Afghan Potato Salad and Beef Kebabs

I am always interested in trying new dishes and finding out about new cuisines.  I was therefore very excited to research Afghan cuisine for  this month’s My Kitchen My World.  I was lucky enough to discover Shayma’s blog, The Spice Spoon, which is full of delicious recipes from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran.   I would definitely recommend this and I know I will be returning here again and again.

First I made the Borani Kachalu, potato salad.  Borani is a cold dish of vegetables in a yoghurt dressing.  I was never a fan of potato salads as a child and always avoided them.  It’s only in the past year that I have begun to try them again, sometimes making a quick potato salad with an olive oil dressing to take to work as a packed lunch.    I think part of the reason I have never been keen on potato salads is because I am not a fan of heavy mayonnaise or creamy dressings but I do love the lightness of yoghurt dressings.  I could therefore instantly see the appeal of this salad.   Not only that but the tomato sauce the potato is cooked in uses some of my favourite flavourings and  spices – ginger, garlic and chilli.   I just knew that this was my kind of potato salad.   I followed the recipe almost exactly except that my slices of potato were larger and more chunky than in the original recipe.  The end result was also much less elegant than the original version.   The only thing I found difficult was having to stop myself eating the potatoes and leave them to cool so I could get on with the kebabs.   I would happily have eaten them warm and would cook them again this way to eat as a hot side dish.

I suspect that an Afghan may not eat these two dishes together like we did but I found they went together perfectly.   The kebabs were really easy to make.  I just put all the ingredients in the food processor, shaped into patties and then fried them.  The one thing I did have to alter in this recipe was the use of herbs.  I was not quite organised enough and only had dried herbs so I used them instead of fresh ones.   I loved the spiciness of these kebabs.   They suited me perfectly and my husband agreed this is definitely something he wants me to make again.   So, this meal was definitely a success.

To see original recipes go here for the potato salad and here for the kebabs.

Ingredients for Potato Salad

2 medium potatoes, sliced

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 knob of ginger, same size as the garlic, minced

8 tbsp passata, and then I added an extra dash

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp turmeric

Dressing

3 heaped tbsp yoghurt

2 tbsp water

1 tsp dried mint

Ingredients for Kebabs

250g minced beef

1/2 medium onion, diced

3 small chillies, diced

2 spring onions

1 small egg

1 tsp ground coriander seed

1 tsp dried coriander leaf

1 tsp dried mint

How to make Afghan Potato Salad, Borani Kachalu

1. Heat a little oil in a pan.   Add the minced garlic and ginger.   Cook for about 30 seconds.  Add the powdered spiced.  Stir for a few seconds then add the passata.  Stir for about a minute then add the potatoes.

2. Make sure all the potatoes are thoroughly coated in the passata.   Add a dash of water so the pan is not too dry, I added an extra dash of passata too.   Put the lid on and leave to cook for 20 minutes.

3. Check the potatoes are cooked. If so, take them off the heat and begin to make the dressing.  Mix the yoghurt, water and mint together and leave in the fridge till ready to serve.

How to make Beef Kebabs

1.  These are so easy you don’t really need a recipe.  Put all the ingredients in a food processor and process till thoroughly combined.

2. Shape into kebabs and fry in a pan of hot oil for about 2 minutes on each side.   This amount of mixture made 6 kebabs for us.

To serve, drizzle the yoghurt over the  top of the potato salad, serve the kebabs on the side with an extra dollop of yoghurt.   I also served a green salad with it.   To be more traditional you could also serve it with naan bread.

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