Return to rice: Afghan kabuli pulao

Before we begin, a word of warning. Do not attempt this dish unless you have the following:
1. A spare few hours
2. The inclination to do a lot of dishes (or, even better, a dishwasher)
3. Considerable patience

As mentioned in our last entry, we’ve been travelling around Spain for the past few weeks, meaning that aside from some paella in Valencia (and some variations on the theme in Córdoba and Madrid), we’ve eaten very little rice, the Spanish preferring to gain their carbs through bread (oh, so much bread) and potatoes. Similarly, we don’t think we’ve eaten lamb since we made beshbarmak nearly two months ago. Reaching Afghanistan on our culinary adventure, therefore, happened at the perfect time.

Afghanistan’s national dish is kabuli pulao, although it seems that the concept of spelling is a loose one where this dish is concerned: for the first word, we’ve also seen qabuli, kubali or kabili; for the second, palaw, palau, pilau, palao and pilaf. However, even Miranda is not enough of a spelling pedant to let this get in the way of what promised to be a gently spiced, fragrant dish. The main ingredient is equally variable, with chicken, beef and lamb all being possibilities, but we opted for lamb for the reason mentioned above. Continue reading

First BBQ of the summer: Tajikstani qurutob

NB: We’ve just returned from eighteen glorious days in Spain, which explains our absence from the blog world. This entry was actually written before we went, but not posted due to the always frantic last-minute exercise of packing. However, this means it is now three weeks out of date. We’re just going to post it anyway rather than trying to edit it. Forgive us!

Here in London we have finally experienced some half-decent weather later – only half-decent, mind you. This weekend, our Saturday involved a lot of moving our laundry (and ourselves) from inside to outside and back again, trying to avoid the intermittent downpours that made things like mowing the lawn or even sitting outside unnecessarily difficult. Fortunately, Sunday was glorious, and we were able to spend the afternoon sitting out in the sun and BBQing with good friends.

However, this is not the BBQ to which we allude in the title of this post. This one was the weekend before, when we decided to make the most of a rainless Saturday and eat outdoors. We’d already decided that we’d revisit our Lao marinated chicken, but we also needed a salad of some kind to go with it, and that’s where the nation of Tajikstan stepped in! Continue reading