A delicate and fragrant rice dish topped with a mix of candied citrus peel and nuts, narenj palaw is popular in Afghan cuisine. Like kabuli palaw, it was often reserved for special occasions because of the delicacy of the ingredients and the time taken to prepare them.
In Afghanistan, the citrus peel comes from a fruit called narenj, which is a cross between an orange and a lemon, and more widely known as bitter orange. In Australia, where narenj isn’t available, it can be substituted with the peel from any orange variety. The peel is blanched to extract any bitterness, and then soaked in syrup with the nuts to create a tangy, sweet and aesthetically beautiful topping for the palaw.
To prepare the palaw rice base for this dish, follow the recipe for kabuli palaw. Using a small sharp knife, cut the peel from the oranges in long strips and slice off any white pith. Layer two or three strips of rind on a cutting board and slice them on the bias into thin strips. Repeat until all the peel is cut.
To remove any bitterness in the rind, bring
In a small saucepan, stir the sugar into
To serve, gently layer the rice and lamb pieces into the centre of a large platter using a kafgeer, or large flat slotted spoon, creating a heap. Drain the narenj topping, discarding the syrup, and liberally spread over the rice to serve.
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