- Kabuli Palow
“I fell in love with Afghan food thanks to Humaira’s brother Waheed Ghilzai. He introduced me to authentic Afghan cooking when I lived in the Bay Area. When I moved to New York City I was nervous that I wouldn’t have a “go-to” place for Afghan food. I couldn’t have lucked out more when I found Ariana Afghan Kebab House, a dynamite restaurant that is just a few blocks from my apartment in Hell’s Kitchen.
Everything that I’ve eaten at Ariana has gotten my stamp of approval, as well as praise from Waheed. I’ve enjoyed delicious dumplings (aushak) as well as Afghanistan’s famous pumpkin dish (borani kadoo) and rice with lamb and chicken (qabli palau). Since I don’t cook, whenever I throw a dinner party, I always insist on ordering from Ariana. I’ve done this multiple times and my guests are always deliriously happy.
On top of the food, Rafi, the owner is fantastic. He has always been helpful with ordering and just has a great, relaxed demeanor about him. It really adds to the atmosphere. Be aware that there is another Afghan restaurant nearby that doesn’t measure up to Ariana. I’ve only been there once, and perhaps it was an off night, but since then I always opt for Ariana when I need my Afghan fix. They have never disappointed!
Ariana Afghan Kebab House is located on 9th Avenue between 52nd and 53rd street. They also have a fantastic website: http://www.ariananyc.com/.”
- By: Jason Fuges
“Whenever I describe the Afghan beverage dough to my friends the conversation goes something like this:
“It’s a refreshing yogurt drink …”
“Is it like an Indian lassie?”
“No, it’s salty, not sweet.”
Silence…and then, “A salty yogurt drink?…that sounds i.n.t.e.r.e.s.t.i.n.g.”
Well, dough is interesting. It’s also refreshing and delicious. It’s a summer drink in Afghanistan usually enjoyed at lunchtime with rice or meat. We don’t drink dough with dishes that contain yogurt such as Aush, Lawang or Aushak. Dough has a reputation for inducing drowsiness. A great nap often follows a meal with a glass of dough .
Cucumber & Mint Yogurt Drink
2 medium Persian cucumbers. peeled and finely chopped
4 cups full-fat plain yogurt
2 tsp. salt (adjust to taste)
3 cups cold filtere water
1 tsp. dried mint or 1 tbsp fresh chopped mint
Add all of the ingredients in a large pitcher or bowl and stir well. Pour or ladle into glasses that have a few cubes of ice. Make sure that you get some cucumber pieces into each glass.
If you have yet to make Aushak, which are Afghan dumplings with Lamb Kofta and Yogurt Sauce, there is a reason the dish won the The Food52 contest It’s delicious! (The Food52 it’s a blog started by New York Times food writer Amanda Hesser, which hosts weekly recipe contests). The Food52 site did a great job putting together a step-by-step slide show of how to make it. You can find it here.
If you want to go it alone, here is the recipe:
4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. ground lamb
1 cup tomato sauce
1 ½ tsp. paprika
1 ½ tsp. ground coriander
3 teaspoons Kosher salt, divided
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 lb. green onions, washed, stems removed
½ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 package won ton wrappers
1 tsp. vinegar
1 cup plain yogurt
½ teaspoon ground dried garlic
1 tbsp. dried mint
Saute the onion over medium heat in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil until tender and translucent. Add the garlic and sauté another minute. Add the lamb and sauté until cooked through, breaking it up like finely minced taco meat. Add the tomato sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, the paprika, coriander and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring regularly for 20 minutes.
While the meat is cooking, finely chop the green onions (use the entire onion). A Cuisinart is useful for this step. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat and add the green onions, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the crushed red pepper. Turn heat to low and sauté until tender, 10 minutes.
To assemble the dumplings, fill a small bowl with water and put it at your work station. Set a won ton wrapper on your work surface and dip the tip of your finger in the water. Moisten the edges along two connecting sides of the wrapper. The water will serve as glue for the dumpling. Put about a teaspoon of green onions in the center of the wrapper. Fold the dough in half over the green onion in the shape of a triangle. Use the tip of your finger to firmly press the edges of the dough together to form a tight seal. Next, lift the two longest points of the triangle and press them together, creating a little circle over the dumpling. It will look like a fancy napkin fold.
While you are assembling the dumplings, bring a large pot of water to a gentle boil. Add the vinegar. Once all of the dumplings are done, immerse them in the water and boil according to directions on the won ton package (about 4 minutes). While the dumplings are boiling, quickly stir together the yogurt with the garlic and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt.
Gingerly scoop the cooked dumplings out of the water with a slotted spoon, a few at a time, and arrange on a large platter. Spoon the yogurt over the dumplings and the ground meat on top of that. Sprinkle with dried mint and serve immediately.
Makes 25 dumplings.
Afghan Cooking Made Easy For Even the Most Novice Cook!
Afghan food is delicious, nutritious, and very flavorful. This totally revised and edited latest edition of Afghan Cuisine is a wonderful introduction to cooking Afghan food. The recipes are presented in a very easy to follow format where even the most inexperienced cook can make authentic, healthy, and delicious Afghan food. The recipes range from simple to somewhat challenging but the format of the recipes make it easy to cook any dish. Now anyone can replicate the delicious dishes they’ve tasted and experienced in Afghan restaurants.
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Botsragh ( Pashto ) or Khajoor ( Dari ) is a homemade soft biscuit rolls made from sweet flour. It is common now that when a family member is leaving the house to travel somewhere or is going away forever, the family makes it for them as a good luck and to eat it on their journey. It tastes very good specially with tea and milk tea.
½ tbs dried yeast
½ cup warm water
4 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
½ cup vegetable oil or margarine
1 cup + 2 tbs sugar
vegetable oil for frying
Combine the yeast with the warm water and set aside to soften. Sift the flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
In a pan, melt the oil and sugar together. Pour quickly into the flour and stir rapidly to prevent the formation of large sugar crystals as the caramelized sugar cools. Then add the yeast mixture and the ½ cup cold water and mix to make a firm dough. Do not allow it to stand, but at once take a little of the mixture and form it into a ball about the size of an egg. Flatten this against the convex surface of a sieve to a thickness of about 1/8inch and a diameter of about 2 inches, then roll it up loosely and seal .
Fry the cakes in deep oil until golden brown, remove, drain well and cool.
(Sheerpira) Afghan homemade Candy*·
- Three glasses of dry milk ( Nido milk is everywhere I think)
- One and half glass whipping cream ( vanilla flavor cream )
- Three cup of sugar
- One and half teaspoon cardamom
- half cup chopped walnut
- half cup chopped pistachios
2)Take a pot and put into medium heat, add your whipping cream and sugar..
3) Keep stirring while boiling for 4-5 minutes..
4) When you see that it became syrup not very thick, quickly remove from heat .
5) Add your dry milk, dry fruits and cardamom and mix very fast.. keep mixing until they stick together
6)you can use a flat tray it could be anything, for example aluminum flat trays for BBQ so on and spread the mixture flat in it.
7)You can use your hands to flatten it, and add extra dry fruit like almonds or more pistachio on top.
8) It depends on your choice in which shape you cut it or what size. Keep in fridge or cold place for an hour, its then ready to serve with your tea.
( numbers according to pictures for reference & this post looks gay on dashboards for better view see in the main page, much apologies )
Table Manners from Afghanistan
o Hospitality is an essential aspect of Afghan culture.
o No matter who you are, if you visit a home you will be given the best the family has.
o This relates back to the idea of gaining honor.
o If you are invited for tea, which you inevitably will be, you will be offered snacks and your tea glass will be constantly filled. When you have had enough cover the glass with your hand and say “bus” (meaning ‘enough’).
- The breaking of bread, a common mealtime food
- Guests are always seated farthest from the door; when there are no guests the grandparents are seated farthest away from the door.
- Depending on the customs of the household, a prayer may be offered before and/or after the meal.
- Guests are offered food first and expected to eat the most, while the hosts begin to eat last and the least.
- Guests should refrain from eating too much, unless the hosts coax them to eat more, which he/she almost always will. A host who coaxes his/her guests is considered a good, gracious host. The host should always ask at least three times if the guest wants more food, and the guest should refuse at least three times.
- Guests are always given the best portions of the food. Refusing to eat however is considered bad manners, and guests should eat. Likewise, failure to offer food or to be attentive is considered bad manners for a host.
- Traditionally food is eaten with bare hands. However, cutlery is sometimes provided, depending on the private culture of the host. Only the right hand should be used when eating with your hands. There are proper ways of picking up rice and other loose food without spilling any, which one should learn and practice. Wasting food is frowned upon. When cutlery is provided it is usually a spoon and fork, since there is seldom need for the use of a knife when eating Afghani food. Even when cutlery is provided it is acceptable to eat with your hands as well.
- Soup may be eaten by soaking bread in it.
- Food remnants should be collected with slices of bread.
- Sometimes it is common to eat collectively from one large plate. One should always eat from one’s own side.
- If bread is dropped on the floor while eating at a table, the bread should be picked up, kissed, and put to one’s forehead before putting the bread back somewhere other than the floor. If eating on the floor, make sure that your feet do not touch the food.
- Compliments to the chef are customary; however, compliments should be acknowledged with extreme modesty.
- Traditionally, service during dinner is performed by the young ones.
- First, water is brought in a jug (afthawa) with a very large saucer (thaee-disti) to wash the hands. The jug and saucer usually are made of some sort of metal. The person bringing the jug and the saucer is apologized by the person who washes his/her hands.
- Large table cloth (Distarkho) is spread over which food is served.
- Everyone starts reciting “Bismillah-er-Rahman-er-Raheem” (In the name of Allah The Most Merciful, The Most Beneficient)
- The food is then served.
- Special prayers are recited by the eldest in the guests.
- Food may be followed by fruit and then tea.
- Tea is mustily served after dinner, with dried fruits, sweets, and sugar cubes. When tea is served, the cup of a guest must never be empty, and snacks must be offered. The guest should never be asked if he or she wants tea. The host should simply serve the tea. A guest never serves him or herself tea, nor performs a refill. The host must be attentive and refill tea cups until the guest is satiated. Afghans drink a great amount of tea and having 2–3 cups of tea at a sitting is common. Once the guest has finished drinking tea, the guest can flip their tea cup over to signal that they are done.
- Eating or talking with one’s mouth full is frowned upon.
- Even if one is extremely hungry, one should refrain from being over-zealous at the table.
- One must never sit with one’s back to anyone, especially an elder or a guest. One must never sit with feet stretched out toward anyone, especially an elder or a guest.
- After eating, the jug of water is brought out again to wash hands. A towel may be provided.