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Bukharian Pilaf with Kidney Beans & Carrots

Bukharian Pilaf with Kidney Beans pulah

This rice pilaf or pilau is made with kidney beans and carrots and lots of Bukharian spices. The cardamom and cinnamon provide a warm flavor you will enjoy and the beans and rice mix make it a meal on its own

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 6 ServingsServings


  • 1 cup (200 g) dried red kidney beans
  • 2 cups (450 g) brown basmati rice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt (divided use)
  • 1/2 cup (75 g) raisins
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) oil (divided use)
  • 3 large onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 large carrots, cut into thin matchsticks
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 3 cups (750 ml) water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 head garlic


  1. If you are using dried kidney beans, soak, and cook them according to the instructions below.
  2. In the meantime, wash the rice until the water runs clear. Drain and pour the rice into a large bowl with 1 teaspoon of the salt and pour boiling water over it so that the rice is submerged by about an inch. Mix well and let it soak for 1 hour. Drain and set aside.
  3. Plump the raisins in a small bowl of warm water.
  4. Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions, stirring, for 7 minutes, or until softened. Then add the kidney beans, season with 1 teaspoon of the salt and ½ teaspoon pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pat down the mixture with the bottom of your spoon to form a fairly even layer.
  5. Make another layer with the carrots and season with remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and ground cardamom. Make sure not to combine the carrots with the onions.
  6. Spoon the rice over the carrots. Distribute it evenly over the top.
  7. Bruise the cardamom pods: Place the pods on a flat surface, place the flat blade of a large chef’s knife on top of them and press down on it with the heel of your hand to crush them lightly until the outer husk cracks. Poke some holes into the rice and place the bruised cardamom pods into the holes. Pour 3 cups (750 ml) water and the remaining oil over the rice in a circular motion.
  8. Drain the water from the raisins and season with cinnamon.
  9. With a spoon, form a pocket in the rice around the side of the saucepan, and place the raisins into the pocket. Firmly push the whole head of garlic into the rice in the center of the saucepan.
  10. Place a paper towel large enough to cover the pan on the surface of the rice. The ends will extend outside the pot. Cover tightly with a lid. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 2 hours, or until the rice is fully cooked. (The towel will absorb the steam, preventing the rice from getting too sticky.) Check the rice periodically to make sure that the rice did not dry up. If the water has dried up during the cooking process and the rice is still not done, add ½ cup (125 ml) of water.
  11. When the rice is done, use a skimmer to gently transfer each layer onto a serving dish. First, remove the garlic and set it to the side of the platter. Then, transfer the rice, then the carrots, and finally the beans. Scatter the raisins over the top for a sweet accent.

Instructions for Soaking and Cooking Beans

  1. Pick through the dried beans, discarding any discolored or shriveled ones or any foreign matter. Wash the beans in a strainer under cold running water, and drain.
  2. To soak, place the beans in a bowl of fresh cold water. A good rule of thumb is to add three cups (750 ml) of water to each cup of dried beans. The liquid should be about 1 to 2 in (2.5 to 5 cm) above the top of the legumes, and the bowl should be big enough so that the beans can expand a bit. Soak for 12 hours or overnight.
  3. Once you have soaked the beans, transfer them to a pot, add enough water to cover the beans by 2 in (5 cm) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, partially covering the pot, and simmer for one hour, adding more water if too much evaporates and beans become uncovered. If any foam develops, skim it off during the simmering process. If the beans are still hard and no more water remains, add ½ to 1 cup (125 to 250 ml) of hot water and continue to cook until soft.