A Recipe: Shafi’s Famous Afghan Kabuli Palaw

Everyone who’s been there knows it: Shafi makes phenomenal food.

Shafi, who is from Afghanistan, has lived on the island of Lesvos for over five years. He began working with i58 several years ago after meeting our volunteers in Camp Moria.

Shafi now cooks daily for teams that come to Lesvos with i58. Cooking anything from amazing burgers to mashed potatoes to delicious Afghan food, his meals are something every hardworking volunteer looks forward to after a day in camp.

Most of the time, when he’s asked how to make one of his Afghan meals, his recipes are “a little of this and little of that.” For this article, though, he took the time to get us a recipe of his well-known Kabuli Palaw.

Here’s Shafi’s description of the dish:

Kabuli Palaw is a popular Afghan cuisine dish. Growing up eating Kabuli Palaw gave me joy. This is a meal every family cooks for their guests. Delicious and tasty.

This dish consists of rice and lamb mixed with a few vegetables and amazing spices that bring all the flavors together.

Kabuli Palaw

Yield: 8 servings


2 lb. lamb
2 onions
Salt & pepper to taste
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 Tbsp turmeric
2 Tbsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
6 large carrots
2 cups raisins
2 Tbsp sugar
A pinch of Saffron
2 lb. Rice
4 cups water

Step 1:

Fry the onion in a medium size pot. Cut the lamb into 2-3 inch squares and add to the fried onion. Add salt, pepper, minced garlic, turmeric, cumin and cinnamon.

Cook covered for 45 minute or more until meat is cooked.

Step 2:

Slice the carrots, thinly like a thick spaghetti. In a separate pan from the meat, add the sliced carrots, raisins, sugar, and saffron. Cook until carrots are brownish.

Step 3:

Wash and strain the rice. Add to the lamb mixture along with 4 cups water and the cooked carrots and raisin mixture. Stir until combined.

Close lid and cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes until the rice is cooked.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

We’d love to hear how you enjoy this dish!

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