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Food & Drink


There are three main types of Afghan bread:

  • Naan - literally "bread". Thin, long and oval, it is mainly a mixture of white and wholegrain. Garnished with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, Nigella seeds or a combination thereof. On request, customers can get white flour and a portion of oil, which makes them rich and delicious.
  • Obi Non - Uzbek-style bread. Shaped like a disc and thicker than naan. Usually made with white flour.
  • Lavash - Very thin bread. Similar to the Lavash in other places. It is normally used as a coating for meat and stews.

Rice dishes are the "king" of all foods in Afghanistan. The Afghans have certainly spent a lot of time and effort creating their rice as they are considered the best part of every meal. The richest families eat a plate of rice every day. The Afghan royal family devoted a lot of time preparing and inventing rice, as evidenced by the large number of rice dishes in their cookbooks. Weddings and family reunions should include a number of rice dishes and no doubt one can make a name for themselves in the field of rice preparation.

  • Kabuli Pulao (or Kabuli Palaw, Qabili Palaw, Qabili Palau or simply Palau) - A plate of Afghan rice, consisting of stewed rice, mixed with lentils, raisins, carrots and lamb. Bake in the oven and cover with roasted sliced carrots and raisins. You can also add chopped nuts like pistachios or almonds. The meat is covered with rice or buried in the middle of the dish. It is the most popular dish in Afghanistan and is considered a national dish.
  • Chalao- White Rice- Extra long grains like basmati are needed. It was first cooked, then drained, and finally baked in an oven with a little oil, butter and salt. This method produces a spongy rice with every single grain, unlike Chinese or Japanese rice. Chalao is mainly served with Qormas (korma; stews or casseroles)
  • Palao - Cooked in the same way as the chalao, but mix meat and broth, Qorma, herbs or a combination before baking. This creates elaborate colors, flavors and aromas, for which some charms get their name. Caramelized sugar is sometimes also used to give rice an intense brown color.
  • Yakhni Palao - Meat & stock added. Creates a brown rice.
  • Zamarod Palao - Spinach qorma mixed in before the baking process, hence 'zamarod' or emerald.
  • Qorma Palao - Qorm'eh Albokhara wa Dalnakhod mixed in before the baking process
  • Bore Palao - Qorm'eh Lawand added. Creates a yellow rice.
  • Bonjan-e-Roomi Palao - Qorm'eh Bonjan-e-Roomi (tomato qorma) added at baking process. Creates a red rice.
  • Serkah Palao - Similar to yakhni palao, but with vinegar and other spices.
  • Shebet Palao - Fresh dill, raisins added at baking process.
  • Narenj Palao - A sweet and elaborate rice dish made with saffron, orange peel, pistachios, almonds and chicken.
  • Maash Palao - A sweet and sour palao baked with mung beans, apricots, and bulgur (a kind of wheat). Exclusively vegetarian.
  • Alou Balou Palao - Sweet rice dish with cherries and chicken.
  • Sticky Rices - Boiled rice of medium grain cooked with its meat, herbs and grains. Because the water does not drain, it forms a sticky rice structure. Notable dishes include Mastawa, Kecheri Qoroot and Shola. When white rice is cooked with a sticky texture, it is called a dressing gown, and it is usually eaten with a Qorma such as sabzi (spinach) or shalgham (beets). A rice dish called Shir Birenj (literally rice milk) is often served as a dessert.

Qorma is a stew or casserole, usually served with chawol. Most of the Qormas are based on onions. The onions are fried, then meat is added, as well as a variety of fruits, spices and vegetables, according to the recipe. Finally, add water and cook over low heat. The onion caramelizes and produces a stew of intense colors. There are more than 100 Qorms.

  • Qorma Alou-Bokhara wa Dalnakhod - onion based, with sour plums, lentils, and cardamom. Veal or chicken.
  • Qorma Nadroo - onion based, with yogurt, lotus roots, cilantro, and coriander. Lamb or veal.
  • Qorma Lawand - onion based, with yogurt, turmeric, and cilantro. Chicken, lamb, or beef.
  • Qorma Sabzi - sauteed spinach and other greens. Lamb
  • Qorma Shalgham - onion based, with turnips, sugar; sweet and sour taste. Lamb.

Pasta is called "Khameerbob" in Afghanistan and often takes the form of meatballs. These local dishes are very popular. Due to the process that takes a long time to make the dough for meatballs, it is rarely served in large gatherings such as weddings, but for special occasions at home:

  • Mantu - A dish of Uzbek origin meatballs stuffed with onions and minced meat. Mantu is steamed and usually covered with a tomato-based sauce and a yoghurt or Qoroot sauce. The yoghurt filling is usually a mixture of yoghurt, sour cream and garlic. The beet-based sauce is made from goat cheese and garlic. Sometimes a mixture of Qoroot and yoghurt is used. The dish is covered with dry mint.
  • Ashak - Kabul dish. Dumplings full of leeks. Cooked and then drained. Ashak is covered with garlic and mint root or a yoghurt sauce with garlic and a mixture of well-seasoned minced meat.
  • Afghan kebab is most often found in restaurants and outdoor vendor stalls. Sometimes they are put into shishas. Due to the need for inaccessible equipment, families rarely serve home-made kebabs at home. The most common meat is lamb. The recipes are different with each restaurant, but the Afghan kebab is usually marinated with a mixture of spices and served with naan, rarely rice. Customers have the opportunity to spread Sumak, known locally as Ghora, onto their kebab. The quality of the kebab depends only on the quality of the meat. Normally, fat pieces from the sheep's tail (jijeq) are added to the lamb skewers to add extra flavor. Other popular kebabs include lamb cutlets, ribs, kofta (minced meat) and chicken; Everyone is in better restaurants.
  • Chapli kebab, a specialty of eastern Afghanistan, is a fried hamburger. The original recipe of chapli kebab dictates a half meat (or less), half flour mixture, which renders it lighter in taste, and less expensive.
  • Bolani, made in a very similar way as Mexican Quesadilla.

Desserts and Snacks

  • Baklava
  • Afghan Cake (similar to pound cake sometimes with real fruit or jelly inside)
  • Gosh Feel (thin, fried pastry covered in powdered sugar and ground pistachios)
  • Fernea (Milk and cornstarch very sweet, similar to rice pudding without the rice)
  • Mou-rubba (fruit sauce, sugar syrup and fruits, apple, sour cherry, various berries or made with dried fruits "Afghan favorite is the Alu-Bakhara")
  • Kulcha (Variety of cookies, baked in clay ovens with char-wood)
  • Narenge Palau (dried sweet orange peel and green raisins with a variety of nuts mixed with yellow rice glazed with light sugar syrup)


Since Afghanistan is an Islamic country, the consumption of alcohol is illegal. However, it is tolerated in western restaurants in Kabul.

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Afghanistan - Travel guide