KABULI / AFGHANI PULAO

Afghani pulao or Kabuli pulao is a national dish of Afghanistan. Festivals and celebrations are incomplete without this rice dish. I am very fortunate that I have learned this recipe from an Afghani family. So I can say its an authentic recipe from Afghani kitchen. I have posted a duplicate recipe with different method and ingredients few years ago. You can check the recipe here: AFGHANI PULAO

 

INGREDIENTS:

Mutton / beef / chicken1 kg
Fresh Ginger paste1 tbsp
Saltto taste
Water for making stock3-4 cup or as needed
Onion1 medium
Oil1/2 cup (for making stock)
Almond1/2 cup
Raisins1/2 cup
Carrots3 large
Sugar 2 tbsp
Sella Rice 1 kg
Oil for frying nuts3-4 tbsp

METHOD:

  • In oil fry sliced onion till light brown. In meat add meat, garlic paste and salt.
  • Fry till color change and add water. Cover with the lid till meat tender.
  • Wash raisins and soak for 15 minutes.
  • In a pan add oil 1-2 tbsp. and fry raisins. Till they become double in size. Remove from pan and set aside.
  • In the same oil fry almonds (soak almonds in hot water for 15 minutes and remove skin). take them out.
  • Grate carrot or cut Julien, should be very thin. In  the same pan add carrots , 3-4 tbsp water and 2 tbsp sugar. Cook till soft and water dries completely.
  • In a pot add 2tbsp sugar and melt till brown color appear. Add meat stock  Approx 1 cup in it. Add cardamom powder and cumin powder in stock. Cook for few minutes.
  • Soak rice in water for 1-2 hours, boil in salted water till done.
  • Now add stock mixture on rice and mix well.
  • Spread meat, raisins, carrots on rice and let it simmer for few minutes.
  • Mix all and dish it out. Garnish with almonds and serve hot.

SHAMI KEBAB- AFGHAN DISH

kebabs mThese kebabs are different from our own Shami kebabs. Afghanis mostly use Lamb meat but you can make with beef. These less spiced kebabs you can serve with Chutney or Salad.

INGREDIENTS:

Lamb/ beef boneless1/2 kg
Onion1 medium
Garlic cloves2
Potatoes2 boiled
Saltto tatse
Black pepper1 tsp
Coriander powder1 tsp
Bread crumbs4 tbsp
Eggs1-2 as required for binding
Oilas needed

METHOD:

  • Sauté onion and add meat, salt and garlic cloves in it. Now fry for few minutes.
  • Add water 3 cups approx, and cook on low flame till meat tender. Dry water.
  • Cool it down and grind.
  • Now add mashed potatoes, bread crumbs, salt, black pepper and eggs. Mix all well.
  • Make long shaped kebabs and deep fry or you can shallow fry them.
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  • Serve with salad or chutney
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afghan school mOnce i have asked from an Afghan Lady, ” Now Afghanistan’s condition is stable so you can plan to go back to your homeland?”
She replied,” No ,although we wish to go back to our homeland but we can’t. We have not enough money and resources to build our houses and buy lands. We have no money to start a better life. We are happy hear thou we are facing a lot of problems but we do not want to go back”.

Afghan’s are no more Refugees here in Pakistan. Most of them are Pakistani Nationals. They are doing small businesses , running shops and doing labor work here. In every Afghan home you will see carpet looms. Small girls and women knit carpets at home.

When I saw an Afghan school, My inner teacher forced me to go and see these Afghan Children studying. Normally I saw them playing and working on streets all the time so i decided to go inside the school building and see the way of teaching.
On first place I met a Graceful lady Sumera Sehar, who was the Principal of Barkat Elementary School ( School of Afghan Children) With hesitation I asked from her that Is she Afghani, She smiled gracefully and replied, “Not I, Nor  any of my teaching staff is Afghani. We are resident of Attock City.” (Afterwards I met two very competent teachers Mehnaz and Irum, who took me to every classroom)

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She told me that Schools for Afghan Kids are in number not only in Attock region, but in other cities too. However much good work and effort is done for Afghan refugees. Less then half children get primary education but unfortunately only 5% is receiving education beyond this level. What is the major reason???? Only few parents allow their kids to continue. This is very disappointing 🙁

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I asked few questions from Principal Mrs Sumera Sehar about Education system of Afghan children in Pakistan, I am grateful to her, She answered patiently to my curious questions.

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Q1: What was the school like when you got here.What were the major issues and difficulties when you started these elementary schools for Afghan Refuges.?


ANSWER: when I joined this school in 1995 it had only 22 students and 4 teachers in small 4 room building.
And the only major issue was to bring out children from their homes to school. Parents were least interested in sending them to school.

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Q 2: What do you see as the three or four main challenges in educating these kids?


ANSWER: The main challenge in educating Afghan refugees is that they are very traditional in their approach, and have strong discrimination among their sons and daughters. They don’t pay attention to their daughters.

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Q 3: How these kids and there parents responding to you. Because 99% an illiterate and they hardly can understand Urdu.?


ANSWER: In the beginning, their response towards education was very discouraging but with the passage of time they have shown positive response and now they send their daughters to schools , although girls enrollment is low but satisfactory.

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Q 4: What is the ratio of girls in school. Why they are not sending girls in schools.?

ANSWER: The ratio of boys n girls in our schools is 80:20. the girls do the household work as their mother weave carpet all the day and when she grow up, she also joins her mother in carpet weaving to support the family income.

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After asking few questions from Principal, I requested her to show me class rooms because i wanted to meet children. She asked her Two teachers to accompany me.

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I entered in one class and for my surprise i saw kids sitting in neat and tidy uniform and busy in school work. I asked questions from them firstly they were shy but after few questions they started enjoying my questions and giving me answers without any hesitation.

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When I visited a senior most class of school, I was so impressed after seeing drawings made by students, it was  great to see their work.  I saw a boy who waved hand to me, first i tried to remember where i met him before then i realized They boy aged 8-9 years was the vegetable seller. I asked him with hesitation but he proudly replied, yes Mam my father is a shop keeper selling vegetables and after school I am helping . Most of the children then told me that they all are doing part time jobs to earn money for family. Girls told me that they weave carpet after school time.

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I asked one to weave carpet for me also, she gladly agreed. 🙂 I was watching the innocent and beautiful faces of kids and praying for their bright and prosperous future.

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My gratitude towards efforts of all Pakistani teachers who are motivating these kids and their parents to take education to improve their lifestyle.

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SHOLA – AFGHAN DISH

shmThis is an Afghan dish, healthy and tasty. Dieters you can also include this dish in your Menus. This is basically Afghani Khiri. But I consider this as a Haleem. I have posted a recipe of DEHLI SHOLA which i learned from my Aunt (she was from Dehli) both recipes are very different in taste and looks but names are same :).  Try both and give me your feedback.

INGREDIENTS:

Mong lentil/ mung beans1 cup
Chicken (boneless) or beef1 cup
Chicken or beef stock1 cup
Onion1 small
Tomato1 medium
Garlic1 tsp minced
Saltto taste
Red chilli powder1 tbsp or to taste
Turmeric powder1 tsp
Cumin seeds1/2 tsp
Black pepper1 tsp
Rice2 cups
Oil1/2 cup
Spinach 1 cup finely chopped

METHOD:

  • Soak lentil for 2 hours.
  • In a pan fry onion till light golden then add minced garlic and stir for few seconds.
  • Add chopped tomato and fry.
  • Now add chicken or beef and stir. Add salt, pepper, red chillies, turmeric and cumin seeds. Fry them.
  • Add Chicken stock , water, spinach and soaked and washed rice ,cover the lid and cook till tender and thick.
  • I pressure cook them for 10 minutes , you can cook in a pot and then check the consistency you required. If you want to eat as a khichri then dry water, if like Haleem then you can add stock to obtain Haleem consistency.
  • Prepare tempering/ bhagar now (if making for a dieter then skip bhagar)
  • In 1/4 cup oil add 3 red chillies, 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, 1 -2 green chillies and let them crackle then pour on shola.
  • You can fry onion for bhagar also.
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  • Serve with Chat masala, coriander and green chillies.
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GOSH-E-FEEL & KAHWA

IMG_1493Gosh e feel also known as elephant ears or Hathi ke kan is a sweet Afghan pastry.This is very easy and simple, Afghan lady told me that they normally serve this on special occasions, Eids or parties. She told me, she can make large size Gosh e feel hundred in numbers at a time for large gatherings.

She used her own Pasta machine for demonstration…. afterwards she, on my request brought it from Afghanistan for me. She and her daughter demonstrated the process for me.

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INGREDIENTS:

Flour2 1/2 cups
Eggs2 small
Baking powder2 pinch
Saltpinch
Cardamom powder1/2 tsp
Oil1/2 tsp (add in flour)
Milk1/2 cup (for kneading)
Sugar (grind it into fine powder)as needed
Oil for frying

METHOD:

  • In a large bowl mix flour , baking powder, cardamom, oil, salt and eggs.
  • Knead with milk, knead it very well approximately for 15 minutes.Cover with cling wrap and leave for 1/2 hour .
  • Dust flour on work place and knead one more time before use.Divide dough into equal halves.
  • Use pasta machine for rolling ,if you have. Otherwise you can roll it with pin wheel as thin as you can.
  • You can make two shapes which are famous, one is a bow shape and other one is oval shape like an elephant ear.
  • Now fry till light golden and sprinkle sugar on hot ears.You can sprinkle pistachio powder as well.
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CARDAMOM TEA /KEHWA

INGREDIENTS:

Water2 cups
Black or green tea leavesas needed
Cardamom2 pods
Sugarto taste.

METHOD:

  • Boil water.
  • Add black / green tea leaves and cardamom.
  • Cover with lid and turn off the flame. Leave it for few minutes.
  • Strain, add sugar in cups and pour kehwa.
  • Serve….:)

KEBAB -E – MURGH

IMG_9390MChicken kebabs and lamb kebabs are most popular and different in taste, desired Afghani food. One thing which i noticed that the spices used in Afghani foods are not bland. Afghans have their own way of cooking and they usually try to keep the balance when it comes to adding spices.

In the pic below you can see an Afghani restaurant in my city.

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The Afghan lady told me that each part of Afghanistan has it’s own cooking style. They were living in Kabul so their recipes are modified and versatile. Afghan lady’s daughter is a head cook back in Afghanistan she is working for any foreign company,  and i am fortunate that i got a chance to meet her. This recipe is her gift for me….:)
Here are few pics of her cute kids.

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INGREDIENTS:

Chicken in cubes1/2 kg
Saltto taste
Black pepper1 tsp
Green chillies2 medium
Ginger1 inch piece
Garlic2-3 cloves
Olive oil1/4 cup
Turmeric powder1/4 tsp

METHOD:

  • In a grinder add all ingredients except chicken cubes and finely grind them.
  • Marinate chicken for 3-4 hours. (YOU CAN TAKE BEEF/ LAMB MEAT ALSO)
  • Grill it or pan fry it and serve with creamy coriander sauce and pita bread or Afghani naan.
  • I have inserted capsicum and tomato in skewers, this step is my own created one…:)
  • In Ramadan ,marinate it and freeze. Just before Iftar fry, bake or Grill  it.
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CREAMY CORIANDER SAUCE

Take 1/2 cup fresh coriander , green chilli 1 , Salt, , lemon juice 1 tsp  and Nestle yogurt.Blend it and serve with kebabs.

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Sending this entry to Ahlan Ramadan –The Healthy Way

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IMG_2415Bolani means stuffed flat bread or turnovers, cooked with vegetable fillings in it.I am here posting most popular filling of Bolani….. Bolani, you can make with a number of fillings with a lot of variations.

INGREDIENTS:

Potatoes3-4
Spring onions ,green leafy part4 tbsp
Black pepper1 tsp
Saltto taste
Green chilli 1 tbsp chopped.
Coriander1 tbsp
Flour2 cups
Salt pinch
Cold water for kneading dough
Oilfor frying bolani.

METHOD:

  • Mash potatoes and mix finely chopped spring onion, black pepper, salt, green chilli and coriander.
  • I have added Cheddar cheese in the filling just to give a twist in this recipe..:) you can ad 3-4 tbsp cheese if you want to add.( optional step)
  • In flour add salt and knead with water.
  • Now make a flat round thin bread and place filling on one side, turn other side over and seal with fork.
  • Fry in 2 tbsp oil or butter.
  • Serve hot.
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KABULI PULAO/ PILAF

IMG_5625After marriage when i settled In Attock, it was a great surprise for me to see hundred of Afgan families living here.They are living  peacefully and are very hard working people.I considered myself very fortunate that i found a family ,who knows Urdu language. I have learned a lot of Afghani recipes from them..The mother of the family , whom I am calling  “AMMI” because of her loving and simple nature, she herself  demonstrated me her famous cuisine.

They have been living here for a long time, her 3 daughters are born here.When i asked her about there resettlement in Afghanistan she( Ammi)  told me although her country has seen a lot of changes and development since her family fled to Pakistan,but they have no money to construct their homes and start there businesses.Here i have seen small 8-9 years girls weaving carpets. In Every home you will see Afghani girls earning daily 300 Rs by carpet weaving. I would like to appreciate them for their hard work.

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In my coming posts you will see some pictures of Afghan people, it was not an easy job to take pics because most of them do not like to intermingle with Pakistani families.In the pic below you can see few people making Kabuli pulao it was a marriage of a Afghani girl. You can see burning coals on the lid during simmer process.They consider this simmering process as a main step to develop taste in Pulao.

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On special occasions i have seen them making Afgani Pulao served with Kehwa and fresh fruits. They normally serve food on large cloth or dastarkhuawn on the floor.

INGREDIENTS:

Chicken/ Mutton/ Beef 1 kg
Onion2 large, sliced
Whole spices ( big cardamom,black pepper,cumin)1 tbsp
Tomatoes3 large
Rice3/4 k
Saltto taste
Carrot3 cut in thin sticks
Raisins1/2 cup
Almonds3 tbsp
water4 glasses

METHOD:

  • Soak rice for 1/2 an hour.
  • In a heavy bottomed pot pour oil and sliced onion, fry till golden brown color appears.
  • Add meat and whole spices , fry again till light brown.
  • Add tomatoes, stir constantly and cook till oil separates.
  • Add water and cover with lid, cook till meat tender.
  • Add rice , when water absorbs simmer it on very low flame.
  • On the other side in a pan saute thin sticks of carrots in 1 tbsp oil till soft, add raisins and almonds too and saute.
  • Garnish pulao with carrots and serve.
  • Enjoy this with Afghani Kehwa.(recipe i will post soon)
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