To kick off this project, I spent an hour yesterday going through Google search results related to the food of Afghanistan. A few interesting things I learned:
- The people of Afghanistan drink lots of tea!
- The culture of hosting guests, such as for a meal, is very important. The host makes sure their guests always has a full cup of tea, and they pull out all the stops to prepare the best meal they can afford.
- It is customary to sit on the floor for meals and have food served out of communal dishes. Food is eaten with the right hand (no utensils), and can also be scooped up with bread.
I selected three courses to make for our meal:
This is considered to be the national dish of Afghanistan, and it also happens to be the most commonly featured food in a Google image search for “Afghanistan food.” It is a pilaf made of Basmati rice, topped with raisins, julienned carrots, and toasted nuts. It can be made with lamb, chicken, beef, or beans, but lamb is the most common version. There are countless recipes for this meal on the web, but I settled on this version.
Naan is a type of flat bread that originated in India but is common throughout South Asia. I’ve eaten it at restaurants a couple times and was excited to try making it at home! I selected this recipe from Half Baked Harvest.
Halwa e Zardak (Rosewater and Cardamom Flavored Carrot Pudding)
I stumbled upon this recipe at a wonderful blog full of recipes from an Afghanistan native. I was pretty skeptical about a carrot pudding, but I knew we had to make it after seeing a couple references to it during my research.http://www.desiblitz.com/content/history-of-the-naan http://afghanistan.saarctourism.org/food.html http://www.afghan-web.com/culture/cooking/ http://www.foodrepublic.com/2012/07/31/everything-you-need-know-about-afghan-food http://www.afghancooking.net