Shireen palow, attempt No. 1

shireen palow

Somewhat tasty. Too mushy.

When I worked at Martha Stewart Living magazine, staff members used to get a $20 meal allowance anytime we worked past 8 p.m. Among the places I used to order from was Afghan Kebab House. I’d get this dish called Kabuli palow. A palow is simply a pilaf; Kabuli here is obviously referencing Kabul.

The dish I remember ordering was delicious, spiked with fragrant and zesty orange peel, raisins, and pistachios.

At some point, Afghan Kebab House stopped making its Kabuli palow with orange peel. Maybe it was under new management, because when I asked about it, they claimed they never had such a dish. Or, more likely, the Afghan Kebab House I originally ordered from went out of business. (If I remember correctly, there was an AKH No. 1 and an AKH No. 4 — dunno about numbers 2 and 3, though.)

Anyway, I took the wife to Khyber Pass in the East Village at one point. (She had never had Afghan food until then and wondered why I was raving about it.*) I ordered Kabuli palow thinking it would have the orange-peel awesomeness I remembered. She ordered something called shireen palow.

As it turns out shireen palow is the orange-peel spiked dish. It is awesome. Given that there are only two or three places in town that serve it (according to MenuPages, that is), I figured I’d try to make it at home. I found this recipe from DallasEats.

It calls for 1 1/2 cups of uncooked basmati rice and a whole heckuva lot of liquid (1 quart chicken broth and 1/2 cup orange juice) — seemingly too much for the amount of uncooked rice.

Nevertheless, I always try to follow a recipe as written before modifying it. This one turned out rice that was flavorful and close to what I have eaten in restaurants, but it was way too mushy.

My notes for future makes would be to back way off on the liquid and cook the rice in the rice cooker rather than in the dutch oven, as called for in the recipe. I think I’m going to keep the same proportions of broth-to-juice but use only as much as the rice cooker bowl recommends with its little easy-to-follow bands around its interior. Of course, I’d still sauté the onion and spices before adding them to the rice cooker. (And the wife says to allow those things to cool, since the heat can affect the cooker’s sensors.)

Anyway, not a horrible first attempt, but I know this can be improved upon! (And, DallasEats, if you end up reading this, it’s not an indictment of your recipe! I just may have done something wrong — I’ll experiment with some tweaks and report back here.)

Note: While this is technically my first attempt at shireen palow, I have tried a couple Kabuli palow recipes that included orange peel — both with similar mushy results.

* She has since joined me in admiration of this cuisine.

6 thoughts on “Shireen palow, attempt No. 1

  1. Adam, I just tried this stuff last week and it BLEW my mind. I think Afghani food is up there on my top 3 cuisines now.

  2. Restaurant in Montreal…unfortunately the only things I really “cook” at college are things like mac and cheese and ramen.

    But what an awesome sweet/savory combo.

    And they really, really know their lamb.

  3. I didn’t start cooking for myself for real until I moved out of the dorms. For anything more than microwaving, we had a kitchen in the basement you could book — but people mostly used it as a thinly veiled disguise for having parties. Even post-dorm, I don’t know if I’d call my first couple years of cooking in off-campus housing all that great — until I realized that some girls liked being cooked for … 😉

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