Afghan food is based upon some of the chief crops of the nation like the cereals including rice, wheat, maize and barley. Some other dairy products like whey and yogurt along with fresh and dried fruits such as grapes are also used as accompaniments with these staples. Afghan food specialties truly reflect its geographic diversity and ethnic culture. Having similarities with some of the neighboring cuisines, Afghan food is one of its kind and also undeniably unique. Afghan food is considered as one of the most flavorsome of all cuisines. It is a well-documented fact that the varied tastes and spices of Afghan food form a unique blend of the various regions that are surrounding Afghanistan.
The spices used in Afghan food are neither too pungent nor too hot in contrast to the neighboring western countries. Afghan food plays a very important role in Afghan culture and needless to say that the food is influenced by the culture of the country. The Afghan food recipes are well cooked and therefore the Afghans take great pride in their unique cooking style. Creativity is a vital element of Afghan food that contributes to its wonderful medley of different tastes and flavors. In fact many western travelers believe that Afghan food is the perfect blend of good taste and exoticness.
Classification of Afghan Cuisine
Being the multi-cultural capital of the nation, Kabul has had a lot of influence on the wide range of ingredients and cooking styles used in Afghan food. Some of the most popular Afghan food items that are widely known today were once served by the urban residents of the country and today have gained international recognition. Many of the traditional Afghan food recipes were passed down through the generations.
Globally Popular Afghan Food
Afghan food is popular not just in Asian countries, but also in western countries due to its well balanced taste of being not bland and nor too spicy.
Some of the globally popular Afghan dishes are
Afghan Kofta – the koftas are made of meat
Qorma Sabzi – it is made of lamb, and sautéed spinach
Chapli Kabab – a speciality from Eastern Afghanistan, it consists of meat and flour.
Traditional Afghan Food
Afghan traditional food comprises of the following
Variety of breads – the most popular variety of bread used in Afghan traditional food is the Naan. The naan is made of wheat which is thin and oval in shape. Another two varieties of breads widely eaten in Afghan are Lavash and Obi Naan. Obi naan is thicker than the usual naan and is shaped like a disc. Lavash is very thin and is used to keep stews and meet.
Rice Dishes: Rice dishes are relished in each family of Afghanistan and the popular dish is called Chalow. Chalow is a dish of fluffy rice, where each grain is separated from each other and is served and eaten with Qormas.
Shorma or Shorba : Shorba is widely eaten prior to the meal and sometimes in between meals during the day. It is made of a variety of items.
Fruits and Nuts: Fruits and Nuts are synonymous to Afghan food and they are widely eaten in a variety of dishes including curries, desserts, sweets, and rice. Oranges of Jalalbad, melons of Mazar-e-sharif and pomegranates and grapes are popular in the entire country. Walnuts, almonds, apricots, pine nuts are also very popular in the country.
Afghan Food habits and Etiquettes
Afghan food is eaten with hands and people eat curries or kormas with naan giving it a shape of scoop. Due to communal dining, the food is served in one big plate and is shared amongst all the family members. Guests in Afghanistan are treated with respect and offered food with much love and respect. Afghans have food while sitting on a cushion placed on floor. During winters, they have food on the low table which has a charcoal brazier under it to provide enough warmth to the diners. During summer, they may prefer to eat outdoors.
Afghan Food Restrictions
The traditional food of Afghanistan follows the Muslim rules. Therefore, shellfish and pork is not eaten. However, water buffalo, lamb, goat, beef are eaten in their dishes.