This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
© Lonely Planet Publications

59

Food & Drink

It’s unsurprising that given Afghanistan’s location its cuisine has been influenced by – and had an influence on – its neighbours. Dishes are simple but delicately flavoured with spices and dried fruit. When allowed, Afghan appetites are prodigious and meals are served with mountains of rice and bread, to be washed down with copious amounts of tea. Reli- ance on just a few standard dishes means that travellers aren’t likely to remember Afghanistan for the food, but there are some brilliant excep- tions worth hunting out.

STAPLES & SPECIALITIES

Bread

Fresh Afghan bread (nan) is rather delicious. Made from great sheets of lightly leavened wheat flour, it is baked quickly on the side of a tandoor (clay oven). A sprinkling of sesame seeds may also be added. Watching a bakery in full swing, with a finely honed team of bakers rolling dough, slapping it on the inside of the tandoor and fishing out the fresh loaves with a hook is a thing of real joy. Shoppers leave with sheaves of bread folded underarm, or draped over the handlebars of their bicycles. As well as the major Afghan staple, bread is also used as a plate for

serving dishes on, as well as cutlery for manoeuvring food to the mouth. The juice-soaked nan left at the end of a meal is called sabuz, often served to the poor at the end of the day. In northern Afghanistan, bread comes in rounder loaves rather than the flat sheets found elsewhere, and shows the Central Asian influence of the Afghan Uzbeks. It’s slightly heavier than traditional nan.

Main Dishes

While bread is the backbone of Afghan cuisine, it’s closely followed by rice. Any visitor to Afghanistan will eat their fair share of pulao – long- grained rice cooked in a huge vat, piled high over a serving of meat and often with a bowl of qorma (vegetables) on the side. Qabli pulao (often mistakenly called Kabuli) is the national dish, flavoured with grated carrot, raisins and almonds. The simplest version is chilau, with noth- ing more than plain rice and meat. Norinj pulao has orange peel to add a slight tang. The side vegetables are usually kachaloo (potato), often cooked with more meat. If you’re lucky you’ll be offered borani – fried vegetables such as banjan (aubergine) served slathered in a yogurt sauce. Yogurt is an important feature of Afghan cooking, and is dried into balls of krut, which can be stored for long periods and later reconstituted into sauces. Yogurt sauce is also an accompaniment to mantu, a type of ravioli originating from north Afghanistan, which is stuffed with meat. A vegetarian version is ashak, filled with leek. Soups are popular. Shorwa is a thin and often oily broth. You tear

pieces of bread into the shorwa to soak, and then eat with your fingers. Ash is more substantial, with noodles, beans and vegetables added to the mix. Both ash and shorwa usually have small pieces of meat floating in them for flavour. Lamb and mutton are the most widely eaten meats. The fat-bottomed

sheep is possibly Afghanistan’s most iconic animal, carrying a huge wobbling mass of fat on its buttocks that’s highly prized and costs more

If you want to recreate your culinary Afghan adventure at home, look no further than the

comprehensive Noshe Djan: Afghan Food &

Cookery by Helen Saberi.

In 2006 the World Food Programme estimated that over six million Afghans did not meet their minimum food requirements, and provided food aid to over 1.7 million Afghans every month. Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116  |  Page 117  |  Page 118  |  Page 119  |  Page 120  |  Page 121  |  Page 122  |  Page 123
Produced with Yudu - www.yudu.com