Cooking like in Afghanistan

Connoisseurs know that Afghanistan is one of those regions that blend inside them all the savory and tastes around it. However, food in this country is neither salty, nor as spicy as in other, more Western civilizations. A perfect blend of refinement and exoticness makes the travelers fall in love with the exquisite tastes of Afghanistan.

This specific domain is almost sacred in the land of Afghans. Although in Western civilizations food might be considered a way of quenching the stomach, the Afghan people treat food with an utmost respect. Guests are seen as a blessing inside the Afghan culture, and although it might seem weird and rude to a Westerner to receive unannounced guests, this is by no means a reason of annoyance to an Afghan. In Afghanistan, unannounced guests are so frequent that not having food prepared for more persons that one family has is unheard of. The same is to leave from an Afghan house with hunger torturing your stomach. This simply never happens, no matter how poor or how unprepared the host was. It is always an honor for an Afghan to have company for a meal, the guest will be seated in the best place, served the first of all and given the best food the house holds, even if the rest of the members will remain hungry.

The traditional meal in Afghanistan happens on the floor, where everybody sits on colorful cushions, called toshak. In summer, the "table" is moved outside, while in winter, it is moved around sandali, the Afghan heating method. Food is always shared, two or three persons having the same rice platter, while stews, quorma or vegetables are individually portioned. Pickles and fresh nan accompany the food.

Further, all foods have a story and a reason for being served. Qaabuli Pallow, for example, the king of the Afghan meals, is a special dish, served to special guests, on special occasions. Letee is served to young and new mothers because of its light and nutritious characteristics, Dogh is a summer food, while Mahi is especially cooked for the New Year's. Afghans believe that food and nourishment is elemental in nature and can produce different reactions once inside the body. The mystical nature of food is shown by certain meanings or sayings that go around the country- for example, stepping on a slice of bread is sinful.

Eid-E-Qorban is one of the biggest celebrations in Muslim countries. It marks the end of a hajj, and it lasts four days. During this feast, tea, nuts, sweets, and sugared almonds are served to the guests, while pastries like halwa-e-swanak, sheer payra, goash-e-feel accompanies them. New Year's Eve is always important for Afghanistan, and together with the mentioned Mahi, the people prepares kulcha Naurozee, a type of biscuit made of rice flour, miwa Naurozee, a compote, Shola-e-shireen, a sweet rice dish, or sabzi chalau, a chicken based dish. Samanak is also prepared for New Year's and it is an ancient recipe made of wheat, especially planted in small pots, for this occasion.

A birth of a child is another reason for celebration in Afghanistan, especially if it is a boy, and foods start to flow, as a mystical appendix of the joyous event. Aush, ashak, kebab, pilau, Humarch, letee, kachee, or the sweet bread named roht are only some of the delicious foods prepared for this event.

Engagements and weddings have a special meaning, and for these occasions, Afghanis cook sweet foods. Firni, shola, jellies, and all sorts of pastries are cooked for this event, and a lot of sweet tea and fruit are served with them.

Afghans are very proud of their cooking and rarely visit a restaurant, as the food is sacred and must be prepared inside the shrine of the home. The recipes are not about exact measurements, or exact ingredients, but rather about patience and the joy of cooking something delicious. The amounts of spices that can be found in this area add complexity to each recipe, that might taste different in each household. Creativity is the main feature of the Afghan cuisine and the love with which they are prepared.

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About The Author, David Yuri
Afghanistan is full of exquisite tastes and extraordinary melanges Afghan people hold in high regard all food and they even give it a mistique dimension.