There are a lot of Afghan words I struggle to pronounce. I’m not even quite sure I’ve got Humaira’s name exactly right and we’ve been friends for seven years now. This is just one little reason I like this dish so much; its name is a breeze: kuku. Plus, it’s sort of fun to say. Far more important, though, the dish is seriously delicious.
Kuku is Afghanistan’s answer to the Spanish tortilla and the Italian frittata. Eggs are beaten, mixed with vegetables and cooked either on the stove top or in the oven, or a combination of the two, until the eggs are just tender. Seasoned Afghan cooks prepare the dish entirely on the stovetop, flipping it part way through. However, this can be tricky. The method I offer here is a bit more forgiving.
As you might expect, the seasonings for the Afghan version are, well, distinctively Afghan. This particularly kuku is flavored with an abundance of cilantro and turmeric, along with potato, spinach and scallions. The result is a brightly colored and boldly flavored egg dish suitable for a brunch or lunch or light supper. It can certainly hold its own against even the best from Spain and Italy.
1 Russet potato (about 8 ozs.), peeled and quartered
1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems removed, finely chopped
1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts, finely chopped
4 ozs. spinach, chopped
1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 ½ tsp. Kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
Immerse the potato in a small pot of cold, salty water.Bring to a boil and cook until tender. Drain and mash with a fork.
Turn your oven on to broil.
Crack the eggs into a medium bowl and beat them with a whisk.Be sure the herbs, scallions and spinach are thoroughly dry (a salad spinner can help with this).Add the mashed potato, cilantro, scallions, spinach, jalapeño, turmeric, salt and pepper to the eggs and whip until combined.
Drizzle the olive oil in a 10-inch, non-stick skillet and set over medium heat. Add the egg mixture and cook for 6 to 8 minutes until the outside browns lightly and the eggs begins to set in the middle.It will still be quite runny across the top.
Set the skillet under the broiler until the eggs are firm, though still tender.Remove the skillet and allow it to cool for a few minutes.You can cut wedges directly from the pan or run a knife around the edge, put a dinner plate over the top of the skillet and quickly invert the kuku onto the plate.Serve warm or cold.
The kuku cooking in the pan as the eggs are just beginning to set around the edge
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