Monday, November 12, 2007

The Afghan Grill Called Me

The Afghan Grill in DC is one of my fvorite restaurants ever. It's just good. And their business slacked off a bit in 2002 because even people in the capitol of beacon-of-freedom-land can be xenophobic. It's packed of late, and I am grateful of that fact.

In any event, it was here that I really learned about Afghan and Persian flavors. The blend of cardamom, rice, and simply grilled meats. Leek popovers and coriander wafting through the air. A mashed pumpkin dish with garlic-yoghurt sauce. Cooked raisins and braised carrots that fit with their surroundings. Hearty food for austere places. It was delicious.

And then I raided my pantry today, steeled in my resolve to spend no money (except iTunes of course), and to not leave the apartment (except to run to the car to raid the meter change drawer for purposes of laundering).

Here's what I found and did...

  • 1 1/2 cup brown lentils
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 1 can chick peas
  • 1 bag frozen lima beans, about 2 cups
  • 1 can peeled, diced tomatoes
  • 1 can low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 T tumeric
  • 1 T coriander
  • 1 T cardamom
  • salt
  • pepper

  1. Rice, broth, and turmeric go into the rice cooker. If you don't have one, just make rice, use 1+ cup of rice and 1 3/4 or so cups of broth. All the tumeric.
  2. While that's going, throw the cocunut milk and a can full of water in a heavy saucepan. Add the coriander and cardomom and stir through on medium heat.
  3. Add the lentils, tomatoes, and chickpeas (drained and rinsed, of course) to the pot and bring it to a gentle boil for 20 minutes or so. Taste the lentils after 15, they're the key tender check you need to be looking at. Salt and pepper go here.
  4. When the lentils are tender (I added a couple cups of water along the way to keep it a bit on the soupy side), add the limas and heat through on low heat.
  5. Serve the lentil goop over the turmeric rice.


If I had a grill and some lamb, oh the places this dish would have gone.

Yes, I would have sauteed onions in a perfect world. Remember, not leaving the apartment today.


DC Super Powers said...

ROCK ON WITH YOUR KITCHEN SELF!! "Steeled in my resolve..." Does that make you Steely Dan?

redneck muppet said...

more like the couch-potato king. i was sucessful in steeling (stealing) my resolve and not leaving the confines of my apartment.

michael, claudia and sierra said...

i love this - no fat cept the coconut milk. of course that's pretty high fat and the lower fat version kinda sucks...

i just might make this one...

redneck muppet said...

grill the kabobs to pull this over the top. chicken marinated in youghurt, cumin, coriander, and ginger. tomatoes on the skewers too. not too much fat there, and great flavor.

if you want to use milk/stock instead of coconut milk, i'd just cream some of the fully cooked mixture in the blender and then add it back in to get the rich texture...shouldn't kill too much flavor at all, the coconut flavor wasn't super strong.

Unknown said...

I know this is a blog about cooking, but since I don't actually cook much myself, I was excited to read of a DC restaurant recommendation. If you ever have more to share, I'd be interested in reading!