Afghan Spiced Rice with Mung Beans: Maash Palao


To serve 2
As rice and mung beans are two of Afghanistan’s favourite ingredients, there are quite a number of recipes involving the pair of them. One such is ketcheree: short grain rice cooked up all stickily with garlic and quroot. But I prefer this version, which sees mung beans cooked with basmati and spices and fruit. This is based on an amalgamation of conversations with customers together with Mr. Mirwais’ mother’s recipe. Who he? See above.


  • 150g basmati rice
  • 75g mung beans
  • ghee or clarified butter
  • 1/3 teaspoon green cumin seeds
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1cm ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 green chillies (you decide how hot you like it), chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 75g dried apricots, soaked for an hour or so, and finely chopped
  • 450ml water or veg stock
  • salt to taste

Wash the rice and pick through the the beans, and then put the latter in a pan of water and bring it to the boil. Cook for fifteen minutes and then drain.
Heat some oil in a saucepan and fry the cumin seeds for a minute or so. Follow them up with the onion, ginger and chillies; once the onion has softened add the spices and apricot, stirring well. After another half a minute add the rice, mung beans, water and a pinch of salt, cover the lid of the pan, turn the heat down and let the rice cook through undisturbed for about twenty minutes. Once this time is up, stir the rice with a fork, check the seasoning and then let it sit for a few minutes before turning out on to a serving tray.
Serve with yoghurt and salad.

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