Famous Street Foods in Afghanistan
The term kebab can describe any type of meat (except pork, which is forbidden to Muslims) grilled, barbecued, cooked in the oven, or fried. It can range from a whole baby lamb baked in a tandoor to ground meat formed into patties or sausage shapes. The most common kebabs sold at stalls are tikka or sikh kebabs. Small cubes of lamb interspersed with fat called dumba from the tail of the fat-tailed sheep are threaded on skewers ( sikh ) and grilled over charcoal. The cooked kebabs are served on top of bread: either naan, a leavened, baked wheat bread, lawausha (a larger, thinner type of naan), or chapati, an unleavened wheat bread cooked on a griddle. Crushed dried sour grapes ( ghora ), salt, and red pepper are sprinkled over the kebabs. For „takeaway,‰ the crushed grapes and pepper are placed in little cone-shaped paper bags and the kebabs wrapped in the lawausha bread. If the kebabs are eaten in at the stall, they may be served with a salad of sliced onions and tomatoes with cilantro and some lemon or norinj (Seville orange) wedges as a garnish.
Kofta or qima kebabs are made with minced meat formed into sausage shapes, threaded on skewers and cooked over charcoal. Karayi kebab can be made from either kofta kebab or sikh kebab. The kebabs are removed from the skewers and placed in a round metal pan called a karayi with a little oil and fried quickly for a few seconds. Eggs are broken over the top and fried until cooked, sprinkled with salt and pepper and served straight from the pan. Shinwari , lamb chop kebabs (named after the Shinwari, one of the large Pashtun tribes of the North West Frontier), were once a favorite in the old town of Kabul. (A similar kebab, called qaburgha , is sometimes made from ribs of veal and is called pushti kebab by Pashtuns especially in Kandahar and Herat, two cities renowned for this type of kebab.) The old town of Kabul was also famous for kebabs made with liver ( jigar ), kidney ( gourda ), and lambsÊ testicles ( kebab-e-kalpura ), believed to be an aphrodisiac. Some vendors make chopan kebab , named after shepherds (chopan) who rubbed chunks of lamb on the bone with plenty of salt, skewer the meat on twigs or small branches, and roast them over fire while watching their flocks. A specialty of Jalalabad is fried chapli kebab, which can be very hot and consists of minced meat, lots of gandana (a type of Chinese chive), scallions, cilantro, and plenty of green chilies. Chapli means sandal in Dari, which this kebab resembles. Chicken kebab, previously an expensive commodity, has become popular. The legs, thighs, wings, or breasts are marinated and then fried in a pan over charcoal or gas burners.
Noodle dishes come from northern Afghanistan and reflect the influence of Central Asia. Aush is a wheat-flour noodle soup to which chickpeas, red kidney beans, or other vegetables are added. Strained yogurt ( chaka ) or reconstituted quroot (dried yogurt) is stirred in, and the entire mixture is flavored with garlic, mint, and chili
pepper. A dollop of minced meat cooked in an onion and tomato sauce is often added on top. Aush-e-asli are boiled wheat noodles to which are added meatballs cooked in a tomato sauce.
Mantu is a traditional Uzbek dish. Noodle-type wheat dough is stuffed with finely chopped lamb and onion and subtly spiced with finely chopped green chili, black pepper, and cumin, and steamed. The „dumplings‰ are served with strained yoghurt and sprinkled with chopped fresh cilantro. Some are served with a carrot
Boulanee is a stuffed fried pastry. Fillings may include squash, spinach, and mung beans, but the most popular ones are filled with chopped gandana or mashed potato and scallions.
They are usually made in a half-moon shape and served with chutney.
Shour means salty and nakhod are chickpeas. Chickpeas are simmered slowly in plenty of water over several hours, then mounded and patted together to resemble a cake on a large platter.
The vendor takes a small plate and expertly cuts a portion of the chickpeas, without collapsing the mound, places it in a small bowl, and sprinkles generous amounts of mint and vinegar dressing on top. Chutney is served as an accompaniment.