Friday, 31 December 2010

kabul restaurant

o and i spent christmas and new year in islamabad with our families. the best part of my trip home is feasting. the day usually starts with a cup of strong and perfectly brewed tapal tea and toasted roghni naan (i will be putting up a separate post for this). lunch could be any manner of pakistani salan - vegetables in masala, kebabs, chicken salan or tarka dhal. aside from all the home made food there is a ritual that i take very seriously. i have to eat at 'kabul restaurant' at least once. this time mum and i had a quick lunch there in between shopping and running around on last day of twenty ten.

afghani kebab
my standard order at kabul restaurant is a plate of 'mantu', a kabuli naan and afghan kebab. i am also partial to kabuli pilau with its centre of tender meat and garnish of sweetened carrots and raisins. but 'mantu' is what i crave the most. mantu are basically steamed dumplings filled with beef and onions and seasoning. the dumpling itself is staid and what transforms it is the addition of a yoghurt sauce contrasted with a tomato based one with split lentils. the yoghurt sauce is spiked with garlic and is slightly soured with the tomato and lentil adding a slight sweetness. there is nothing humble about mantu as the flavour profile is robust and bold. and the presentation isn't much to write home about either. mama and i love wiping the sauces of the plate clean with pieces of afghani naan.

afghani naan
i am not a fan of afghani tikka. these are bite sized pieces of meat cooked on long iron skewers (called seekhs) alternated with pieces of charbi (fat) but i do love the equally fatty afghani kebab. these are bite sized kebabs, once again skewered and cooked on charcoal. the kebabs are separated by slices of tomato that blister in the heat. i usually pull the kebabs from the skewer with a piece of naan and eat them wrapped like that. 

sigh. here's to counting down to the next trip.

main road| jinnah super market| islamabad

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