Susie's Qabili Pilau

Not my recipe; this recipe for qabili pilau (lamb and yellow rice with carrots and raisins) was passed along to us by Noah's friend Susie, and we ate it and loved every bit. Source is unknown. It's fragrant without being spicy-hot (though it could be easily changed to be so) and while it has a few steps, it's worth every one.

Qabili Pilau

Serves 4. 


  • 2 cups long grain rice, preferably basmati
  • 4 fl oz vegetable oil
  • 1½ lb lamb or beef or 1 chicken, cut in pieces
  • 1 medium onion
  • ½ pint water
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1 cup black or golden seedless raisins
  • 2 tsp char marsala or cumin
  • 1/4 tsp saffron (optional but lovely)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, cumin, cardamom
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2½ pints water
  • salt and pepper


Brown 1 medium diced onion in oil. Fry until the onion is fairly dark. Add 1 lb lamb or beef cut into 1"-2" cubes and brown lightly.

Add 2 cups of water, 1 tsp. salt and 1 to 1½ tsp each (cinnamon, ground cumin and ground cardamom). Cover and simmer until meat is tender, about an hour.

Remove meat from the juice and set juice aside. Cut 3 carrots into matchstick-sized pieces. Saute carrots and 1 tsp sugar in about 1/4 cup of oil. Cook until they are lightly browned. Remove from oil. Add 1 cup of raisins (preferably golden sultanas) to the oil and cook until they swell up.

Boil the meat juice and add 2 cups basmati rice, 1½ tsp salt and enough boiling water to come 2 inches over the rice. Cook until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender--but NOT mushy.

Mix the meat, carrots, raisins and rice together. Place in a large oven-proof casserole, cover and bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about a half hour--or up to an hour. To serve--place on platter, making sure the carrots and raisins show on top.

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