Lamb kebabs are a popular street food in Afghanistan. Chicken is a little more our speed so I decided to prepare a chicken kebab tonight. John’s mother gave us her grill several months back and since then we’ve been trying to get some good use out of it. Neither of us have done tons of grilling in our life and in fact this was my first time making kebabs. Luckily, I have watched a number of Alton Brown’s Good Eats shows on grilling!
I got up this morning and started to break down the chicken to marinate all day. It is always hilarious to see John’s reaction to a little raw chicken. The blood freaks him out and I think he gets nervous when I start swinging around that sharp knife. Luckily for me, Sheldon, was VERY interested in watching me butcher the chicken.
Chicken marinated in the fridge today with half an onion, half a lemon’s worth of lemon juice, 1 diced habanero, ground coriander, oil/s&p. I don’t think habanero is the traditional pepper for the dish but our grocery store was out of Thai. It took a little playing with our grill when I got home but we grilled up skewers of breast and thigh meat as well as the drumsticks and wings until they were crunchy. It was 92 degrees outside today so grilling was a “fun” affair.
I made chalow to go with the kebabs which is just basically just steamed basmati rice. I have a rice cooker but decided to make it the way described in the cookbook. Parboil for 2-3 min., then add oil, cumin, salt, cover and reduce heat to low for 40 min. The result was a non-sticky rice with a crunchy golden crust. Top it all with cilantro, yum!
Overall, it was tasty! I think I might serve some sort of yogurt sauce to make it a little less dry. The rice was tasty but not quite to the amazing quality of the rice we get at our local Indian restaurant. I loved the golden crunch. The habanero in the marinade made the chicken deliciously spicy.
I finished reading the Kite Runner today. It was a fantastic book about redemption. Awful things happen to the characters in the book but in the end the main character faces his fears that he is not the man that his father hoped he would grow into. And the ending gives a good cry. I explained the plot to John and he decided he would never read the book. It is really hard to read about awful things happening to children.
There were a lot of great quotes from the book:
“For you, a thousand times over” – the new “as you wish!” from Princess Bride
“There is only one sin. and that is theft… when you tell a lie, you steal someones right to the truth.”
“A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything.”
Although it was a pretty heavy subject, I enjoyed reading all the comments about food and culture. It’s been difficult to find food and culture JUST about Afghanistan. The whole Islamic middle eastern world has greatly influenced all the countries in the region. Afghanistan is also heavily influenced by Pakistan and India. Naans, kormas and biryanis are all things we order at our Indian restaurant (Punjabi). They are also all popular dishes in Afghanistan. Additionally Afghanistan has been invaded several times from the north by the Mongols and Russians.
My next book to read is the Wars of Afghanistan. I’m interested to learn more about the history of the area. The country seems like it has been through a lot of different conflicts.
I’ve never heard of the Shahnameh which is a epic poem from Persian history that featured in the book but I found a website that is turning it into a series of graphic novels. I think that would be worth a read if you are into mythology.