Kabuli Pulao (GF, DF, Veg)

Jump to Recipe

Another great one meal deal option, or a twist on your basic rice side dish. And it is totally vegan friendly! πŸ™‚

What is Kabuli Rice or Pulao?

This is an afghani inspired rice dish that gets a subtly sweet flavour from the carrots and raisins that are mixed into the rice. I am not sure it is very traditional to mix in chickpeas into the rice, but I like to add it in as an extra bit of protein and also it just tastes good! I also like the addition of nuts like cashews and almonds to give it a bit of texture.

Traditionally this rice is made with beef or chicken stock, but you can use veg stock or a bullion cube to get that flavour. Serve it with BBQ kebabs, or a your favourite curry.

Kabuli Rice Ingredients

This is a vegan version of the Kabuli Pulao, it can also be made with meat, normally beef chunks. And this is a departure from traditional Kabuli Pulao. But it is easier and still has all the flavour! The most important ingredients in a Kabuli Pulao are:

  • Rice – basmati and ideally sella basmati rice is best.
  • Stock – do not use plain water, the rice needs to be infused with flavour. Vegetable, chicken or beef stock will work. Especially if you are making this meatless version.
  • Carrots & Raisins – These are the key ingredients that make a Kabuli Pulao.
  • Chickpeas – I like the addition of chickpeas to rice. It adds protein, and a good texture to the rice. Not traditional, and totally can be skipped. But I love it in there.
  • Spices – the spices are very simple – salt, pepper and garam masala. Again the garam masala is not exactly traditional, but it does add a little extra flavour to the rice that is worth it if you have it. Just go easy on it. You don’t want it to overpower the flavour of the carrots and broth in the rice.

What to make when you don’t want just plain old rice?

This Kabuli Pulao is a great option when you don’t want to make plain old rice. You can serve it as the main event, or as a side with kebabs. Another great option is this muttar pulao. Another one of my favourite ways to rice!

I learnt this one from one of my friends moms who made this for us when we visited them recently. Loved it so much I decided it needed to have a place on the blog. So thank you Aunty for this delicious rice-inspiration! πŸ™‚

Kabuli Pulao / Rice (GF, DF, Veg)

An afghani dish this is a great one pot rice dish, or a sweet and savoury side. Rice topped with subtly sweet carrots, raisins and nuts, very popular in afghani cuisine.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Fusion, Middle Eastern, pakistani
Keyword: dairy free, gluten free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 6


  • 2 cups basmati rice I prefer sella basmati
  • 3-4 Tbsp oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, coarsely grated
  • 1/2 cup whole raw cashews or substitute any mix of nuts you like
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1-2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar or to taste
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (about 540ml)
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock or substitute for 4 cups water and 1 bullion cube
  • 2-3 whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds for garnish
  • fresh cilantro for garnish


Wash and Soak the Rice

  • In a large bowl, wash the rice well: fill up the bowl with water to cover the rice, mixing the rice well with your hands and draining the water, repeat a few (3-4) times until the water is almost clear. Cover the rice with more clean water and allow to soak while you prepare the other ingredients.

Make the Carrot Raisin Topping

  • In a large sauce pan with a well fitting lid, heat the oil on medium heat and add the onions. Cook the onions, stirring often until they start to caramelize and turn brown.
  • Add the grated carrots and stir fry for a few minutes till the carrots start to soften.
  • Add the raisins, cashews, 1/2 tsp garam masala, black pepper, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 tsp salt. Mix well to combine and cook for a few minutes to heat through. The raisins should start to swell up and the sugar will start to caramelize. Remove the carrot mixture from the pan into a bowl and set aside. Return the pan to the stove and move on to the rice.

Cook the Rice

  • Drain and discard the water the rice was soaking in and place the rice into the pan.
  • Add a splash of oil (about 1 tbsp), 4 cups broth, chickpeas, 1 tsp salt, 3 whole black peppercorns and bring to a boil until the water has almost evaporated.
  • Once the water has almost disappeared, add the carrot mixture in a layer on top of the rice. Cover and turn the heat down to low to allow the rice to steam for 10 minutes. Do not lift the lid while the steam is building. This will allow the flavours to really come together and the rice to cook through.
  • Just before serving the rice, sprinkle with slivered almonds, and chopped fresh cilantro. Best served warm with BBQ kebabs or a curry! Enjoy!


This is a pretty forgiving recipe. Feel free to adjust the salt & sweet flavour to your liking.

Leave a Reply