Sunday, January 4, 2015

Afghan Meat Sauce

I make a batch of this meat sauce and the yogurt sauce (coming soon) at the beginning of the week and pretty much put it on top of anything. No household vegetable is safe from the meat/yogurt sauce combination!

Don't blink. It's a quick recipe, slightly modified from the one at


1 Medium Yellow Onion
1 lb Ground Meat (I like lamb or pork the best)
1 16 oz can of tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp toasted and ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp finely chopped (or pressed) garlic

  1. Prep:
    1. Thaw the meat. Still frozen? Thaw it in the fridge and do the recipe in a day or two.
    2. Place the tomato sauce and water in a measuring cup and mix together.
    3. Place the salt, black pepper, ground coriander, and turmeric into a small bowl.
    4. Place the chopped garlic in a small bowl
    5. Chop the onion and leave it on the cutting board. (I love swim goggles for chopping onions).
    6. You should now have chopped onion, thawed meat, a spice bowl, and a measuring cup with the tomato-water.
  2. Add some oil to a skillet and brown the onions until golden.
  3. Add the meat and cook over medium-high heat. Break up any clumps and stir as you go until mostly cooked.
  4. Reduce heat to medium
  5. Add garlic and cook until the garlic is softened. Reduce the heat if necessary. You don't want to burn the garlic or the spices in the next step.
  6. Stir in the spices. Cook for 15-30 seconds (keep stirring).
  7. Slowly add the tomato sauce and water, stirring as you go.
  8. Bring to a boil and reduce to a low simmer.
  9. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring every once every five minutes or so.

Afghan Recipes Coming Soon

I moved to Cupertino in 1989 to start a new job at Apple (right after the Loma Prieta earthquake, thankfully). It was there that I discovered one of my favorite restaurants: Kabul in Sunnyvale, CA. I'd never had Afghan cuisine before and was immediately hooked.

Some of my favorite dishes from the restaurant are:
  • Kadu - a sweet pumpkin dish topped with meat sauce and yogurt
  • Pakawra-e-badenjan - a fried eggplant dish topped with meat sauce and yogurt. Nope, still can't pronounce it right.
  • Aush - an awesome noodle soup with lots of tangy yogurt
  • And, of course, Kababs, kababs, kababs!
 I've been tinkering with recipes over the years trying to replicate the dishes and finally think I've got something that's pretty close. Naturally, only after years of tinkering did I stumble upon and find recipes for all the dishes...

So, anyway, I'll be adding recipes for some of my favorite Afghan recipes over the next few weeks. Happy cooking to all you Kabul fans out there.