"Kabuli palaw is a staple at any Afghan gathering," says Durkhanai Ayubi. "Rice is very precious for Afghans - it forms the centrepiece of the meal, and all the other food is presented around it. The test of a well-cooked rice dish is that the grains do not stick together and remain as elongated as possible. Many brides-to-be (and maybe even grooms these days) are judged on their ability to cook this dish well. This recipe is from my mother." Begin it a day ahead to soak the rice.