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Bukharian Pilaf with Kidney Beans & Carrots


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Bukharian Pilaf with Kidney Beans & Carrots


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Bukharian Pilaf with Kidney Beans & Carrots

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


  • Prep Time : 30 min
  • Cook Time : 2 hour
  • Ready Time : 2 hour, 30 min


6 Servings


  • 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.


About Dahlia Abraham-Klein


Dahlia Abraham-Klein was born in New York though raised as a citizen of the world, living and traveling in Asia, Europe and Africa. Growing up in a Central Asian immigrant family - home entertaining with a polyglot ensemble was the norm rather than the exception. Silk Road Vegetarian is aimed at fusing her familial and ancestral ties to her vegetarian lifestyle. Find more from Dahlia on her blog, SilkRoadVegetarian.com




7 Responses to Bukharian Pilaf with Kidney Beans & Carrots

  1. avatar says: Lorraine

    This recipe is fabulous! The favors are outstanding! I tried it for a regular dinner during the week and wished someone was joining us! Th grandchildren were visiting (3 and 5 year old), they thought it was the best. I took a few shortcuts, used canned kidney beans and store bought shredded carrots! I love the method of preparing the rice. Can’t wait to make this again for company!

  2. avatar says: pixframe

    I agree with Lorraine. This dish was outstanding. I’m not a vegetarian but am on a restricted diet (low iron) and am constantly looking for flavorful vegetarian recipes and this one is a keeper.

  3. This was a great dinner for a cold winter night. It had a nice blend of flavors, and it tasted really good! I left out the cardamom but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. It also looked very pretty, and was quite healthy!

  4. avatar says: Cyn

    I seriously love this recipe so much that I cooked it for a potluck last night. Not only did I have the wrong date for the event but I burned the onions and beans in the bottom of the pan. This happened the first time too.

    I’m guessing there’s a reduction in heat in steps 3 or 4. I turned it down some but the rice cooked quickly and it burned. Should it go all the way to low?

  5. At step 10, you reduce the heat to the lowest setting. This is all done after you have made your layers, then you reduce the heat. So, yes, the heat should go to the lowest possible setting.Also, I believe the cook time is probably too long. Two hours is more typical for brown rice, and 1 hour for white rice. Although you should check it after the hour to make sure it’s cooked and that it has not dried up. Thanks for reaching out to me and contact me again if you have an issue with the recipe.

  6. avatar says: joan

    I need to restrict my salt intake. 2.5 teaspoons is more than I should have (even though this dish is for 6). Is there anything I can substitute for some of the salt, another spice maybe? Also, if I cannot find cardamom pods, should I just increase the ground version?

  7. The actual salt for the recipe in the dish is 1.5 tsp. Is that ok for you? The 1 tsp is just to soak and salt the rice, but that gets drained away.

    If you dont have cardamom pods, use the ground cardamom on the carrots.

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