Monday, October 10, 2011

Basic (but favorite!) Afghan Ground Beef Recipe

Kamachalau  (Ground beef with Rice, via Zaki's Mom)

- 4 cloves garlic, 1 green chili pepper (or 2 if you like spice), 2 tablespoon lemon juice, mix finely in food processor
- Add 1/2 ladle of vegetable oil to Medium Size pot or deep skillet, on medium heat, let sit a minute
- Add garlic/pepper mix to oil, mix a little.  Let sit for 2-3 minutes on medium heat
- Add 1/2 pound ground beef to pot and mix everything up until beef is cooked
- Add a little less than 1/2 a teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon curcumin (turmeric), 1/2 teaspoon Seekh Kebab spice
-Lower heat to medium/low and stir/let sit with lid on for 10 minutes.
- After it has cooked well and has reduced, add peas, stir and let sit for another few minutes on lower heat.
Serve with Palau, Yogurt, & Afghan Bread (or whole wheat pita)

Pictured here is our turmeric, given to us by Zaki's parents.  Turmeric is used in almost every Afghan dish.  They call it curcumin (or as they spelt it, kukumand).  I didn't recognize the name kukumand, so it took all of his Dad's memory to try and remember it's English name.  When I asked his Mom what type of flavor it adds, she just says "Makes great color!".  As I've found from these cooking classes with his Mom, getting exact information out of her is difficult.  All her recipes are from memory and is not written down.  There is no exact measurements, no "Add 1/2 teaspoon" I have to do my own translation from watching her, eyeing the amounts she pinches or pours and scribbling it down as we go.  Every time I make her stop to let me properly document something she giggles (she gets a real kick out of my need for accuracy).  In falling suit with my American need-to-know mentality, I did some online research of turmeric and found out it's a type of ginger root used in everything from dyes, to cosmetics, and is even being studied for it's medicinal qualities.  Whatever it does, it's definitely a necessity in any Afghan kitchen. 


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