Luckily, I stumbled across an awesome blog with all sorts of recipes, including one for Kabuli Palau, one of the dishes we enjoyed at the restaurant.

Chopping veggies for the kabuli.
Chopping veggies for the kabuli.

I had planned to make both kabuli and aushak, but my dinner party plans fell through, and I didn’t have a sous chef to help out. Alas, I am saving aushak for another day and settled for the “national dish” instead.

Spices in a mortar and pestle
Spices in a mortar and pestle

This is a relatively simple dish, but it is a little time-intensive, and I could see it being one of those dishes where everyone has a different opinion on how it should taste. According to the author of Afghan Culture Unveiled, a woman’s marriage prospects hinge entirely on her ability to make this dish. If a woman’s future depended on the outcome of this dish, I knew it had to be tasty!

Cleaning the rice
Cleaning the rice

I have found quite a few variations for kabuli. The dish I enjoyed in Montreal was made with lamb instead of chicken, and I have found several recipes with varying protein options. Although the recipe I chose called for a whole chicken, I didn’t have one readily on hand, but I do have an excess of chicken thighs in the freezer. In light of the idea of these one-pot meals using what you’ve got on hand, I used those instead.

Wrapping the raisin, almonds and carrots
Wrapping the raisin, almonds and carrots

This is a classic dish marrying salty and sweet, with a bit of carrots, raisins and almonds mixed in with the onion and chicken. Once I had assembled all of the individual parts, I popped it into the oven and went about my business socializing with my dining companions.

Ready to go into the oven.
Ready to go into the oven.

This dish was colorful, delicious, and highly satisfying. I ended up cutting the recipe in half, and it easily fed three with a fourth helping for my lunch the following Monday.

So pretty.
So pretty.

I definitely plan on making this dish again for future dinner parties. It easily feeds several, is relatively easy to make, and is just so delicious. Everyone had high praise for this dish.

Presenting the finished product.
Presenting the finished product.

Next time I make this dish, I might try another meat, such as lamb, just to get different flavors. Try out Afghanistan’s national dish at your next gathering.

 

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