Afghan Food

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I was going through some of my photos from my time overseas, and came across pictures of food from Afghanistan.

The local food I had in Afghanistan was better than any of that type I’ve had in the D.C.-area…a fact I would fully expect would be the case anywhere else in the world regarding local dishes.

In the top picture is Qabili Palau.  According to Wikipedia, it is “the most popular dish in Afghanistan.”  I certainly saw a bit of it in southern Afghanistan, and it’s a staple at the D.C.-area Afghan restaurants, so I can believe it.  It’s typically made in a broth which imparts quite a bit of taste to the mixture.  Where I was in Afghanistan, the Qabili Palau was moist…much more oily than the stateside restaurant versions that I’ve tried.  It was good enough that some naan bread and Qabili Palau made for a complete meal (heck, even the naan over there was flavorful enough to eat by itself).

The bottom picture shows a veritable feast.  Succulent lamb, delicious chicken (some of the best chicken I’ve had ANYWHERE), tasty tomatoes with eggplant, and an Afghan pudding dessert (Firni) made with cardamom and pistachios.

I only wish I had more of the local food while I was there.  The western food there got boring.

And yeah, Sprite and root beer probably not the best choice to go along with such good food…probably should have had Red Bull.

Protip: Absinthe Misto

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Rather than pouring absinthe into your glass to prep it for your Sazerac, use a Misto bottle filled with la fée verte to apply a thin coat.  Saves you from having to pour out any excess that would otherwise muck up your Sazerac.  I’ve got another Misto for bitters, and one spare in case I come up with another good idea for it.

I made this Sazerac with Bulleit Rye, Peychaud’s bitters, Sugar in the Raw (which is my go-to cocktail sugar), and Lucid Absinthe.

(h/t to the mixologists at Founding Farmers for passing along this idea.)

Flavored Simple Syrups

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1 cup water

1 cup sugar

Desired flavoring (habanero peppers, cucumbers, cloves, etc, etc, etc.)

Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan on high heat.  Continue stirring the mixture until the liquid changes from milky to clear.  At this point, add the desired flavoring to the liquid.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then set heat to low and let it sit for 10 minutes.  Turn the heat off and allow to cool for another 30 minutes.  Strain and pour into a closed container (I use these) and refrigerate.  The concoctions seem to last for a few weeks.

For habanero simple syrup, use 3 peppers cut into halves (more info below).  For cucumber, use one peeled cucumber cut into slices.  Use other additives to taste.  This is an easy way to experiment with new mixology ideas that you’d typically only find out at mixology bars.  It’s a much simpler flavoring method than infusing your own liquors, and will save you on the cost of the liquor you’d otherwise infuse (heaven forbid you mess up on infusing an entire bottle or two of liquor and lose yourself the cost of the bottles).

(By the way, be careful handling the habaneros and subsequent syrup.  Even the infused syrup alone will burn your eyes if you get any of it in them).

Thanks to Tipple Sheet for the habanero simple syrup recipe.