By Humaira with Guest Blogger Mark Walston
As Katie gets her wide-brimmed hat ready for her first trip to the Kentucky Derby this weekend, it seems fitting to invite my friend Mark Walson, who lives in Louisville, to join us as a guest blogger and share his story of an Afghan dinner party he recently threw with some friends.
Guest Blogger: Mark Walston
I am a long time member of a gourmet club with four other couples. We take turns hosting the party. The host selects the theme and prepares the main course. The other members in the group bring appetizers, a salad, and a dessert that goes along with the theme. We don't dictate to people what to make; each guest chooses what they will contribute to the meal.
It was my turn to host and I chose Afghan cuisine. I was inspired by my friend Humaira Ghilzai. We worked together last summer on a stage production of the Kite Runner here in Louisville. Humaira was our cultural consultant.
Everything went great. For appetizers, my friend Sean, who went to culinary school, brought a dip with eggplant and red pepper from this blog. It was delicious and a nice start.
For the main course, I made Kadoo, Nan, and Qabili Palau. All were a success. I prepared the Kadoo ahead of time at Humaira's suggestion and it reheated perfectly. Everyone loved it; I think it was the biggest hit of the evening. I also made the nan the night before, which didn't look as nice as on the blog, but it tasted great.
I was very pleased with the Qabili Palau. I was worried that the sauce wasn't thickening enough while I cooked the chicken, but it seemed perfect in the end. It was a nice brown color. I used boneless breasts, and took Humaira's advice and included legs and thighs, too. The rice was excellent and it looked great when I got it all put together.
Dessert was a pudding called Firnee with cookies on the side called Khatai. It was a delicious end to the meal
A couple of people in the group told me that doing this Afghan theme was an unusual and challenging adventure for them! We've been doing this for almost 10 years and we all enjoy cooking, but no one was at all familiar with Afghan cuisine.
I'd like to cook this meal again for a smaller group, perhaps family or my closest friends. I really enjoyed it! This summer, I'm going to give Afghan kebabs on the grill a try.
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