Afghan Cookbook

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A blog about my experiments with combining Afghan recipes and western recipes. A blog about Afghan cuisine for lovers of Afghan food. An introduction to the world of Afghan cooking and eating for the uninitiated :)
View my new Afghan cooking recipe book!
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Asker pck1fan Asks:
I am looking for a recipe for pumpkin topped with meat sauce and served with yoghurt. Used to have this in an Afghan restaurant.
afghancookbook afghancookbook Said:

Hi there,

So I haven’t actually had this dish before. If you want to experiment and take a little risk, I would recommend blending a few elements from multiple recipes to get something which might be what you are after. If it isn’t exactly what you had, I promise this will still be very YUM!

So here we go:

- Replace cauliflower in this recipe with pumpkin and make the yogurt sauce as described here:

- Take the “making the sauce” section from this recipe: and replace chicken mince with beef mince

To serve, put a few tablespoons of yogurt sauce on the bottom of the platter (enough to cover the base). Add pumpkin on top of yogurt and then drizzle more yogurt on top of pumpkin.  Add the mince sauce on top of all that and serve! 

Depending on how confident you are with your cooking, you may choose to change the quantities so you don’t make too much meat sauce or pumpkin. If you don’t want to bother with quantities (i wouldn’t), the worst (best) thing that will happen is you will have delicious leftovers of both or one of the dishes that can be reused as an omelette or eaten with plain rice the next day! 

Let me know how you go or if you have any other questions I would be happy to help! :) Feel free to sure your results here:

I absolutely love your blog, there are hardly any afghan cook books, and afghan food isn't well known. Your blog and website and cookbook represents afghan culture and food nicely. I love the recipes; my mouth literally waters when I look through the pictures. Keep it up!
afghancookbook afghancookbook Said:

Thanks for your kind words :)

Mantu with Chicken and Leek


Mantu is a delicious little package of a dumpling which is usually made with beef or lamb mince. If you are looking for a traditional Mantu recipe then stop reading now because this is taking the traditional Mantu dumplings and fusing it with two ingredients that love each other; Chicken and Leek. There is also the unusual shape and quick cheat for the pastry which might make the traditionalist unhappy! If you want to use beef or lamb you can still follow the same recipe. I still think chicken is lighter and tastier with the leek. 

This recipe makes 80 dumplings.

800 grams chicken breast (you can mince it in a food processor or puchase mince)
Handful of fresh coriander finely chopped
Handful of fresh parsley finely chopped
1 or 2 small green chilli according to your preferences, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves
8 TBSP Olive oil
2 tsp Turmeric 
2 tsp Cumin
2 tsp Coriander powder
2 tsp black Pepper
Pinch of Salt
1 large leek finely chopped
2 large onions 
Wonton Skin pastry squares - need 80 sheets
1 cup split yellow peas washed well
3 TBSP tomato paste

Yogurt sauce 
3 garlic cloves crushed
2 cups yogurt
1 TBSP dry mint leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary

Oil topping
2 cloves garlic crushed
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP dry mint


Making the mince mixture

Weigh 180 grams of the chicken breast mince and set aside.

Put the remaining mince in a separate bowl with the following ingredients;  coriander, parsley, green chilli and crush two garlic cloves. Mix well.

Add 3 tablespoons oil to a heavy set pan and add the following ingredients: 1 teaspoon of turmeric, cumin, coriander powder, pepper and salt.

When the spices are aromatic, add finely chopped leek with 2 tablespoons water and turn the heat to low. Cover with a lid and allow the leeks to sweat until soft. Add the mince that you mixed with the garlic and herbs. Stir to ensure the mixture is well blended with the leeks and cooked through. Ensure all the moisture has dried up. Taste for salt and pepper.

Take off the heat. Finely chop one of the onions and add it to the cooked mince and mix well. Set aside to cool.

Filling the dumplings

When the mixture has cooled down, begin filling the pastry skins. Lay out a few squares of pastry on a bench. Wet the outer edges of the pasty squares with water. Drop approximately 1 teaspoon of cooked chicken mince mixture on the centre of the pastry square. Take two opposite corners of a square and seal them together, next join the other two opposing corners together at the tips. It should look like a little parcel with filling inside. Continue until all the mince and pastry skins are finished. Put the dumplings into a steamer and steam for 3-5 minutes. Taste to ensure the dumplings skins are cooked through before you remove them. If not, cook longer.

Making the Sauce

Place the yellow split peas in a microwave safe bowl, cover with water and plastic wrap. Cook in the microwave for 15 minutes on medium. Take out, rinse, and set aside. They should be softened but not broken down. 

In a deep saucepan, add 5 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon each of cumin, coriander seeds, and turmeric, as well as the second large onion finely chopped with the remaining garlic cloves. When the onion is soft, add tomato paste and chicken mince that you had set aside.

Cook, stirring regularly until the chicken has cooked through. Add the split peas and enough water to just cover the mixture. Simmer on low heat. Salt to taste and add more chopped fresh chilli, if you like it spicy. Keep adding water until the peas are cooked soft and hold their shape. When the split yellow peas are cooked, turn down the heat and simmer. Allow the moisture to dry up so you are left with a lovely sauce.

Yogurt sauce

Take half the yogurt and put into a blender with all the ingredients. Blend until the herbs and garlic are completely broken down. Pour the mixture into a large bowl. Add the rest of the yogurt and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Arranging the dumplings

Spread the yogurt sauce on a large platter. Place dumplings on the yogurt sauce as one or two layers, ensuring there is enough yogurt to cover between the layers. Add more yogurt on top of the dumplings. Spoon the sauce over the top to cover the dumplings. 

Make the oil dressing by heating the oil and frying the garlic until soft brown, but not burnt. Add dry mint leaves and stir quickly.  Pour over the top of the dish and serve immediately. 

Let me know how you go!

Nosha Jan! 

Get your hands on my cookbook. It has a full dinner menu for an Afghan dinner party at your place. Now available in print version! Go to:

NB: Leftover mince or sauce can be used to make an omelette the next day by reheating and cracking an egg into it. Delicious!



Afghan Feerni Pudding

Feerni comes in many consistencies and different Afghan families have different ways of making it and eating it. I like mine to be firm, similar to the consistency of panna cotta. This recipe makes a thick, rich and creamy Feerni that is perfect to serve with fruit.


100g peeled pistachios kernels - lightly pan roasted and ground (separate ¼ cup ground pistachio for decoration)

100g flaked almonds

1L full cream milk 

1.2L thickened cream

13 level tablespoons caster sugar 

13 level tablespoons cornflour – sifted

2 teaspoons cardamom


Makes two medium bowls or one large bowl 

Set aside 1/4 pistachios, 1 teaspoon ground cardamom and 3 tablespoons almonds for decoration. 

In a large serving bowl, sprinkle the remaining flaked almonds and ground pistachio evenly. Set aside.

Put 2 cups of the milk into a large bowl. Add in one tablespoon of the cornflour and whisk until dissolved, without lumps. Continue adding tablespoons of cornflour to the milk until all the cornflour has dissolved into the milk. Add the caster sugar and cream. Mix well.

Pour the remaining milk into the mixture and whisk again.  

Add 1 teaspoon ground cardamom, into milk mixture. 

Pour into a nonstick saucepan ensuring it is large enough for the milk to be stirred vigorously without spilling over the edges. Place on heat and begin to stir quickly on high until milk begins to get hot. When it begins to simmer, turn the heat to low.

Continue to stir on low heat ensuring it doesn’t stick to the bottom and the heat spreads evenly in the mixture. While stirring, be sure that the spatula touches the bottom of the pot. 

The mixture will start to bubble and separate from the sides of the pot after about 25-30mins of stirring continuously. When thickened and bubbling, pour into the serving bowl, carefully mixing the almonds and pistachios through. 

Decorate with flaked almond, pistachio powder and cardamom powder – leave to cool at room temperature before placing in fridge. Serve on it’s own or with vanilla ice-cream and pomegranate seeds.

Let me know how you go! 

NOTE: if you are making this for 4-6 people, half all the ingredients.

Get my eBook of recipes at

Mum’s “kofta” meatballs in a delicious tomato base with split yellow lentils. Recipe coming soon! #afghan #food #fresh

Delicious #afghan qorma of beef and cauliflower. #food #afghanistan #yum

Dinner is served! Get a dinner party recipe ebook with 5 dishes from #afghan #afghanistan #foodies #food

On the theme of special fruits - figs are another fruit full of memories for me from #afghanistan picked right from the tree and eaten fresh. The fragrance and sweetness takes me back every time. #fruit #yum #foodies

Asker manuela2323 Asks:
Hi, I'm just wandering if you know how to make an Afghan recipe it's basically eggplant with tomato and garlic. Sorry I don't know what it's called. Thank you, Manuela
afghancookbook afghancookbook Said:

Hello :)

It is called Banjan Sia.

I can post the recipe here next week. In the meantime a quick cheat is if you take 2 large eggplants, slice them into 1.5cm circles then fry them. Then replace the fried cauliflower with the sliced and fried eggplant in this recipe then follow the rest of this recipe you will get what you are after:

I love juicy bbq chicken with Afghan bread. Usually as the meat is cooked on the bbq it is transferred to a big platter which is lined with Afghan bread. The meat is placed on top of the bread lining and covered with more Afghan bread on top. This makes a nice satchel for the meat to stay warm until everyone can dig in. For those in the know, the deliciousness of the kebab is transferred to the slightly soggy bread which sat underneath the skewers of meat. The flavoursome juices of the warm kebabs soak into the bread and make the yummiest flavoured bread in the world. 

You can try this with other breads as well such as with Lebanese bread. 

Here is a marinade that will ensure you have a wonderful kebab as well as amazing kebab bread.

For 1 kilo of chicken thigh fillet use the following to make a marinade:

- 1 TBSP ground cumin

- 2 TSP black pepper

- 1 TSP salt (to taste)

- Juice of 1 lime

- 4 cloves crushed garlic

- 1 TSP red chilli flakes (use 2 if you like more heat)

- 1 TBSP smoked paprika

Mix well with a one or two tablespoons of olive oil and marinade for 2-6 hours in the fridge.

Transfer to skewers and bbq until cooked.

This is a.b.s.o.l.u.t.e.l.y awesome with white Afghan rice. Get the recipe from my cookbook at


I remember as a kid picking pomegranates off the trees on my grandparents property and eating them. We had developed an eye for what a sweet pomegranate looks like. We would carefully part the branches of several trees before picking the one we like. Most #afghans I know have a soft spot for this fruit which also features in #afghan poetry and lyrics. #fresh #fruit #afghanistan

Chilli and garlic chives are ready to use as a filling for Bolani! Using wholemeal flour gives it a wonderful texture. #afghan #food #yum

This is Uighur bread and the cuisine is a really interesting mix close to Afghan dishes such as braised lamb rice with carrots (Qabuli), kebabs & dumplings similar to Afghan mantu. #food #afghan

These little chillies make everything taste better :) #food #afghanistan #afghan

Browning the onions for Qabuli #afghanistan #afghan #food