I started off the new year fully prepared to swear off cooking forever. I don't have the time or the energy,and no one here wants to eat what I want to cook. But then after a trip to Costco where I invested in a ridiculously generous supply of every staple I could think of, I realized I had everything I needed to try nearly every single recipe in my collection of Afghani recipes. Surely the stars don't align this way more than once in a lifetime! It was a sign. At first I thought I'd just try a few simple selections, but with each sip of coffee my dreams and delusions grew.
This is how I ended up slaving over a meticulous, labor-intensive dish of stuffed chicken cooked in rice the very first week of the year. It was dry and disappointing. A "bitter" meal for me. I had been sure something that complicated had to result in greatness. It was SO bloody dry, and all the fried almonds and raisins and orange peel in the world couldn't fix that.
However, there was a cauliflower stew I made as well which was quick, simple, and though never destined for greatness, I intend to make it all winter long. I tried it with beef stew meat and ground lamb. Both times it was really good. I served it with basmati rice because we eat everything with rice, but I suppose it could go with anything you like. There is nothing in the stew which screams "Afghani!", so it would be equally at home with naan or mashed potatoes.
Happy New Year!
1-2 chopped onions
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound of stew meat, either lamb or beef
2 teaspoons ground coriander OR 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 cloves chopped garlic
1-1/2 teaspoons split peas
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
salt and pepper
1 large head of cauliflower cut into florets
In a large pot heat the oil and sauté the onions until they are golden brown. Add the meat, a little bit of salt, and allow the meat to brown a little. Stir in the coriander or tomato paste, the garlic, the split peas, the turmeric, and some salt and pepper. Add just enough water to barely cover the meat. Bring it up to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer until the meat is tender. Add the cauliflower, and when that is tender too season to taste with salt and pepper.
This is one of the oddest vegetables. Like the potato, nagaimo is a tuber, but when you cut into it the texture is bizarrely slimy. But don't be scared, because it's low calorie and surprisingly refreshing. Usually found at Japanese grocery stores, I believe you can also find it at Ranch 99 or Berkeley Bowl. It's usually wrapped in plastic wrap with something that looks like sawdust (rice bran, maybe?) on the ends to keep it from seeping.
Peel as much as you're going to eat, and then grate it with a box grater.
Serve it over hot rice with a big squeeze of lemon juice and soy sauce. Re-wrap the unused portion of nagaimo and store it in the refrigerator.
I'm sure there are other ways to eat this, but this is the way I was shown. I started a nagaimo board on pinterest, but who knows when I'll get around to trying it other ways. Leave me a comment to tell me how you eat this if you've had it before. I'd love to know.
I love trying new foods, cooking, and gardening. I hope to share these experiences on this site. Thanks for taking a look!