This is an easy dish to scale up, to feed as many guests as you need.

My mother recalls having this dish for breakfast during family day trips, such as to Mazar-i-Sharif (in northern Afghanistan) for the Red Tulip Festival (Guli Surkh), during the spring equinox. It would be made in a beautiful copper karayee, a shallow heavy-based pan used in Afghan cooking. The karayee would be placed directly over a portable kerosene burner, where the eggs, vegetables and spices would bubble away. The large karayee is then placed in the middle of the breakfast spread, surrounded by naans and various chais, for everyone to help themselves.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over high heat, and fry the onion and garlic for 5 minutes, or until softened and browned. Add the tomatoes and fresh chili, and cook, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes have softened but are still intact. Then mix in 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste. 

Break the eggs into a bowl, then pour evenly over the tomato and onion mixture in the saucepan. Break up the yolks gently, if that’s how you prefer them. Then cover the pan with a lid. Reduce the heat to low, and cook the eggs slowly, shaking the pan occasionally to avoid sticking, for 5–10 minutes for soft, 10–15 minutes for medium-soft or until the eggs are cooked to your liking. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, ground red pepper and cilantro, and serve hot—straight from the pan.

Reprinted with permission from
Parwana: Recipes and Stories From an Afghan Kitchen
Durkhanai Ayubi.
Interlink Books, 2021.
Alicia Taylor

Freelance food writer and restaurateur Durkhanai Ayubi is involved in day-to-day responsibilities of two family-run eateries in Adelaide, Australia: Parwana and Kutchi Deli Parwana. She has written for several international newspapers and websites. Daughter of Afghani refugees Zelmai and Farida Ayubi, she tells her family’s story from her own perspective while passing along memories and recipes from her parents. Parwana is her first book and won the 2021 Art of Eating Prize.