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White Rice

Updated: Aug 29, 2019

White Rice (Challow Afghan)

Challow or Challaw is a traditional Afghan dish which consists of boiled rice mixed with spices and steamed or baked. Most families would eat this rice with a vegetable or meat dish. Afghans prepare rice in a special way which results in a fluffy, long grain, and delicious dish. With some preparation, this rice is pretty simple to cook. I have added some additional steps to show you how I add extra flavor and decor when serving to guests.

The Recipe & How To


COOK TIME ~60 minutes



- 3 Cups rice (Basmati or Afghan rice)

-  ¼ Cup cooking oil 

- 3 Tbsp salt 

- ½ tsp cumin 

- 4 whole cardamom

- 4-5 cloves 

- 10 Cups water for boiling rice

Optional Ingredients

- 3 Tbsp liquid saffron 

- 1 tsp Rose Water 

- ½ Cup Barberries (Zereshk)

- 1Tbsp cooking oil


1. Add the rice in a large bowl and wash the rice rinsing out the water out at least 3 times.  After the last wash, fill the bowl with cold water and let rice sit for 2-3 hours. Sometimes I leave it for longer.

2. Add water into a pot and bring to boil.

3. Drain the water from the rice. Be sure to drain as much as possible. Add the rice into the boiling water. Add 1 Tbsp oil, cardamon pieces, cloves, and salt. This may seem like a lot of salt; however it's not since there is a lot of water in the pot. 

4. Bring to boil and let the rice boil for 4-5 minutes. You should be able to break the rice with your finger. The amount of boil time will depend on the rice, but you should not boil too long. If the rice feels soft you have boiled too long.

5. Drain the rice using a strainer. I also add some hot water over the top. This ensures that the rice will come out separated. Let it sit for 10 minutes so all the water is drained.

6. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

7. In a small pan add the rest of oil, ¼ cup water, and ½ tsp cumin and put over the stove. Bring to a boil and turn stove off.

8. Grease the bottom of your pot. Add the rice in the pot and pour the oil mixture over the rice. Mix gently as you don’t want your rice to break.

9. Take about a cup of the rice and mix with 2 tsp of liquid saffron. Place in a foil. (Optional Step)

10. Place the foil with saffron rice on top. Place the pot in the oven. Bake over 350 degrees for 20 minutes then lower the temperature to 250 for 40 minutes. This gives the rice the best texture.

11. In a small pan add 1 Tbsp of oil. Add the zereshk and cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes. Add 2 tsp liquid saffron and 1 tsp rose water and cook for 2-3 more minutes over low heat. (Optional Step)

12. Steps 9 and 11 are optional. I add these steps when I am cooking for a special occasion or party.

13. When serving the rice, first separate it by taking a portion on a spatula and shaking it back into the pan. Repeat until rice is separated. Serve up on a plate. Decorate with the saffron and zereshk if you want. 


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