Norinj Palaw – Afghan Orange Rice

written by Mirriam Seddiq
7 · 14 · 23

Norinj Palaw is a rice dish for a special occasion, mainly because it takes quite a while to make. You will WOW people if you make this dish for your family outside of a wedding party. Here is how you do it.

Let’s Talk Orange Peels.

I’ve watched every recipe for Norinj Palaw on the internet. They almost all SAY they use packaged orange peels. However, I tried this multiple times, and it was not good.

The package of dried orange peels did not add flavor, and by the time I was done cooking the dish, they looked pale and sad. I decided to make my own dried orange peel for this one.

Sure, it takes longer, but it increases the flavor profile 100 percent.

I made this Vegetarian.

I recently went to a well-known Afghan restaurant that will remain unnamed. I ordered a vegetarian plate, and the rice was cooked in meat broth.

There is nothing wrong with meat in rice or rice cooked in meat broth. But rice cooked in meat broth is not vegetarian, lol.

Traditionally this dish is served with meat or in a meat broth, but I decided to make this dish vegetarian. It’s nice to have a vegetarian rice dish that you can then serve delicious Afghan meat on the side, like our kebabs.

When I serve this dish to people, they comment on how delicious it is and pleasant to taste the rice flavor above all else.

Use Great Rice.

If you want to have a great rice dish, use great rice. I only use Aahu Barah products. They have the longest and strongest basmati rice grains and don’t break.

Using the code AFGHANCOOKS on their website gives you 15% off your first order.

Easily Printable Recipe.

As always, we make this recipe easy to print and replicate. I suggest you watch the video if you have any questions. Also, leave a comment. I always respond. Are you a fan of Afghan Cooks and want to help spread the word? Well, social media is critical. Finally, don’t forget us on social media. We are on Tik-TokInstagram, and Youtube. We also have an excellent non-spammy Afghan Cooks Club. Sign up for that too!

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Norinj Palaw – Afghan Orange Rice

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  • Author: Mirriam Seddiq


This Norinj Palaw recipe is an Afghan classic. I made my version completely vegetarian.



Peel of 4 Oranges (see directions)

2 Tablespoons of sugar


2 tablespoons of oil

1/4 Cup Pistachios

1/4 Cup blanched almonds

1/2 teaspoon of green cardamom


2 Cups of Organic Aahu Barah Basmati Rice


1. First, prepare your dried orange peels. I highly suggest you watch the video to get the technique. I peel the oranges, use a peeler to peel out a good amount of the pith, and then thinly slice the orange peels; after you do four oranges, spread them out on a baking sheet. Please put the baking sheet in the oven on the lowest setting on your range for 2 hours, then leave them out on the counter overnight.

2.  Next, put two cups of water in a pan. Add your orange peels. Bring to a boil, drain it. Do that three times but do the last round differently.

3. In the last round, in the water and orange peel, add the saffron you’ve crushed with two tablespoons of sugar to break it up. Making like a saffron powder. Let that come to a boil the last and third time. Let it strain.

4. Now you will add two tablespoons to a hot pan. Add your orange peels. Add your pistachios, almonds, and cardamom. Cook on medium-low for 3 minutes. Turn off and set aside. Just enough to have those flavors meld together.

5. Now, your rice. Make sure you have soaked and rinsed your rice. You can watch how to do that here.

6.  To 6 Cups of boiling water, add two teaspoons of salt. Add your rice to the boiling water. Cook for about 5 minutes. Basically “al dente” but for rice.

7. After cooking, drain your rice. In a separate pot cover the bottom with a bit of oil. Add your drained rice into the new pot. Add your orange and nut mixture to the top and side of your rice. I poke holes with the bottom of a wooden spoon to help the steam release. Cover your rice with a paper towl, then put the lid on your pan.

8. Listen, but put it on medium-high for about 3-4 minutes. Then, reduce to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes.

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Mirriam Seddiq

I am Mirriam Z. Seddiq, the Afghan Cook. I was born in Afghanistan and came to America as a when I was 18 months old. I am a criminal defense, personal injury, and immigration attorney. I started the first Muslim American Woman Political Action Committee, once owned a coffee shop and a restaurant, and currently am the CEO of the Komak Foundation which focuses its efforts on helping Afghan refugees.

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