AFGHAN VEGETABLE FRITTATA - KHAKEENA


 Afghan Culture Unveiled

Afghan Culture Unveiled

By Humaira

Even food bloggers get in a food rut. My family knows I’ve run out of cooking energy when our dinner consists of Tortila de Patata, a Spanish potato and egg omelette since I always have eggs, onions and potatoes on hand. 

Today’s recipes, khakeena,  is Afghanistan’s answer to the Spanish Tortilla, you wouldn’t know it from the the long list of ingredients but I promise you it's true. Khak is the Dari word for dirt. Perhaps, our cleverly named dish khakeena, symbolize sweeping out the left overs from pantry, fridge or cold room from left over ingredients.

The idea is to throw together whatever veggies you have laying around into a healthy, hearty dish using eggs as a binder since they are expensive and used sparingly in Afghanistan. A summer khakeena will most likely have a different ingredient list than a winter khakeena.

Traditionally, khakeena is eaten for lunch. It’s served in a wedge with a salad and a side of nan.

Afghan Culture Unveiled

 

I made wraps to make the dish more filing for my hungry teenagers. I added a little Humaira twist to the dish by creating a creamy feta sauce which adds a tangy edge to the wrap. There is no wrong way to serve this dish. 

I want to thank my sister Nabila for sourcing this recipe from a friend of hers.

Afghan Culture Unveiled 


 

AFGHAN VEGETABLE FRITTATA

KHAKEENA


½ cup acorn squash, shredded with a box grater

⅓ cup fresh dill, finely chopped

3 green onions, chopped

2 cups spinach, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

1 zucchini, shredded

3 fingerling potatoes, shredded

1 small red onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely chopped

3 eggs

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

1 teaspoon cumin, ground

1 teaspoon coriander, ground

4 spinach lavash, cut down to 8x10 inch size

Feta sauce:

¼ cup crumbled feta

½ tablespoon lemon zest

½ tablespoon olive oil


Heat oven to 350 degree

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until all ingredients are mixed well - around two minutes. Butter the bottom of an oven safe, deep frying pan with a generous coat of butter or use olive oil. Pour the mixture into the pan, spread evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

While the frittata is in the oven, make the feta sauce. Put all ingredients in small bowl, mix with a small spoon, pressing the feta with the back of the spoon to create a creamy mixture.

Frittata can be served with a fresh salad with a small dollop of the feta sauce with side of pita or nan.

I made a wrap to make the dish more filing. Spread a thin layer of the feta sauce in the middle of the lavash, divide the frittata into quarters, place one portion on the lavash. Fold in one side of the lavash and then roll from the bottom up. Cut in half, serve with a side of salad. 

Serves 4-5

Afghan Culture Unveiled




AFGHAN POETRY - LANDAYS FROM CONTEMPORARY AFGHANISTAN

BeggarOfTheWorld.jpeg

 

I AM THE BEGGAR OF THE WORLD: A book of poetry and photos

 

Excerpt taken from Poetry Magazine

 I call. You’re stone.                                                                                                                          One day you'll look and find I'm gone.

 

The teenage poet who uttered this folk poem called herself Rahila Muska. She lived in Helmand, a Taliban stronghold and one of the most restive of Afghanistan’s thirty-four provinces since the U.S. invasion began on October 7, 2001. Muska, like many young and rural Afghan women, wasn’t allowed to leave her home. Fearing that she’d be kidnapped or raped by warlords, her father pulled her out of school after the fifth grade. Poetry, which she learned from other women and on the radio, became her only form of education.

In Afghan culture, poetry is revered, particularly the high literary forms that derive from Persian or Arabic. But the poem above is a folk couplet — a landay — an oral and often anonymous scrap of song created by and for mostly illiterate people: the more than twenty million Pashtun women who span the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Traditionally, landays are sung aloud, often to the beat of a hand drum, which, along with other kinds of music, was banned by the Taliban from 1996 to 2001, and in some places, still is.

A landay has only a few formal properties. Each has twenty-two syllables: nine in the first line, thirteen in the second. The poem ends with the sound “ma” or “na.” Sometimes they rhyme, but more often not. In Pashto, they lilt internally from word to word in a kind of two-line lullaby that belies the sharpness of their content, which is distinctive not only for its beauty, bawdiness, and wit, but also for the piercing ability to articulate a common truth about war, separation, homeland, grief, or love. Within these five main tropes, the couplets express a collective fury, a lament, an earthy joke, a love of home, a longing for the end of separation, a call to arms, all of which frustrate any facile image of a Pashtun woman as nothing but a mute ghost beneath a blue burqa.

From the Aryan caravans that likely brought these poems to Afghanistan thousands of years ago to ongoing U.S. drone strikes, the subjects of landays are remixed like hip-hop, with old words swapped for newer, more relevant ones. A woman’s sleeve in a centuries-old landay becomes her bra strap today. A colonial British officer becomes a contemporary American soldier. A book becomes a gun. Each biting word change has much to teach about the social satire that ripples under the surface of a woman’s life. With the drawdown of American forces in 2014 looming, these are the voices of protest most at risk when the Americans pull out. Although some landays reflect fury at the presence of the U.S. military, many women fear that in the absence of America’s involvement they will return to lives of isolation and oppression, just as under the Taliban.

 

The full article in Poetry Magazine contains insightful details about cited landaysjuxtaposed against photos by photographer Seamus Murphy.

I AM THE BEGGAR OF THE WORLD can be purchased on Amazon.