Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Photo courtesy of user Ricymar Fine Art Photography on Flickr
(Originally posted here.)

Let's start with a story...

Last week when I was here, I made Coq Au Vin and it required me to skin chickens legs and thighs.  I vowed never ever again.  Not the most appetizing, nor easiest, thing to do.  So when I found the recipe I was going to make for Afghanistan, I was determined to buy the chicken already skinned.  However, at the store, they didn't have an skinless, bone-in chicken.  I was going to have to break my vow after only one week.

Kevin and I got home and I had asked him to help me with the skinning part.  A few steps into the kitchen and I remembered - I didn't have naan.  Another thing I looked for at the store but they didn't have.  Kevin graciously offered to skin the kitchen while I rode my bike to Whole Foods.  We had just come from was the bike shop, so I had had this bike for less than 30 minutes and was anxious to get to use it.  What a great guy!
How I left Kevin...
So I rode my bike to Whole Foods (about 3 or 4 blocks away) while Kevin worked on the skinning.  It worked out really well.  Of course Whole Foods had the naan!
Yay new bike!
Anyway, story-time is over, onto some facts.


Capital: Kabul
Official Languages: Dari (Persian) and Pashto
Population (2010 estimate): 28.4 million
National Sport: Buzkashi ("It is similar to polo and played by horsemen in two teams, each trying to grab and hold a goat carcass.")
Food: Generally non-vegetarian, neither too spicy nor hot, heavy Indian influence


After looking at a few sites, this is the recipe I decided to go with.  I will write more about how I am going to find recipes in the future, as well as how to at least try to make sure they are authentic, next time.

Amy: Going to the library is a great idea!  For our wedding, Kevin got me an international cookbook, but (understandably) it doesn't have all of the countries.  I will probably get some from the internet, and some from cookbooks.

With the chicken being skinned, I set off on the rest of it.  Let me tell you, puréeing onion is really weird.
It looks like lumpy cream of wheat or something!
Neither Kevin nor I really likes onion very much, so I used less than the recipe called for.  I was a little worried at first, because it didn't seem to cover the chicken like the recipe said it would.
I is hard to take a good picture into the pot...
I was excited that this recipe used tumeric, since we had bought some cool, fresh, spices on our honeymoon.  We went to Grenada, which is known as the "Isle of Spice."  It certainly lived up to its reputation.
Fresh turmeric is very yellow.
Spices are pretty.
All of the spices gave the dish a very distinctive color.
Woo yellow!
In the meantime Kevin helped with the rice and went off to play some Mario Kart.  I definitely think he deserved a break after all of that.  :-)
Rice cookers are AWESOME.
I'm sure he's winning.  He always does.  Not that I'm bitter or anything...
At this point, I think I made my biggest mistake.  I did a packed cup of cilantro.  I think it should have been a loose cup.  There was a lot of cilantro in there, and it seemed to dominate when you looked at it, rather than being sparse.  Oops.
Cilantro galore!
In the end, it made for a nice table, though, especially with the naan.
Adorned nicely with Kevin's milk.
Overall, it was very good.  It wasn't spicy in terms of hot, but it definitely had a lot of spice in it.  The yogurt made it creamy and the sauce was really good to mix with the rice.

My biggest mistake was definitely the cilantro.  Also, when I bought the chicken, it was the right weight.  However, skinning it probably took off too much weight, and we were left with not-enough chicken.  If you need to skin it, remember it will weigh less afterward.

I was excited for it as leftovers, since spices tend to sink in over night.  However, it was a little disappointing.  It still tasted good, just not better.  The cilantro was even worse...kinda looking like wilted spinach.  We also stored it with the rice, which may have caused some of the problems.  I don't think it was the recipe's fault.

Overall, I would definitely recommend making this, just don't make my mistakes.  It wasn't the best Afghan food I have had, but since I am not an expert Afghan cook, that doesn't surprise me.

Aunt Bonnie: I have seen the movie Julie and Julia, but not read the book.  That is kinda where I got the idea for writing about it, but not doing it in general.  And what kind of food does Tim make?

Next up: Albania
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