Sara is an Italian woman living and working in Kabul since 2006. In this article she tells us about Afghan cuisine sharing with us some simple and delicious recipes. Thank you Sara!!
The wild beauty of the rugged mountains of Afghanistan, its harsh climate, its mosaic of ethnic groups and crossroads of ancient caravans, are all reflected in its cuisine.
Afghan food is essential and nutritious, based on few ingredients, but it is never the same as preparation varies from village to village, from house to house. While a town banquet can include a variety of dumplings, kebabs, stuffed eggplants, and the sumptuous pulao, a dish of rice, meat, raisins and carrots, herders in the mountains live on tea, bread, yogurt and butter, while meat is a luxury reserved on only special occasions.
Bread is a staple, from the long flat nan of Kabul, to the round bread of the North, and the dark bread made with barley in the high mountain villages. Summer is rich with fruit, melons and peaches, apricots and mulberry, and the famous pomegranates of Kandahar.
And of course there are desserts, such as the milk pudding which closes every banquet, or the sugary sweets accompanying tea (the shop in the picture is a pastry shop in Mazar-i-Sharif).
The recipes found here are standard, but in every house, every village, every region the preparation and the ingredients – and the taste – will be slightly different.
Prepare a dough with flour, water and a pinch of yeast; let it rest for some hours
Prepare the filling
– cooked sliced potatoes and minced onions, salt and pepper
– minced raw leek, salt and pepper
Prepare small balls of dough
Flatten them preparing thin disks
Put the filling on a half disk of dough
Fold it over and close it carefully
Now you can fry it in hot oil or bake it in the oven (preferably a tandoori or wood oven).
Qabuli pulao (pilaf)
Stir fry chopped onions in oil;
set aside and fry chunks of lamb in the same oil, then add water, salt and pepper, cover and simmer until cooked.
Add the onions.
Stir fry separately carrots cut in tiny sticks and raisins.
Cook the rice adding the meat broth, saffron and spices; _ then bake it for half an hour in the oven together with the other ingredients but without mixing.
Put the rice on a plate; add the meat, carrots and raisins.
Ashak (leek dumplings)
Make a dough with flour, water, one spoon of oil and an egg. Set it aside for some hours.
Prepare the filling, cutting leek into small pieces and mixing with salt, pepper and garlic.
Make dumplings shaped as a crescent; cook them in boiling water.
To make the sauce, fry garlic and chopped onion; add minced beef or lamb, salt and pepper and char masala spices; when the meat is cooked add tomatoes. Some cooks also add cooked beans or other pulses.
Put the dumplings on a plate, add the sauce, top with sour cream and coriander or mint.
Make a dough with flour, water, oil and one egg. Let it rest.
Prepare the filling with chopped onion, cooked beef or lamb, garlic, salt, pepper and coriander.
Make round dumplings; cook in boiling water.
To make the sauce, stir fry onions and garlic; add minced beef, salt and pepper; when the meat is cooked add tomatoes.
Finally add cooked lentils and cook further together.
Put the dumplings on a plate, add the sauce, top with sour cream, coriander or mint.
Sara, May 2008
pic sources Pixabay/Wikipedia