Jeja (my mom) spends a good part of her day surfing the Afghan TV channels. Yes, in the United States you can watch several Afghanistan-based television programs. Since we purchased the satellite TV for Jeja, her life has changed. After 33 years of living in the United States her heart and identity are still in Afghanistan. The television allows her a little window into her homeland. She watches soap operas in Farsi, learns about homeopathic medicines and gets world news from Afghan reporters. She recently informed me that one of her Afghan channels features a reality cooking show similar to ones we see in the US. The claim to fame of the most recent winner is a mastery of 15 rice and 30 kebab recipes.
So, it is with Afghan TV on the brain that I share this kebab recipe. It is from a Khalida Rashid, an Afghan television personality I met at a café in Laguna Beach. After my sister informed me that she is an excellent cook and used to host a cooking show I was in hot pursuit of a recipe from her. She was cautious at first, but after checking out our blog she agreed to offer one of her recipes to us.
The recipe is for lamb kebab made with a marinade that takes less than five minutes to pull together and is quite delicious. The chutney that accompanies the kebab is a little different than what I’m used to eating. Hers includes a few spoonfuls of lebni, which is essentially a very thick yogurt. It adds a little body and creaminess and offsets the heat of the sauce in a very pleasing way.
Needless to say Jeja was very excited when Khalida mentioned our blog onTamasha, her Wednesday morning television program.We hope to get more recipes from the accomplished cooks in our Afghan community, so if you have a favorite, please share it with us.
Khalida’s Lamb Kebab with Creamy, Spicy Chutney
½ yellow onion, peeled and halved
1 medium jalapeno pepper, stem and seeds removed, cut in half lengthwise
2 cloves garlic, peeled
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp. Kosher salt
½ tsp. black pepper
2 lbs. lamb stew meat, cut into 1 ½-inch cubes
Put the onion, jalapeño, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until smooth. Mix the blended onion with the lamb in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Remove the lamb from the refrigerator a half hour before you are ready to grill. Thread the lamb meat on metal or wooden skewers and grill until cooked through but still tender.
Creamy Cilantro Chutney
2 small bunches fresh cilantro, stems removed
1 medium jalapeno pepper (more if you like it really spicy)
2 tbsp. lebni (or Greek yogurt if you can’t find lebni)
¼ cup white vinegar or lemon juice
½ tsp. Kosher salt
Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.Blend until smooth.
Serve kebabs with nan or pita bread that you have warmed on the grill along with chutney.
Serves 4 to 6