Monday, 1 December 2008

the afghan kitchen

to me afghan food is the offerings of kabul restaurant. kabuli pilau made from long grained sayla rice whose centre is a piece of tender beef that comes off in strips when pulled to eat. it if further garnished with raisins and julienned carrots pickled in sweet syrup. there is mantu essentially dumplings stuffed with minced meat and onion, steamed and then topped with a garlic spiked yoghurt and lentil sauce. better yet are the kebabs pulled from seekhs with a fork and wrapped in roti and eaten hot. each kebab is separated by a grilled tomato which benefited from the juices of the meat when it was grilled. afghani roti itself is long flat leavened bread that is just as good eaten hot and washed down with a cold coca cola. i love this food so much that bearing the salty thirst that accompanies and lingers after the meal doesn’t deter me from it one bit.

with all that in mind you can imagine my surprise at the afghan kitchen’s menu which bore no resemblance to any of the food i’ve described above. on its contained menu are several meat and veggies options from which i and i selected the lavand-e-murgh and borani kadoo. borani kadoo combines pumpkin with a yoghurt sauce. it is basically thick slices of pumpkin that have a delicate flavor of cinnamon draped in a thick yoghurt with a slightly salty edge. lavand-e-murgh combines boneless chicken with a yoghurt and mint base. it is cooked till the chicken is tender and has a slight undertone of chili. sadly there was no pilau so we settled on the naan. the food was simple and yet flavorful and both dishes complimented each other. although the eating space is constricted and doesn’t lend itself easily to conversation it’s communal nature reinforces the sharing spirit that i have found to be a hallmark characteristic of the afghan people. 

and inasmuch that it doesn’t resemble the afghan food from home it is very good and characteristically afghan too. i find that the brevity of the menu adds to the charm of the place making it easy to choose and enabling a perfection to the food that is sometimes impossible with a lengthy menu.