Carrot and Minced Lamb Pilaf

Updated: Jun 6, 2021

This is a very rich rice dish eaten on its own with either a side salad or a yogurt dip.

The flavours of the carrot blend well with the minced meat, neither one over powering the other, blended well with the adviyeh (rice spice).

The final garnish is of almonds and pistachios with either fried sultanas or barberries and a sprinkling of crushed rose petals. I love barberries so I've replaced the sultana garnish with barberries. The constant throughout is the subtle saffron taste that gracefully comes through.

A feast in itself, a very royal dish that never fails to please the eye nor the palate.

You can watch my YouTube videos and see how I make the Carrot Pilaf and subscribe to my channel L K Bonabi to see more videos as I post them. Please note the YouTube video for carrot pilaf does not add the minced meat.


250g minced lamb

1 onion (medium size)

1/3 cup oil (for frying the onions)

4 medium carrots

1tsp turmeric

1tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cardamom

1/4 tsp saffron

1/4 tsp nutmeg (ground)

For the rice

2 cups rice

1tbsp oil

2tsp salt

1/4 tsp saffron diluted

1tsp rosewater

1/4 cup oil (for the base of the rice)

Rice spice (Adviyeh berenj)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

1/4 tsp cardamom

pinch of ground black pepper

crushed rose petals

For the garnish

150g sultanas or barberries

1 medium orange

1/4 cup oil

1/4 tsp diluted saffron

1tbsp granulated sugar (for the barberries)

1/4 cup pistachio and almond slivers for decoration

1/4 tsp crushed try rose petals


Step 1

  • Finley chop one onion and fry until golden brown

  • Add the turmeric and fry for 30 seconds

  • Add the minced lamb and continue frying on medium heat until all the meat has turned brown

  • Add the salt, pepper, saffron, cinnamon and give it a good stir

  • Cover the top of your pot and allow the meat to cook over a low heat for 15 minutes

Step 2

  • Grate the carrots using a medium grater, not too fine

  • Add the grated carrots to the minced meat (save 2tbsp for the garnish)

  • Give it a good stir and cover the top again

  • Allow to remain on a low heat for 10 minutes

  • Remove from the heat and set aside

Step 3

  • Peel the rind of 1 orange

  • Cut into long slim slivers

  • Place in a small saucepan

  • Add 1 cup of water and boil for 10 minutes, this will remove the bitterness from the orange rind

  • Drain the water

  • Set aside

Step 4 (If you are using barberries)

  • If you are using barberries, wash them (see note)

  • Pour oil into the frying pan over medium to low heat

  • Add the barberries, sugar

  • Add 1tbsp of the diluted saffron

  • Lightly fry the barberries until the sugar has melted, do not over fry otherwise the sugar will burn

  • Add the orange slivers and 2 tbsp of the grated carrot and mix

  • Set aside

  • Go to Step 6

Note: If you are using barberries you will need to wash them thoroughly several times to remove the grit.

Step 5 (If you are using sultanas)

  • If you are using sultanas you can soak them in 1tblsp of fresh orange juice for 15 / 30 mins

  • Pour oil into the frying pan and place over medium to low heat

  • Add the sultanas

  • Add 1 tbsp of the diluted saffron

  • Lightly fry for 10 minutes

  • Add the orange slivers and 2 tbsp of the grated carrot and mix

  • Set aside

  • Go to Step 6

Step 6

  • In a medium to large pot add 5 cups of cold water or enough to be able to boil the rice in

  • Add the rice and oil

  • Par boil the rice for 15 minutes or until the rice is only slightly firm but can easily break in two

  • Drain and set aside

  • Dilute the saffron in 1/2 cup of boiling water and set aside

Step 7

Making the adviyeh (rice spice)

  • Mix the cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, black pepper and crushed rose petals together

  • Set aside

Step 8

  • Add 1/4 cup oil to a medium to large pot

  • Place on low heat

  • Take 1 cup of the par boiled rice and add to a bowl

  • Add 3tbsp of the diluted saffron and the rosewater to the rice in the bowl

  • Gently mix so not to break the rice

  • Add to the pot and spread neatly over the oil

  • Sprinkle some of the adviyeh (Step 7) over this first layer

  • Add a layer of the meat and carrots

  • Continue doing this until your final layer is rice on top

  • Sprinkle the rest of the diluted saffron on top of the rice

  • Cover the top and allow to gently steam for 30 to 45 minutes

Step 9

  • Remove the rice from the heat and set aside

  • Get a large dish ready to either place the rice in or for flipping the rice over to present the Tahdig (crispy base)

  • Once the rice is in the dish decorate with either the sultana or barberry garnish

  • Sprinkle the pistachios, almonds and crushed rose petals over the rice and the garnish

Happy eating. Noosh-e-Jaan :)

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