Tuesday, February 24, 2015

International Cooking Challenge: Afghanistan - Lawang, Afghani Naan, and Basmati Rice

Tonight was our second journey in our International Cooking Challenge.  Our randomly chosen culinary destination for the evening was Afghanistan.

For dinner, I made Lawang - an Afghan Braised Chicken with Turmeric Yogurt Sauce, along with Afghani Naan (or Noni) bread, and basmati rice.

We did not do as well listening to music and learning lots of facts about Afghanistan as we did with New Zealand last night.  The Hubby had to leave right after dinner, so we looked some things up on Wikipedia, and enjoyed our dinner.

For the dinner, I utilized my lovely time saving kitchen tools, and made the chicken in the crockpot and the dough for the flatbread in the bread machine.

The store was out of cilantro, and The Hubby doesn't much care for it, so I used just a little parsley instead.  It is not the same flavor, I know, but I used what I had.  I left it in the recipe, because I think it would be great to add to the flavor.

This meal got just a passing grade.  The Boy did not care for the yogurt sauce.  I thought that the whole meal was good, but I like more bold flavors.  That is not anything against Afghani cuisine, but perhaps just my chosen recipes.  We all did like the naan, and the addition of black cumin seeds was nice.  I liked the stovetop cooking method, and I'm glad I got some ghee to use.  I'm sure that will find plenty of uses in my kitchen!

The rice was not made according to any real recipe - just followed the instructions on the bag of rice.  We all love basmati.

Now, for the recipes!

Lawang - Afghan Braised Chicken in Turmeric Yogurt Sauce (Crockpot recipe)
(Modified from Afghan Culture Unveiled)

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, finely chopped or pureed in food processor
1 Tbsp crushed garlic
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 c chicken or vegetable broth
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 1/2 c plain Greek yogurt
1 c chopped cilantro (I used just a sprinkle of parsley, because that is what I had, but cilantro would be wonderful.  Use it if you have it)

*This recipe requires some prep time before you can put it in the crockpot and let it go, so plan accordingly*
Pureed onions and garlic, in olive oil
Heat the olive oil in a saute pan and add the pureed onions and garlic.  Saute until well browned, about 15 minutes, stirring often.

Lovely turmeric color
In the crockpot, ready to cook
Stir in the broth, salt, pepper, turmeric, and ground coriander.  Pour into a crockpot (I used a 3 1/2 quart crockpot) and then add the chicken and stir to coat.  Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Before serving, take the chicken out of the crockpot and whisk the yogurt into the turmeric sauce.  Stir in the cilantro (if using).  Put the chicken back in the sauce and serve.


Afgani Naan Bread (bread machine)
(Modified from Culinary Adventures with Camilla)

1 1/2 c water
1/4 c olive oil
4 c flour
1 Tbsp sea salt
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp black cumin seeds
2 1/4 tsp yeast

2 Tbsp ghee or vegetable oil

Place all ingredients except for ghee (or vegetable oil) into a bread machine.  Set to dough setting and allow to run through second rise.

Remove dough from bread machine and separate into 16 small balls.  Cover with a cloth and allow to rest for 15 minutes.  Roll each ball out onto a floured surface into a thin oblong shape.  Prick each disc of dough a few times with a fork (I have this handy dandy little fork that I use for such things).

Oh, ghee!

Beautiful flatbreads
Melt ghee, 1/2 tsp at a time, in a large heavy skillet (I used a cast iron skillet).  Cook naan, 1-3 at a time (depending on the size of your skillet) over medium high heat, about one minute on the first side, then flip and cook until nicely browned.  Repeat for the remaining naan, adding more ghee each time.

Place in a cloth covered bowl or basket until serving.


Mmmmm... lunch!

As before, I have a nicely packed lunch full of leftovers from this meal.  I love packing a lunch that makes me excited for my lunch break,

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