The cuisine of the region, mainly influenced by that of Persia (Persia and Iran are used interchangeably in cultural context), India and Mongolia, is quite unique in its ingredients, its types of foods and the preparation techniques. Many of their dishes are based on cereals like wheat, maize, barley and rice which are the nation's chief crops, although they also produce many rich and flavorful stews and other delicacies.

The flavors of Afghanistan include garam masala, saffron, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, chilis, leeks, coriander, parsley, mint and black pepper, although onion and tomato are also important food ingredients. Traditional Afghani cooking is high in fat due to the country’s mountain terrain and the fact that the lifestyle involves a lot of walking and it gets cold in winter.

Chorek or Naan

Naan is wonderful whole wheat bread that is baked in flat sheets in a round shape.

In the desert naan is baked on hot stones. In the cities, the bakeries have round fire pits with cement walls. One of the first chores young children are assigned is to take their family’s dough to be baked in these pits. The flattened dough is thrown up against the side of the fire pit. As it bakes, it loosens from the side of the pit. The baker has to be on guard to remove the hot bread before it falls into the fire.

When the baker hands it to the children to carry home, it is still hot. The children often drape it over their heads. Especially in the winter, children would tuck their hands in between the loaves to keep their fingers warm. Naan is usually eaten with tea.


  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup ghee or vegetable shortening
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • melted butter for brushing

Measure 3/4 cups warm water in a measuring cup. Add sugar and yeast. Allow yeast to soften and stir until yeast is dissolved. Cover measuring cup with towel and allow yeast and water to froth for 5-10 minutes.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. Add yeast water, yogurt, and ghee (or vegetable shortening) and begin to knead for 5-10 minutes, until a dough forms.

Place dough in bowl coated with oil and turn dough around to evenly coat. Cover bowl with towel and allow to rise in a warm area for about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled.

Preheat oven to 400. Divide dough into 10-12 pieces and roll out on floured surface into circles. Place rolled out dough on greased cookie sheet or baking stone and brush with melted butter.

Cook in oven for 8 minutes or until lightly browned and puffed up.

Serve naan immediately or store in pantry or freezer.

Khatai Cookies


  • 1 1/2 cups White Flour
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Corn Oil
  • 1 tablespoon crushed Cardamon
  • Pistachios

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the white flour with the sugar, and crushed cardamon. Next, add the corn oil and mix well. Make the dough into two inch round balls and put them on a cookie sheet and bake for 15min, or until lightly browned. Sprinkle finely ground pistachios on top of the cookies while they are still hot.



  • Fillo  dough
  • 1/2 pound Unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Cardamon
  • Almonds
  • 1 tsp. Lemon Juice
  • 1 1/2 cups Water
  • Crushed Pistachios

First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Next, melt the butter over very low heat. Combine freshly ground cardamon cinnamon in a small bowl. Lay two layers of fillo dough on a baking sheet, and pour two tablespoons of melted butter over the dough. Use a pastry brush to spread the butter.

Next, sprinkle a thin layer of fresh almond nuts, and a small amount of the cinnamon/cardamon mixture. Repeat this until you have several layers. On the top layer, only spread melted butter. Bake the baklava at 375 degrees, until the fillo dough is golden brown. At this point, remove the baklava from the oven and prepare the syrup.

For the syrup... Combine one and one-half cups of water with one and one-half cups of sugar, and one teaspoon of fresh lemon juice. Bring the mix to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. While the baklava is still warm, cut it into small triangle shapes and drizzle the syrup over the baklava. To finish, sprinkle with crushed pistachio nuts.



The night is cool. I wrap myself in my blanket.
Overhead the stars are thousands of bright knots  
in the night’s black rug. I hear the camel’s bleating
and the rustle of the mulberry leaves.

scroll up more scroll down