Afghani Baked Chicken and Vegetables Made by Patty

Patty, my temporary roommate, welcomes a variety of people into her home, which she operates as a sort of temporary/long-term “boarding house”. Some of these situations are called, AirBnB.

In a university town, we get multiple opportunities to interact with students and their families from at least 82 countries – not to mention our domestic multicultural students from varying backgrounds. It’s absolutely delightful for this social scientist! Patty, a nurse, has embraced the concept of welcoming many beautiful people in to her home, so it is today that I learn a recipe that Patty learned from her friend, Ariana from Kabul, Afghanistan. Ariana could not come to eat with us since our chicken is not halal, so Patty watched the process with her friend and fetched the spices from Ariana’s house wrapped inside a tissue. Here’s her process.

The spices: whole cumin, masala mix, and black pepper are mixed in a marinade of oil, spices, garlic, and potatoes. The chicken and potatoes should sit in the marinade for at least 45 minutes. Bake it at 325F (~150 – 170 C) for 30-45 minutes. At this point the fresh vegetables are added: onion, yellow sweet pepper, tomatoes. Patty added celery, because she did not have tomato.

While we were waiting for the chicken and vegetables to bake, we chatted about life, our jobs, our families, our preferences, and our varying critiques of political challenges in current news. To keep our appetites whetted, we enjoyed baked Brie topped with my own “signature” fig apple jam and placed on a walnut. Popped in our mouths and chased with a sip of Cabernet Sauvignon, which may not have been the perfect pairing for chicken, but it’s what I like, we waited patiently for the chicken to reach a temperature of 165 F (75 C). It began to smell so rich and savory!

As it turned out, the meal was absolutely delicious! The savory spices mingled in the thickened marinade. Patty plated the meal with a dollop of Ariana’s homemade yogurt. We ate it slowly to savor the flavors, and we toasted with a glass of wine. Patty creatively cooked the long-grain, white rice with onion, small bits of celery, whole fenugreek, whole mustard seed. She added the rice after she brought the spices and vegetables to the point of fragrance. Then she added the rice and water and cooked over medium heat with a cloth-wrapped lid. The rice cooked until somewhat dry. For extra protein, Patty added Urad Dal (split matpe beans). It gave extra body and texture to the rice.

We ended our meal with homemade hard cheese dipped in home-spun, home gathered honey! Patty’s Dad, Dean, is a bee keeper, and the honey is from his hard work. Mmmmm….

Thank you for reading!

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