Flavors: Pumpkin Coconut Soup (Kaddu Nariyal Shorba)

Flavors: Pumpkin Coconut Soup (Kaddu Nariyal Shorba)

Nothing had prepared me for the damp, cold winters of Cambridge. I wanted to make this soup not just because it was warming and comforting but because I also got a lot of free pumpkins from the market on my first Halloween in England.
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Flavors: Afghan Breakfast Eggs Tokhme Banjanromi

Flavors: Afghan Breakfast Eggs Tokhme Banjanromi

My mother recalls having this dish for breakfast during family day trips, such as to Mazari-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.
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Flavors: Spinach and Lamb Curry (Sabzi)

Flavors: Spinach and Lamb Curry (Sabzi)

This type of spinach and lamb curry, called sabzi, is traditionally served with rice on Nowruz, the spring new year. 

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Flavors: Roasted Eggplants With Tahini and Pomegranate Molasses Dressing

Flavors: Roasted Eggplants With Tahini and Pomegranate Molasses Dressing

Eggplants are a heavenly ingredient, a mainstay of the healthy Mediterranean diet and a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine.

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Flavors: Chocolate Date Torte

Flavors: Chocolate Date Torte

This see-through date is also known as “the translucent;” in Arabic, noor means light. Not long ago, at a long, lazy lunch, I enjoyed delicious North African—inspired date and prune torte enrobed in smooth chocolate, not unlike this one.
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Flavors: Creamy Broccoli and Arugula Soup

Flavors: Creamy Broccoli and Arugula Soup

This soup was inspired a few years back by Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Good collection of clean, good-for-you recipes. Our version incorporates local spices that add warming, Middle Eastern flavors, and we use the broccoli stem as well as the florets to achieve a more substantial, filling soup without adding any potatoes or cream.
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Flavors: Rice with Carrots and Raisins (Kabuli Palaw)

Flavors: Rice with Carrots and Raisins (Kabuli Palaw)

In a time before the convenience of julienne slicers and store-bought peeled and slivered nuts, kabuli palaw was time-consuming and elaborate to prepare and was reserved primarily for ceremonial events. These days, although it takes less time to make, it still commands reverence. The delicate blend of spices and a crowning glory of glistening carrots, raisins and nuts give kabuli palaw pride of place among Afghan rice dishes.
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Flavors: Spinach and Ginger Salad

Flavors: Spinach and Ginger Salad

I have childhood memories of my mother making this for me and telling me about its beneficial health effects!

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Flavors: Fresh Thyme Pie (Za'tar Akhdar)

Flavors: Fresh Thyme Pie (Za'tar Akhdar)

Spreading the toppings evenly across the dough takes practice. Too much or too little of the topping makes a big difference. I found that the best way to spread the toppings on different pies is with your hands.
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