Monday Meal Review: Afghanistan

Green Tea

This is Meal #1 in my personal challenge: to eat one meal from every country in the world. No one moved an inch. Afghan music tiptoed softly about the room. Steam rose from our plates. I knew, as hostess to our dinner party of four, I had to make the first move. Holding my breath, I dipped my fingers into the slimy eggplant and brought the food to my lips. There was a pause. "Wow. This is.... good!" I said. The tension gave way to giggles. My … [Read more...]

Recipe: Sabse Borani (Spinach Yogurt Dip)

Sabse Borani

Serves 4-6 Both tangy and sweet, Sabse Borani is no ordinary spinach dip. The carmelized onion is this recipe's secret to success. Ingredients: 1 cup frozen, chopped spinach 1 medium onion, thinly sliced 2 cloves garlic, crushed 2 Tbsp vegetable oil 1 cup drained yogurt Method: 1. Drain yogurt over a small bowl for 1 hour. Use either a coffee filter in a large colander or a fine strainer by itself. 2. Heat oil in a medium skillet. Saute the onion until golden, … [Read more...]

Recipe: Firnee (Cardamom & Rose Water Custard)


Serves 4 The bold flavors of Firnee will shock the western palette. Rose water and Cardamom dominate this delightfully creamy custard, while the ground nuts add a mystifying texture. Ingredients: 2 1/4 cup whole milk 1 cup sugar 4 Tbsp cornstarch 1 tsp ground cardamom 1 capful rosewater 2-4 Tbsp pistachios, finely ground 12 whole pistachios for garnish Method: 1. Heat milk in a small, heavy bottomed saucepan over low heat. 2. In a small cup mix cornstarch with a few … [Read more...]

Recipe: Seer Moss (Lemon Garlic Yogurt Sauce)

Seer Moss

Makes about 1  1/4 cups sauce When allowed to sit for an hour (or best overnight), this sauce strikes the perfect balance between garlic, mint and lemon juice. Even those who generally avoid mint will be won over by this sauce. Ingredients: 1 cup plain yogurt 3-4 cloves crushed garlic 2 Tbsp lemon juice 2 Tbsp minced fresh mint 2 Tbsp Olive Oil Method: 1. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Let chill for at least an hour to let the flavors meld. If the mixture … [Read more...]

Recipe: Burani Bonjon (Spicy Braised Eggplant)

Burani Bonjon

Serves 4-6 as a side dish This dish is best served at room temperature. The tumeric and cayenne give the eggplant an enjoyable kick. Ingredients: 1 large eggplant (about 8" long) 1/2 can diced tomatoes 4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced 4-6 Tbs vegetable oil 1 Tbs dried cilantro (use fresh for garnish if you have it) 1 tsp turmeric 1/8 tsp (or up to 1 tsp) cayenne pepper (mild or death-by-cayenne) Salt & Pepper to taste Optional Garnish for non vegans: Seer Moss … [Read more...]

Recipe: Noni Afghani (Afghan Flatbread/Naan)

Noni Afghani

  Makes 8-12 Noni Afghani When cooked gently over medium heat Noni Afghani is soft and chewy. The yogurt keeps the bread moist, while the cumin seeds add an earthy flavor.  This comforting flatbread is ideal for sopping up Afghan dips and curries. Ingredients: 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra as needed 1/4 cup whole wheat flour 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (1 package) 2 tsp sugar 1 1/2 tsp salt 1 cup water 1/4 cup plain yogurt, low-fat or whole milk 1 Tbsp olive oil, plus … [Read more...]

Recipe: Kabeli Palau (Basmati Rice with Chicken & Carrots)

Kabeli Palau

Serves 6-8 Kabeli Palau is a much loved party dish in Afghanistan. The highly seasoned rice dish is finished in the oven, giving the cook 45 minutes to prepare for the arrival of their guests (simply prepare garnish ahead of time). The intense flavor of garaham masala is balanced by sweet bursts of carrot and golden raisins. Note: You may purchase 6 cups chicken broth and use leftover chicken pieces. This will save you several steps (and at least an hour) if you are in a … [Read more...]

Once upon Rose Water


"Stay focused," I told myself. I finished picking through the 1/2 pound bags of cinnamon sticks and lifted my head, scanning the aisles for Rose Water.  The Indian grocery store, Laxmi Spices, was small but well-organized. Ava squirmed on my hip, reaching for the pretty bags in front of her. "Stay focused." I whispered to her and walked towards the Rose Water. Ava let out a squeal and lunged to the side. I caught her and looked in the direction of her small, … [Read more...]