Ramadan in Brooklyn: Day 4 Qabili Palau (for the busy chef)

Qabili Palau (The Palau only the most capable can make — that is the rough meaning of the name) is my latest recipe to post.

But lets catch up to my last few days of Ramadan, which has mostly been me feeling a little sick. Found out that the dry skin under my eyes wasn’t sudden aging (although did discover some great anti-aging mask recipes) it was dehydration! Yes, more water and fruit for this faster.

The most beautiful aspects of not eating (once you get control of that lack of water issue noted above) is being able to enjoy breeze. NYC’s mugginess is out of control this summer. When there is no water, the body adjusts and I take in the breeze under trees, under awnings as if I were drinking a nice glass of water. The other benefit has been getting renewed tastebuds! On day 2, I just ate farm fresh organic eggs, organic butter and whole wheat bread. For the mouth, it felt like tasting eggs for the first time.

Day 4, let’s stick to the plan and so here is the Qabili Palau recipe that has been handed down from father to father and perfected by yours truly to suit the busy chef. One version of Qabili Palau requires the chef to cook each individual part separately, which is exhausting. Didn’t they know we had better things to do than spend six hours in the kitchen! Well, this one is very flavorful, healthy and takes about 1.5 hours to prep and cook. Still long but comes a long way from the original. Also use a cast iron pot if possible and one that is wide rather than tall. The wider the pot the better the palau.


2 small yellow onion
2 carrots (the big fat carrots)
2 tsp of dried tomato paste
2 tsp powdered cumin
1 pinch ground black pepper
1/4 cup of black raisins
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2lbs lamb (on the bone or chicken or beef meatballs)
4 cups basmati rice (preferrably Aahu Bara rice, which is selu basmati)

Aahu Bara Rice (Found in Afghan or South Asian shops)

Heat the oil. Fry the onions till they get golden. Add meat. Salt to taste (usually a tsp or tblsp for each cup of rice but again CenAsians oversalt). Once meat browns a bit add carrots (shredded or cut into little matchsticks). Add 2 tsp dried tomato paste. Fry up. Add powdered cumin. (See below)

The magic paste! (No tinny taste)

Cumin — powder this cumin put half in while it is frying the other half when it is simmer (before the rice)

Carrot time!

Onions Carrots cooking with the lamb. Fry till the carrots look like they have browned around the same color as the onions.

Add six cups of water. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add rice. Simmer till water has evaporated and you can hear the sizzle at the bottom of the pot. Add raisins on top and if you want a little treat, place the cut stalks of rhubarb on top along with the raisins. Cover top with towel. Put lid on it. Lower heat to a very low flame. Turn timer on for 20 minutes and “dimla” or simmer it. (See below)


Place a Bounty or towel over the pot and cover the lid over it so the fluid can evaporate. 20 minutes.

Finished Qabili Palau!

Eat and Enjoy!


  1. Talibonita

    Wow! So in Kazakhstan Plov comes in boxes like Riceroni! Wow! I think my version is better :) We never use beef in palau, always lamb (boiled first and the top skimmed of the fat) or goat (which requires no pre-fat skimming).

  2. KZBlog

    No, the plov spices come all pre-mixed in a little satchel. I think there are some rice-a-roni type Uzbek rice things that simulate plov flavor but we make our plov fresh here. With beef, lamb, chicken, anything.

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