Afghan Cuisine is a combination of both Middle Eastern Cuisine and South Asian Cuisine. Geographically this is quite logical as Afghanistan is situated directly between the Middle East and South Asia. The British in India were twice invaders in the nineteenth century. Afghan dynasties, in their return, have flourished and at various times extended their influence to parts of Central Asia, India, Iran and even China. From the Khuhans, to the Ghaznaid sultans, to the Durrani ruler such spheres of influence have all in turn contributed to the rich patterns of culture, cuisine and civilization on general in Afghanistan. Afghanistan was also a crossroads on the ancient Silk Routes that connected Europe with the Far East. Traders and merchants from many countries traveled there, including the famous Venetian traveler, Marco Polo. All of this traffic brought in many imported items such as Chinese tea, and the Indian spices, all of which have had a tremendous effect and influence on the Afghan Cuisine.
The people of Afghanistan are meat lovers. There is normally always a meat mill found in the home of many Afghanis to grind meat for kofta keba. They have substituted the tandoor (a kind of stove) for the local fireside to cook their Kebabs. The popular Firni pudding for dessert is served on all auspicious occasions. Some Muslims call it Sirni and cook it in different ways from most of the other regions in Afghanistan.
The diet of the Afghanis was quite different from the Indian Muslims that stormed their country when the British had colonized India. However, eventually the authentic cuisine of the Afghans died as the sprinkle of Afghans interbred with the non-Afghan Muslims.
The tradition of Afghan Cooking
In Afghanistan it is the tradition and custom for women to do the cooking. An Afghan woman takes pride in her cooking and tradition. The girls in Afghanistan start at the age of twelve helping their mother with the housework and taking part in the cooking. At the age of fourteen or fifteen, they are able to cook almost all of their mother’s recipes. In Afghanistan women do all the cooking and preparing the food for the entire family and their guests. That way the tradition and the recipes pass from one generation to the next.
Cuisines of Afghanistan
If you are thinking of exotic dining amid fragrant aromas and spices with a mysterious lure, then you will want to experience what Afghan Cuisine has to offer.
Chalau (rice) and Korma (sauce), Kebab (Chicken or Lamb), Naun/Nan (whole meal bread) or Lawash (whole meal flat bread) are commonly included in the cuisines of Afghanistan. Excellent tea is served traditionally after a long meal with dessert, mostly Baklava (paper-thin layers of honey-sovcbvcbcvbcvbed pastry and walnuts) or Gosh-e-feel (fried pastry in the shape of an elephant’s ear, dusted with cardamom, Sugar and pistachios.)
The Cuisines of Afghanistan are commonly placed on a cloth that is spread over a carpet. Guests are usually given an individual bowl or plate. Afghans do not use any silverware crockery. Bread is used for scooping up soft foods. Bowls of raw vegetables, plenty of fresh fruit, salads, pickles and yogurt are prominently featured in Afghani Cuisine. If you are in Afghanistan, and are a guest at an Afghani person’s home, you would most definitely be expected to enjoy huge quantities of everything, including buttermilk, or the yogurt drink which is known as Dug.
The Afghan cuisine greatly resembles Indian curries and Pakistani staples. The chief difference however is that in Afghan Cuisine you will find more vegetables being used, as well as fresh fruits and nuts.