Healthy Kabuli ~ Layered Rice & Vegetables with Sudha Nahata

by on July 15, 2017

A rich and famous rice dish from Jodhpur, Kabuli is a favourite at celebrations and weddings. It is highly possible that this dish is the vegetarian version of Qabili Pulav, the national dish of Kabul. Though the original recipe requires the vegetables and bread slices to be deep-fried in ghee, Sudhaji has tweaked the recipe into a healthier one.
Rajasthani kabuli pulav recipe


For the rice

  • 2 cups (300 gm) rice
  • Juice from 2 large lemons
  • a generous pinch cardamom powder

For the vegetables

  • 500 gm potatoes, thickly sliced
  • 300 gm purple yam, thickly sliced (ratalu)
  • 300 gm cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 500 gm onions, thickly sliced
  • 1 cup shelled fresh peas

For the masala

  • 300 gm roughly chopped onions
  • 125 gm (about 2 pods) garlic
  • 2½ tbsp chilli powder
  • 2½ tbsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder

For the whole garam masala

  • 5 peppercorns
  • 1 inch stick cinnamon
  • 5-7 cloves
  • 3-5 bay leaves

Other ingredients

  • 3 slices bread
  • a generous pinch asafoetida powder
  • a few strands saffron
  • 1½ cups boiled milk
  • 2-3 tbsp beaten yoghurt
  • 1 to 1½ cups ghee
  • Salt to taste


  1. Cook the rice along with ½ tsp of salt. Take care not to overcook it; allow each grain to remain separate. Cool it by spreading on a large shallow plate. Gently mix the lemon juice and cardamom powder into the cooled rice.
  2. Steam the chopped vegetables (potatoes, yam, cauliflower, onions and peas) by placing them in separate containers in a dhokla maker. Take care not to overcook.
  3. Now bake the potatoes, yam and cauliflower for 5 minutes on 150ºF. (Traditionally, all these, except the peas, were deep-fried in ghee.)
  4. Grind the ingredients for the masala (onions, garlic, chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric) into a fine paste.
  5. Soak the saffron in 1 tbsp of warm milk. Rub it until the milk turns orange. Mix it into the remaining milk.
  6. Toast the bread slices and quarter them.
  7. Heat 1 cup of ghee in a large pan. Add the asafoetida powder and the whole garam masala. As the aroma rises, add the ground masala and sauté for 8-10 minutes until the ghee separates.
  8. Add the yoghurt and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add 2 cups of water and bring to boil.
  9. Add the vegetables: first the yam and peas, then the potatoes, and finally the cauliflower and onions.
  10. Switch off the flame and add the toasted bread pieces.
  11. In a baking dish, spread one layer of the rice preparation at the bottom. Top it with a layer of the vegetable preparation. Top with another layer of the rice preparation. Repeat the layers if the dish is tall enough. Using the end of a spoon, make 4-6 holes in the arranged pulav dish.
  12. Sprinkle the saffron milk on the sides of the dish and pour it into the holes. Cover the pulav with an aluminium foil and bake for 10-15 minutes on 200º F.
  13. Serve hot.

Photo Courtesy: Harmony Magazine

Part-1 of this post is an interview with Sudha Nahata, a graceful and talented Rajasthani from Mumbai.
First published in ‘Heart to Hearth’ – a column in Harmony Celebrate Age, a magazine about silvers.


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