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- Dish type
- Side dish
- Vegetable side dishes
Okra and caramelised onions are simmered in a turmeric-tomato sauce in this side dish from Afghanistan.
7 people made this
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons tomato puree
- 450g okra, sliced in 1/2cm pieces
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 475ml water
MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:35min ›Ready in:45min
- Heat the vegetable oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Stir in the onions and cook until softened and dark brown, about 15 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree until no lumps remain. Add the okra and sprinkle with turmeric, salt and pepper. Pour in the water and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the okra is very tender and the sauce has thickened slightly, 15 to 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper again before serving.
Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(16)
Reviews in English (13)
This gets 5 stars for what it is...simple and different. It is actually quite mild, which surprised me, but it could be the age of my spice. I had last minute surprise guest come who said she would/could not eat okra unless it was fried due to the slime factor. Well, on seeing this, she said...let me try a "No, thank you portion." So, I fixed up a tiny serving, which (believe me... she would have had no problem consuming only a nibble of), and she ate the whole portion, noting that it was not slimy, even though it was definitely not fried. So, another star added for reducing the slime factor on boiled okra. Thank you for sharing this recipe, I think it would be good combined with some shredded chicken for a pita filling.-28 Oct 2010
Discovering Afghan Cuisine, a World Away
Vijaysree Venkatraman is a Boston-based freelance writer whose essays have appeared in The Christian Science Monitor and The Hindu, a national daily in India.
I grew up in India, but it was at restaurants in the United States that I came to know and love the food of my old neighbor, Afghanistan.
So I was dismayed when my friend Ashok had the opportunity, but not the inclination, to learn more about Afghan cuisine firsthand.
Ashok was newly stationed in Afghanistan, where he was working to help the country rebuild. He missed the food of India, but was not a fan of the local cuisine.
A South Indian architect, Ashok wrote with great feeling on his blog about life in the war-torn land, and posted pictures of a city struggling to get back to normal. But in the kitchen, he seemed entirely dependent on his cook.
"The Afghan nan (the local bread) is almost a meter-long and half-an-inch thick," Ashok wrote in a typical post on his blog. "Nobody makes it at home. Everybody buys it from local bakeries for 6 Afghanis a piece. It is alright when it is warm, but gives your gums a good exercise when cold."
I think Ashok is missing a lot. Afghanistan is at the culinary crossroads of many cultures. The cuisine relies on spices such as cumin, sesame, cinnamon and coriander, which are also central to Indian food. Green cardamom flavors Chinese green tea. The country's many kebabs show kinship with the Middle East, as does the liberal use of yogurt.
My fondness for things Afghan began when I was a child and read a short story by the Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. In it, the affable title character, Kabuliwallah -- "the man from Kabul" -- leaves home to earn his livelihood in Calcutta. There, he befriends Mini -- a little girl the same age as his daughter (and me at that time). The Kabuliwallah always brought Mini gifts of almonds, pistachios and raisins.
Nuts and dried fruits, too, are an integral part of Afghan cuisine. They are sprinkled generously on rice dishes and ground into rich chutneys. Long-grain rice is made into the various risotto-like pilaos that serve, like the breads, as a staple of the cuisine.
Though Ashok jokes that Afghans consider vegetarians "people who cannot afford to buy lamb," the cuisine actually offers a variety of good meatless dishes.
The slender tapering okra -- referred to as "the bride's fingers" in the local language, Dari -- is made into a delicious stew. Plump red pumpkins and squashes called kadhoos are pan-cooked with onions or transformed into halwa, a warm, melt-in-your-mouth dessert with the consistency of fudge. Rose water and saffron are used as flavoring in desserts. Bazaars are abundant with grapes, melons, pears and apricots in season.
Kabul has eateries and roadside stalls that sell kebabs and tasty snacks, but I suspect that the best local food, as in many places, is to be had in people's homes.
Despite their recent turmoil, Afghans have a legendary reputation for hospitality. And even during the country's time of incredible strife, its culinary traditions endure and comfort.
I can imagine being the guest of honor, sitting on the floor and dining in the traditional style with no cutlery, on a tablecloth-like dastrakhwan. My friend Ashok is missing all this.
"Perhaps, these days, for the best Afghan food you have to leave Afghanistan," he wrote to me.
Afghan okra recipe - Recipes
This recipe is FANTASTIC! I mean it!
Usually the beef korma is something we order from an Afghan restaurant and we just love it but this recipe came so close in flavour that I would just make it all the time from now on!
If you've got a pressure cooker by all means use it, or even a slow cooker because the meat is going to need some cooking to tenderize. I cooked mine in a pot on the stove for about 5 hours.
Also it sat in the fridge for two days or so and developed even more flavour.
2 whole tomatoes (from can or fresh with skin removed by quick blanching in hot water)
Cut the tomatoes finely with a knife.
1. First I started with a pot and butter, heat the butter and add a drop of oil and once it's hot adding all the stewing beef to brown on all sides. Don't be afraid just let it brown until you see brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
2. Remove the beef onto a plate.
3. Add some more oil if necessary to the pot and then onions and sautee until they look clear on medium (keep an eye on it, I burnt the first batch!)
4. Next to go in is the spices and they toast for a few seconds, then the fresh garlic and ginger (lots of!)
6. Add the chopped tomato and some liquid to cook. Simmer and let cook until meat is tender.
Cover the meat with water to cook, as it dries up keep adding more water until the meat is cooked. once it flakes apart if you touch it with a fork it means it's done.
I didn't have tomato paste but it turned out just great, also I used a little extra yogurt (double!) and added chopped cilantro 30 mins towards the end of the cooking time because I like my herbs to be "fresher" but not sure how the cilantro in the beginning affects the curry so maybe next time I'll add some in the beginning and end.
Served with little homemade naan breads.
A little yeast, a tbsp of yogurt, flour, salt, water and melted butter. Then they're garnished with sesame seeds and black seeds (Nigella seeds/kalonji/onion seed) before baking on 500 F for a few seconds.
This recipe for the bread was made up, it's not precise so I didn't list the amounts, if you're into bread making like me you'll just throw something together and know how to go by feel, what I would do next time is add more butter to make it flakey.
1 tbsp yogurt
1/2 tsp salt
Melted butter - about 3 tbsp
Water to form a dough, just add a few tbsp at a time and knead
Get the yeast going by proofing with a bit of water and the sugar, then add:
Add in the butter and stir until it is all absorbed by the flour and distributed. Then add enough water to form a dough.
Let it rise for 4 hours. Make small balls and let them rise a bit more. Flatten out using knuckles and spread with some melted butter and the seed (or a bit of egg and melted butter)
So if you're in the neighbourhood come by and share this pot of curry or for more curry recipes and info on the 'Cook & share a pot of curry' event click here
How much tomato? How much tomato paste? How much water? How much cilantro? How much flour, yeast, butter, salt, etc for the naan?
The korma looks absolutely perfect. I want to jump up and make this now, but I need to know a bit more about the amounts in the recipe. Thanks!
Also, what kind of beef and how much?
Half a pound of stewing beef. And I've included a bread recipe but it really is a feel and go recipe for me.
I will definitely try this recipe. I want to start protein loading since this is what my gym trainer mentioned when I started a new workout strategy. Thanks for posting!
I still have some lamb in the freezer (I used half of it to make bamya) can I use that for this recipe?
Mandi, I can't see why not :) Go for it!! Lamb might cook faster though so keep an eye on it and as soon as it's tender then you're good to serve.
Thank you for answering!
I'm going to make this recipe tomorrow.
By the way, thank you for your recipes, and practically your northen-iraqi/kurdish recipe's.
I visited sulimani this summer and it's beautifull especially the mountains.
Mandi! You're very welcome!! I hope to add more kurdish recipes in the future. I've never been to Sulimaniya but I heard great things about it and it's fabulous to hear that you've been! :)
Hi Bella, I mad this yesterday and it was delicious! My 2 year old daughter also loved it.
Only my boyfriend didn't really like it. I think because of the corriander so I might leave that out next time.
I'm glad you and your daughter enjoyed it mandi :) Cilantro is definitely an optional igredient, it seems to be one of those that people either love or hate. Feel free to customize the recipe as you wish.
Yesterday I made a spazzatino which is a great recipe to make with stewing meats, just dredge the meat in seasoned flour and brown well then chopped tomato (canned works!) and water letting it cook for a few hours until meat is tender, it is delicious!! I would add onion and celery but I had none, never the less the basic recipe was so delicious served with pasta.
Stewing meat is one of my favourite cuts, it's cheap and gets so tender, it's always a hit :)
This recipe sounds really easy and those are things I always have in my home, so I will definitely try this!
I love stewing meat to, especially lamb when its really tender.
Made this and it was very delicious. Most of my family loved (I have one picky child that just prefers plain rice, lol). It had so much flavor. We garnished with a few pomegranate seeds and more yogurt. I loved the spices in this- thanks- great recipe!
Vegan Tagine Recipe
One of the identifying flavours of this okra, tomato and onion tagine is the final topping of fried, caramelised onions. Frying the onions in the tagine will take longer, as for starters, you’ll be waiting about 10 minutes for your tagine to heat up. So, sometimes, I get that done in a frying pan, while the tagine is cooking. And that’s the method we shall be employing today, for simplicity.
Of course, using the tagine to caramelise the onions will add just that little bit of extra flavour to the other half of the onions that will form the base. So, fry your onions in the tagine if you have the time and the inclination. But don’t fret too much about this point, as this vegan tagine is going to be eaten with the caramelised onion, remember?
Spice level of this Vegan Tagine: I’ve had all sorts, so it is up to you to spice up or down, and this can be achieved with the paprika as well as the green chilli you use. Either use a hot paprika or a hotter type of green chilli, like a scotch bonnet or Thai birds eye. Or both.
Buying Okra – look for the bright green, firm ones. These are the younger, fresher okra and will have less tendency to split when cooking whole. Stay well away from the khaki green coloured ones and most certainly, leave those with obvious black, brown or grey streaks.
Not a fan of okra? Use green beans or broad beans. Green beans will need a shorter cooking time, maybe about 10 minutes less.
That’s it. Let’s get our aprons on!
- 500 grams Bhindi (Lady Finger/Okra)
- 1 inch Ginger , grated
- 3 cloves Garlic , ground to paste
- 1 Onion , ground to paste
- 1/4 cup Homemade tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon Kasuri Methi (Dried Fenugreek Leaves)
- 2 teaspoons Anardana Powder (Pomegranate Seed Powder)
- 1 teaspoon Red Chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon Cumin powder (Jeera)
- 1/4 teaspoon Turmeric powder (Haldi)
- 1/2 teaspoon Garam masala powder
- 1 cup Hot water
- 2 teaspoon Oil
- Salt , to taste
Afghan Eggplant & Tomato Casserole ♥ (Borani Banjan)
So. As if there weren't already enough good reasons to belong to a book club. You know, like hanging out with life-long friends talking about books while drinking a nice glass of wine. And now? Discovering Afghan food. WOW.
My book club is a small group of women in our 40s, 50s and now, even 60s. We've been reading together for 21 years! (Here's our book list, for others looking for a great collection of book-club books.) We rarely tie our meal to the book we're reading but for some reason (fate? good luck? I must've done something right?), last month when we read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (he's the author of the wonderful book, The Kite Runner), at the last minute, I decided to try two recipes from Afghanistan.
And it turns out – WOW – both were excellent. I've even made both three times! And both are now on my list of "house recipes". Total keepers! The main dish that night was a dish called Kabeli Palau, it's an Afghan Chicken & Rice Casserole bound together with caramelized onions (I know, I know, what a great concept!) and topped with a gorgeous mix of buttery carrots, currants and almonds. We love it with chicken but also with beef!
But this eggplant? Totally wonderful, an explosion of tastes and textures and temperatures. And the great news is, the two really work together too. So go make this, really.
RECIPE for AFGHAN EGGPLANT & TOMATO CASSEROLE (Borani Banjan)
1 large clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup (120g) 0% Greek yogurt (oh I love Fage yogurt!)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh mint (don't skip this!)
1 1-pound globe eggplant
Salt & pepper
SMOKY TOMATO SAUCE
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 large cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons curry
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 15-ounce can tomatoes, run through mini food processor
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1-1/2 cups vegetable broth
Salt, to taste
Smoky Tomato Sauce
Broiled Eggplant Slices
2 large tomatoes, sliced about 1/3-inch thick
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Additional cilantro, for garnish
Yogurt-Mint Sauce, for top
YOGURT-MINT SAUCE A few hours or even 24 hours ahead of time, make the Yogurt-Mint Sauce. In a mini food processor, chop the garlic and the salt until fine. (You'll need another couple of garlic cloves for the tomato sauce, I always do all three cloves at once.) Add the remaining ingredients and pulse a few times until the mint is in tiny bits. Transfer to a ziplock bag and refrigerate until ready to use. Makes 1/2 cup.
EGGPLANT Place a rack right below the broiler and set the oven to broil. Cut the eggplant into rounds about 1/3-inch thick. Arrange the slices on a baking sheet, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Broil for 3 or 4 minutes on one side, then flip and broil for another 3 or 4 minutes on the other side – the eggplant should be light brown on both sides. Let cool.
SMOKY TOMATO SAUCE In a large, shallow skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmery, add the garlic and let cook until golden. Add the spices and let cook for one minute until aromatic. Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste and let cook for two to three minutes, it should be quite bubbly. Add the vegetable broth and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer happily away until it reduces by about a quarter. Taste and adjust the salt.
ASSEMBLY & BAKING Set oven to 375F/190C. In a large, deep oven-safe dish layer the ingredients in this order:
1/3 Smoky Tomato Sauce
1/2 Broiled Eggplant Slices
1/2 Tomato Slices
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
Repeat the first four layers
Finish with 1/3 Smoky Tomato Sauce
Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake uncovered for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle the dish with cilantro, then "snip" the corner of the ziplock bag holding the Yogurt Mint Sauce and drizzle over top. Serve hot or slightly warm, either one.
TODAY'S VEGETABLE RECIPE INSPIRATION Adapted from several recipes across the internet, none of which I seem to be able to put my hands on right now. :-( So sorry.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving: 107 Calories g4 Tot Fat 1g Sat Fat 0mg Cholesterol 248mg Sodium 15g Carb 5g Fiber 7g Sugar 5g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS: WW Old Points 1.5 & WW PointsPlus 3
It was the pumpkin curry - kaddo bourani - that caught my eye though.
With its sweet cinnamon and delicious spices this is a wonderful vegan or vegetarian curry. It's equally delicious as the centrepiece of a simple veggie dinner alongside some bread or rice, or as a side dish as part of a large curry feast.
Traditionally kaddo bourani would be served with a yoghurt sauce. All the recipes I looked at were slightly different. For example some served the pumpkin in the yoghurt while others had it on the side. I suspect that this comes down to personal preference.
I chose to serve this pumpkin curry in a tomato sauce with plain vegan yoghurt on the side.
What is okra?
Okra is a green vegetable with a pointy end commonly found in the Indian subcontinent. It is sometimes known as bhindi, or even ladies fingers.
It's readily available to buy in London where I live. I would recommend trying your nearest large supermarket or Asian supermarket if you can't find it.
This recipe was given to me by Shem, the same person who gave me the Sri Lankan roasted curry powder recipe.
This okra curry is the perfect use for that curry powder. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
There are a few things you can do differently with this recipe. The original recipe, which Shem got from her Dad, calls for 1 tsp coconut powder or grated creamed coconut. I find coconut milk is much easier to get hold of in the UK so I decided to use this.
The recipe also calls for curry leaves. As with the okra you should be able to get hold of these in a large supermarket or Asian store but if not you can leave them out.
Here is the recipe for roasted Sri Lankan curry powder if you'd like to make your own.
Afghan Sauteed Pumpkin - Kadu Bouranee
Afghan Sauteed Pumpkin (Kadu Bouranee) is one of the most known dishes outside the country. Pumpkin or butternut squash is cooked in spices and served with the amazing yogurt garlic sauce. So good and so easy to make!
A few days ago I spun my old well-worn desk globe (got it as a birthday present when I was 6 years old, and YEAH back then kids were interested in exploring the world instead of spending all the time on the internet, shocker!) and my finger landed on exotic Afghanistan. It's one of those countries we hear about everyday on the news, most of which are not cheerful. However, this time we will talk about something beautiful, the thing that unites nations all around the world - food.
Afghan cuisine offers a wide variety of finger-biting-good dishes such as Qabili Palau, Korma, Bolani, Aushak and many others but I wanted something different. While browsing the blog of the amazing Humaira Ghilzai about Afghan culture, I came across this sweet and savory pumpkin dish called Borani Kadoo, Kadu Bouranee or Borani Kadu. I think it's still not a complete list of spellings but I give up already, guys and gals. These are the most popular ones.
Kadu or Kadoo means pumpkin, while Borani or Bouranee refers to yogurt based appetizer or dip. Simple as that. This Afghan pumpkin recipe became popular in Western countries only in the last decade. It was brought by U.S. and European soldiers who were mesmerized by the taste of this simple, yet comforting dish. It is said that it was their favorite local food. I am not surprised at all.
Kadu Bouranee is made of pumpkin or butternut squash sauteed with spices and topped with the yogurt garlic sauce. Sounds amazing, isn't it? Sweet pumpkin goes really well with the tartness of tomatoes and freshness of the yogurt garlic sauce.
In the Afghani restaurants based in the US and Europe Kadu Bouranee is sometimes served hot with some sort of meat sauce but in Afghanistan, the vegetarian version of the dish is preferred. They serve it as an appetizer hot or cold, usually with Naan bread.
Mehreen’s Pakistani Pakoras
Greens’ senator for New South Wales. The first Muslim woman to sit in an Australian parliament and Australia’s first Muslim senator. Civil and environmental engineer. Feminist. Tireless advocate for public education, social housing, environmental sustainability, women’s reproductive rights and animal welfare. Passionate advocate against misogyny and racism.
Emigrating from Pakistan in 1992, Mehreen completed her doctorate at the University of New South Wales and has worked in leadership positions for local government, consulting firms and as an academic in Australia and internationally.
Ramadan is the time I most yearn for Lahore and my Ammi’s (Mum’s) home where almost every iftar was a party. At sunset, friends, relatives or neighbours would gather around our dinner table laden with deep fried goodies, dates and drinks to replenish our bodies after a day of fasting to nourish the soul.
Pakoras were a staple at my Ammi’s place and in fact in most homes in Pakistan during Ramadan.
Everyone does have their own twist on the recipe though. The spices can vary from the simple salt and chilli to cummin, coriander and garam masala and the chickpea flour batter can be really dense or runny. Everyone has their most-loved vegetables from the humble potato sliced or shredded to the more exotic okra and whole green chillies dipped in the batter and fried till lovely and golden. And then there’s the abundance of chutneys to choose from – garlic and fresh coriander smashed together in a mortar and pestle with chilli and himalayan salt, or you can go for some mint and yogurt raita. Chilli garlic sauce straight out of a bottle will do, too. There are so many delicious variations!
My favourite pakoras are a mix of baby spinach, onions rings and thinly sliced potatoes, in a thinnish batter made with salt, chilli, water and yoghurt.
For me, iftar without pakoras is no iftar at all. Just the smell of frying pakoras transports me back to my childhood home where two or three karahis (saucepans) with pakoras and samosas are on the go, dates are deseeded and filled with almonds and fresh cream and ice is added to jugs of lassi (sweet or savoury yoghurt beverage) and rooh afza (rose water syrup mixed with water). Guests arrive just before the melodious sound of Azaan from the neighbourhood mosque heralds the anticipated iftar time. The joy of sharing home cooked food with loved ones is even more meaningful during this time when Muslims all over the world are coming together to reflect and contemplate.
It’s hard to replicate the hustle and bustle of Lahore in Sydney but I do bring back a small slice of my memories, sounds and smells into my home everyday during Ramadan. Here’s how I do it.