This meal was totally awesome!! I've made a handful of Middle-Eastern dishes before, but have never made any any Afghan food before. A few years ago, I read the book A Thousand Splendid Suns, and am about to read it again for a book club. When I read the book before, I loved anytime food was talked about. It all sounded so delicious to me, especially the Kofta (meatballs or other shapes made with ground meat). I looked online for recipes back then, but nothing looked promising. Recently, though, I came across an Allrecipes version with many rave reviews. I made it almost right away, serving it with fresh veggies, yogurt-garlic sauce, and noni (naan) bread.
When making the bread, I baked half of it on a hot pizza stone and my husband grilled the rest. The whole fam preferred the grilled version; they were much softer and able to be wrapped around the Kofta easily. I know it's November, but we grill all year around these parts. ;) You can make these inside; bake the Kofta and cook the Noni on a griddle or frying pan. Also, don't be scared of all the spices. They are wonderful together.
Afghan Kofta Kebabs
adapted from Allrecipes
4 cloves garlic, minced1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1 pound ground lamb or beef
3 tablespoons grated onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
15-20 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
Fresh cucumbers & tomatoes, for serving
Afghan Noni Flatbread, recipe follows
Yogurt-Garlic Sauce, recipe follows
1. Mash the garlic into a paste with the salt using a mortar and pestle or the flat side of a chef's knife on your cutting board. Mix the garlic into the lamb or beef along with the onion, parsley, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, cayenne pepper, ginger, and pepper in a mixing bowl until well blended. Form the mixture into 28 (or so- I made a lot less) balls. Form each ball around the tip of a skewer, flattening into a 2 inch oval; repeat with the remaining skewers. I fit 3 on each skewer. Place the kebabs onto a baking sheet, cover, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or up to 12 hours.
Afghan Noni (Naan) Bread
adapted from About
1 package active dry yeast2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 cup warm water
2-3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable shortening
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
melted butter for brushing
1. In a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer), . To yeast, add sugar and warm water. Let yeast sit for 5-10 minutes or until "bloomed".
2. To yeast mixture, add 2 cups of flour and salt. Add yogurt and ghee and knead until a dough forms. Add yogurt and ghee (or vegetable shortening)and begin to knead for 5-10 minutes until a dough forms. Add more flour if necessary.
3. Place dough in bowl coated with oil and turn dough around to evenly coat. Cover bowl with towel and allow to rise in a warm area for about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled.
4. Preheat oven to 400. (Or pre-heat and oil and outdoor grill to grill these, which I prefer.) Divide dough into 10-12 pieces and roll out on floured surface into circles. Place rolled out dough on greased cookie sheet or baking stone and brush with melted butter. Cook in oven for 8 minutes or until lightly browned and puffed up. Serve noni immediately with Kofta and yogurt sauce.
Yogurt Garlic Sauce
adapted from About
16 oz. plain cold yogurt (I used full-fat Greek)2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
salt to taste
1. In a small mixing bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. Mix well. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
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