With the end of school and the flurry of summer plans I have not been able to test new recipes. So, I decided to re-post one of the first recipes
This blog was inspired by my mom's cooking and the urgency to preserve her recipes before she expires. You see, in our family Jeja, my mom is a wonderful cook but she did pass her knowledge to her children. I have to admit, I didn't particulary show any interest in learning her Afghan cuisine recipe until I had my own children. This blog has opened a world of food, culture, and banter which has enriched my life.
I am thankful to all my wonderful readers who post comments, ask questions and share their experiences with Afghanistan or Afghan food. It is encouraging to know, that in a very small way I have touched people around the world in this intimate way, by sharing my culture.
Thank you for your interest in Afghan food and culture. Now, let' s talk kebabs.
With schools out and weekend BBQs on the calendar it seems an appropriate time to talk about some of my favorite grilled food: Afghan kebabs. While nothing could be more ordinary in American culture than the backyard barbecue, in Afghanistan grilling is more typically the domain of street vendors and restaurants. Walk through bazaars of Kabul or Kandahar and you will be greeted with the sizzling sounds and rich smells of beef, lamb and chicken seasoned with garlic, onions, peppers, and a host of spices, speared onto metal skewers. The street vendors (Kebabis as they are called) wrap warm nan bread around the meat and serve it with chutney, cilantro and chives. While it would be rare for an Afghan to own the kind of barbecue we are accustomed to, they are brilliant at rigging a makeshift grill set over hot coals for picnics or other outdoor outtings.
It's simple to translate this faraway and seemingly exotic treat for grilling at home. While Afghan restaurants sometimes achieve the signature golden hue to their chicken by adding food coloring, we've found a little dose of turmeric works just as well, and is tasty, too. Serve the kebabs with plenty of plain yogurt, nan, lavash or pita bread, and a chopped salad with equal parts cucumber, tomato, red onions and cilantro, with a squeeze of lemon and plenty of salt.
June of 2009, me with short hair and a tray of kebabs
Lemony Chicken Kebabs with Turmeric
2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
4 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice mixed with 1 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
wooden or metal skewers
Cut chicken into 2-inch chunks and put in a bowl. Puree remaining ingredients in a food processor. Pour marinade over the chicken and mix thoroughly. Cover and put in the refrigerator for at least three hours, preferably overnight.
If using wooden skewers, immerse them in water for at least 20 minutes before using.
Put 4 to 5 pieces of chicken on each skewer. Grill over a medium flame until done. If you don’t have a grill, you can cook the kebabs under a broiler for a few minutes per side or bake them in a 400 degree oven until cooked through.
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