Easy Afghani Kabuli Pulao/Rice

Meatless Afghani Kabuli Pulao/Rice

An exotic pulao recipe that is infused with aromatic spices and layered with sweetened carrots, raisins and silvered almonds. Kabuli rice are traditionally made with lamb but this recipe is made using stock cubes and no meat to make it less complex.

Meatless Afghani Kabuli Pulao/Rice

This is a meatless version of Kabuli Pulao that goes so well with meaty Eid dishes or as a delicious side in buffet dinners. I love having it with BBQ food and rich Pakistani gravies. It is one of the easiest rice recipes I make which is why it is such a go-to at my place. This Afghani Pulao tastes so similar to the ones I have had in Afghani restaurants but this is just my own recreation and I am not claiming it to be authentic. 

I cannot call these rice vegetarian since I use stock cubes for flavour. The reason I skip adding meat is just to make this dish simpler and less complex. My favourite thing to serve this with is my Seekh Kabab Masala (recipe coming soon). And such meatless pulaos compliment meat/chicken dishes so well in my opinion.

Meatless Afghani Kabuli Pulao/Rice


  • 2 cups uncooked rice (preferably sella)
  • 1/4 + 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 big onion
  • 2 chicken cube (see note)
  • 6 whole black pepper
  • 2 black cardamom
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 6 carrots (cut matchstick-style)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup silvered almonds
  • 2-3 tbsp brown sugar


  1. Wash and soak your rice in lukewarm water for 2-3 hours.
  2. Grind together the spice mix into a powder.
  3. In 1/4 cup oil add the sliced onion. When it is golden-brown add 3 cups water and chicken cubes.
  4. Bring the water to boil, then put in the rice. On high heat, cover the pot and cook the rice for 2-3 mins and then lower the heat and add the spice mix. Taste for salt at this point. When most of the water has evaporated, cover the pot and give 'dam' to the rice till done.
  5. In a separate pan heat 1/4 cup oil, add the carrots and fry them on medium-high heat for 2-3 mins. Then add the brown sugar and raisins. Fry till the raisins fluff up. Then take this mixture out in a sieve and drain the oil.
  6. Put the rice in a platter and spread the carrot/raisin mix on it. Sprinkle almonds on top and serve.


  • Do not grate the carrots. Use a machine to cut in thin strips or use a knife. I usually buy matchstick-style pre-cut carrots from the grocery store.
  • This dish can be made with basmati rice but I prefer using sela/sella. I feel it gives a 'daigi' rice feel to the entire pulao. And the grains are also longer and stay separated.
  • You can use lamb or beef stock cube instead of chicken. I am more of a chicken lover so use chicken cubes.