1. Afghanistan: Rice Pilav with Lamb, Carrots, Raisins and Chicken kebabs with Cilanto Garlic Yoghurt Sauce

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The first country mentioned in my book is Afghanistan. To be honest I don’t really know anything about Afghanistan except for the obvious things that show up on the news.

    So I looked up some fun facts about Afghanistan!
  • Poetry is a big part of Afghans’culture and it has been for centuries. In the city of Herat, women, men and children gather on Thursday night to share verses from old and new poetry.
  • Afghanistan’s national sport is Buzkashi (no idea how it is pronounced), or in other words, goat-grabbing. It’s a sport where the players in two teams try to catch a goat while riding on a horse. They have been playing it for centuries. Nowadays there even are sponsors involved.
  •    The main income of the local people in Afghanistan is from the agricultural sector. Many people plant their farm with rice, fruit, veggies and nuts. Some of their crops are exported too.

I had no idea what the Afghan kitchen entailed. My starting point was Google (obviously). It quickly became clear that Pilaf is their national dish but that everyone makes it in their own way, so I tried to combine all of them. I was at my parents house when I made this, and my family loved this dish. When I told them that I was going to cook Afghan food they were a little worried. But fortunately they were pleasantly surprised when this came to the table! If anyone has any suggestions, opinions, critisisms or maybe you make this dish in a different way (or maybe i’m doing it completly wrong) please let me know, because I want to learn how to do it the right way! I found all the recipes on!

afghan rice pilaf with lamb and chicken kebabs
afghan rice pilaf with lamb and chicken kebabs

Rice Pilaf with Lamb Carrots and Raisins (for 7 people) Ingredients:3 cups of basmati rice, 1 medium onion, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 5 cups of water, 2 large carrots, 1 1/2 pounds of boneless lamb shank cut into thumb size pieces, raisins to taste. Wash rice in several changes of cold water until the water becomes almost clear. Soak the rice in cold water for 1 hour, then drain well in a sieve. While the rice soaks, fry un onion in oil in a large casserole pan. Pat the lamb dry and sprinkle over 1 teaspoon of salt. Add to the onion and brown on all sides about 8 minutes total. Add 1 cup of water and bring to simmer. Cover pot and reduce heat to ,ow, then braise lamb stirring occasionally, until meat is tender about. 15 minutes. Stir in the drained rice, carrots, raisins and 2 teaspoons of salt. Add enough water to cover the mixture by 1 inch and bing to a boil, uncovered, over medium-high heat, until rice is tender and liquid about 20 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and transfer pilaf to a large platter. Chicken Kebabs Ingredients: 1/4 cup of greek yoghurt, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 6 garlic cloves minced, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 3 chickenbreasts.  Equipment: Metal skewers Whisk together yoghurt, lemon juice, garlic, turmeric and 1 teaspoon salt  in a large bowl, then add the chicken, stirring to coat. Marinate, covered and chilled at least 4 hours ( the recipe said 8, but I didn’t have the time, so I marinated them as long as possible). Thread  pieces onto the skewers. and put them on BBQ or grill pan. Cilantro Garlic Yoghurt Sauce (for the chicken kebabs) Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups of greek yoghurt, 3/4 cup finely chopped cilantro, 4 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1 1/2 teaspoon of finely chopped garlic, 3/4 teaspoon of cayenne.  Stir together all  ingredients with 1 teaspoon of salt, then chill, covered at leaf 30 minutes (for flavors to blend)

Great movie about Afghanistan: The Kiterunner (2007)

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