Afghanistan and its gastronomic stories untold
If a cuisine could have a poignant edge, Afghan cuisine for me takes the knife. The aromas, the cooking style, the presentation- everything about their food scream out untold stories of the people living in those borders. Lost between translations and unending grief, even their smiles seem to carry out the pain they can never empty their hearts of.
Watandar Restaurant, where I have been to previously and did a review of the same (Read-here), for me has always been a haven. Though carefully examined by prying eyes of the people strolling the neighbourhood lanes, the hospitality of the restaurant owner beats all of the unfamiliarity. Probably one of the sweetest people I have ever come across, who thought my mother looks like my sister (bad move), he cooks all of the food himself and serves them with utmost love.
This visit, we tried the Manto, finally! And a plate of real delish Chicken Kurma (spelt this way) with their hard bran bread. I have never been a very big fan of their breads but with food like that and a famished-post-office person (me), it was hard to decline.
The Manto, is actually Afghan dimsums, quite like our roadside momos but extremely hygienic and healthy, he assured. With a very similar filling to what we get at every kiosk in Delhi, it was defined by the spiced yogurt and lentil gravy generously lathered on top. Mostly had as a meal in itself, we bent the rules and gobbled down our mantos like an appetizer.
The Chicken Kurma, completely blew my clean eating mother’s mind. Cooked in its own fat and minimal spices, the korma was every bit delightful. We dipped our breads and chomped to our heart’s content. While sipping our complimentary mountain dews, because he loves us.
Swapping stories of our lives, Afghanistan, my salary that intrigued him and the filth in Delhi bylanes, we were more than happy to return with some richly inflicted tales and while he did his customary- “you are our guest, so the meal is free but you will treat me when you receive your salary” and we profusely denied, winning in the end of course and promised to stop by again, this time probably with a smaller gap between the visit.