A few weeks back, Humaira talked about how she and I are parting ways, at least as far as this blog is concerned. Having been drawn into my own work on Mom's Kitchen Handbook, along with writing a cookbook, I stepped back from things here some months ago. It makes beautiful sense to me that Afghan Cooking Unveiled morph into something broader, with Humaira fully at the helm. I'm excited to watch it all evolve.
It's funny... even though I haven't been writing or developing Afghan recipes for many months, I still find myself craving the food. My kids know that when the counter is stacked with spice jars and Greek yogurt, they can expect something a little more exotic than the norm. This recipe for Sabzi is always a favorite and I thought it worth sharing as part of this final post. A braised spinach dish accented with loads of dill and lemon, it's everything that classic Afghan cooking should be: nourishing, comforting, clever in its simple use of seasonings, inexpensive, and immensely easy to make.
Today as I sat eating leftover Sabzi for lunch with a spoonful of yogurt and warm pita bread, I thought about what I have loved best about collaborating on this blog (besides the fun of working with Humaira). It's been the deep realization of how food connects us all. Researching and writing about the cooking of Afghanistan has given me an appreciation for its people, history and culture, that you can't get from watching the news or reading the paper. When I make a big pot of Aush, I think of all the Afghan moms across the planet doing the same for their children. When I bring Kadoo to a potluck, I share a taste of a culture that is so different from our own.
Truth? I think food is the best way to bring people together. Enough talk about drones and diplomacy. We'd probably all be a whole lot better off if we just got together and started cooking.
Afghan Braised Spinach
Qorma e Sabzi
6 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces green onions, white and green parts, chopped (2 to 3 bunches)
1 teaspoon ground fenugreek (optional)
2 pounds frozen, chopped spinach, not defrosted (ideally organic leaf spinach)
1 tablespoon dried dill
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
In a large deep pan, heat the oil over medium-high and saute the onions until tender, about 7 minutes.
Add the fenugreek if you are using it, and cook for another minute. Add the frozen spinach and cook on medium heat, stirring regularly, until it defrosts and the liquid comes to a boil, about 15 minutes. If the defrosted spinach doesn't produce any liquid, add a few tablespoons of water to pan. Once the liquid boils, add the remaining ingredients, stir thoroughly, and drop the heat a bit so the liquid bubbles gently.
Cook for another 10 to 15 more minutes until the liquid is largely absorbed and the spinach very tender. Keep an eye on the spinach as it cooks, stirring occasionally. If the pan dries up, add little more water and continue cooking.
Note: If you want this dish to be extra flavorful and super creamy, after you've followed this recipe, add 1 cup of vegetable or chicken broth to the spinach and continue to cook it for another 30 minutes
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