Adventures in the Kitchen and on the Road

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Oh MAN. The Helmand is my go-to for semi-nice-y dinners entirely on the strength of the veggie version of this dish. Your rendition is making me really hungry.

Only semi-nice? I thought it was quite a nice place when I had gone. But maybe that was just due to how much I had liked the food. Helmand seemed to have several vegetarian dishes that sounded appealing. (But I wanted to try their lamb.)

Kaddo Bourani is my absolute favorite thing at Helmand. I haven't been there in YEARS -- I need to talk Lis into going back. We went reasonably often back years ago when Lis was working at Lotus, which was, at the time, across the street.

Mm...this would be a nice place to eat at regularly. But didn't you have to plan ahead and make reservations?

Well, for weekday evenings, Lis was usually able to phone in the afternoon.

Oh. My. God.

This was sent from heaven. Of that I am convinced.

It certainly tastes pretty heavenly. I'm still really pleased about having made this dish.

Really!? I just ate in a restaurant by the same name in B'more...I had no idea it was a chain?

Well Helmand is the name of a region as well as a river in Afghanistan. The Helmand in Baltimore isn't part of the Boston and SF ones that I was talking about.

Turns out I'm wrong. The Helmand in Baltimore is run by the same family as the ones in Boston and SF. Did you like the food?

Oh yes, quite a bit.

I've had this dish at an Afghan restaurant called Kabul here in the Bay Area. It's wonderful! Kabul serves theirs with lamb, which I'm not really a big fan of, but I usually scrape off the lamb and give it to Neal. I had no idea it too three hours to prepare, but it's worth every second. If you come out to SF for vacation I'll meet you for dinner at Kabul. :o)

Oh no! I LOVE lamb. It's like beef but even better :) (to me anyhow) Definitely want to meet up with you if I head out to SF.

Thanks for the info about the lamb! -- I want to make it with lamb to change up things a bit, but was nervous about making the switch at the same time as making it for other people.

PS: Afghan food seems to share some similarities with Indian food -- if I remember correctly, the two countries share a couple of ethnic groups in common) -- and the names of some dishes are similar.

That would explain why I seem to like both cuisines...

This looks soo sooo soooo sooo soooo sooo good.

Thanks! This dish made me oh so happy. I just finished the last of the leftovers tonight. Very satisfying.

I just realized that I am literally salivating while looking at these pictures. IT LOOKS SOOOO GOOOOOOD. Sadly, I'm not sure I'd have the patience for the 3 hour cooking time. I'll just have to search around for an Afghan restaurant in AZ...

*grin* I hope you get to try this dish some day!

I love the way those countries seem to meld sweet fruit with savory meat. It sounds like it would be awful, but it is always good.

Yeah...I was still hesitant making it even after knowing that it tasted great. Then again, there are some more familiar dishes that mix fruit and meat quite nicely... apples and pork, peach-glazed ham, chicken a la orange...

Recipe looks great. But FYI at Helmand on the menu it says that they first pan-fry the pumpkin and then bake it.

Sugar pumkin

If you make the basic beef korma sause, you won't need sugar pumkins. Take the sause to put over your (butter nut squash or yams, and add sugar to the sause that you will use for kadu dish) I fell inlove with Afghani food a long time ago, I was so taken by it that I thought that my discovery gave me a purpose to live. I would eat so much that I couldn't breath well. I couldn't stop eating. It was like I never knew that eating would be so enjoyable. I couldn't stop trying other dishes. I have a cook book by Asad Gharwal, Check him out. There is a great restaurant in Virginia called Pandjshir, they have 2 locations. Ask for the appetizer platter, which it is not listed on the menu, ask for the lamb chop kabob, many people are picky about lamb, but you and yours will be shocked. Also, Aushak, Aush, Bulanee, Bulannee gandana, Bulanee kachalo, quabili pallow, Firnee and the afghani tea. The Afghani tea has cardoman, you hit it on the nose, cardoman is an aphrodesiac, (not sure I spelled that correctly). I continue to look for recipies. The vegitatrean dishes are so deliceous that if you skip having meat, you won't miss it. The yogurt sause, the korma sause, with or without meat are constanly used for Afghani dishes. Good luck and enjoy, I am happy that you discovered the cuisine. God bless!

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