- About 42% of the population of the country lives below the international poverty line which means living on less than U.S. $1.25 a day and about a little over 70% of the population is illiterate.
Wow. Sort of puts some things in perspective, doesn’t it?
- There are many natural resources in Afghanistan that are yet to be mined. These include gold, silver, copper, zinc, iron ore, emeralds, uranium, salt, sulfur and coal.
- Afghanistan is known for growing some of the best melons, grapes, apricots, pomegranates, dried fruit and nuts in the world. They export opium, fruits and nuts, handwoven carpets, wool, cotton, hides and pelts, precious and semi-precious gems. However, a recent article suggested that opium would be replaced with saffron, a much more lucrative crop to profit from.
- Afghanistan is a landlocked country sharing borders with Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and China.
- Poetry is a big part of Afghans’ culture and it has been for centuries. In the city of Herat, women, men and children gather on Thursday night to share verses from old and new poetry.
DID NOT know this. I think this is the most interesting fact for me. For me, it’s always been a war torn country. I didn’t think poetry would be huge there.
- Afghanistan’s national game is called Buzkashi, or in other words, goat-grabbing. It’s a sport where the players in two teams try to catch a goat while riding on a horse. It has been played for centuries and it even got sponsors for it nowadays.
Okay…no offense to y’all Afghans out there, but that’s just giggle worthy. I’m sure there are other quite interesting games out there, but this is the most interesting I’ve read about so far.
- The dastarkhan, the floor spread is an important expression of culture in Afghanistan. Regardless of economic status, creating an adequate dastarkhan is important to any family, especially when having guests.
There is such a communal and social aspect of eating that I think we lack here. Food for the most part is just sustenance. Food on most other parts of the world is a social and cultural experience that can last for hours. They enjoy the food and the company. Eating slower means you eat less, too. This is largely why Americans have a growing overweight population. We lack that enjoyment of food; savoring every bite. Myself included. So…no snarky comments please?
- Herbs and spices used in Afghan cuisine include mint, saffron, coriander, cilantro, cardamom, and black pepper.
K. Skip the cilantro, but LOVE the others. Especially cardamom. I think that’s what killed the meat sauce for S. He’s not a huge fan of that one.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Carefully drop the leek dumplings into the boiling water. After the dumplings have surfaced, cook 1 or 2 minutes more. Carefully remove from the water.
Serve topped with the meat sauce.
- 4 cups leeks, rinsed well and sliced
- 2 cups onions, chopped
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 package wonton wrappers
- 1 pound ground beef, 93/7
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 14 ounces canned tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon coriander seed
- 2 teaspoons cumin seed
- 4 whole cardamom pods
- Chop the leeks and rinse well in cold water to remove any sand.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil. Saute onions and leek until tender and soft. Cool to room temperature.
- Place the mixture in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Place half a teaspoon in the center of a wonton wrapper. Wet two sides and fold diagonally into a triangle. Wet the tip of the triangle and fold in half. Fold the two sides over wetting one side to make them stick together forming a tortellini shape.
- Toast the coriander, cumin and cardamom in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant. Grind in a spice or coffee grinder until finely ground.
- Heat a medium skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Brown the beef. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of the spice mixture. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste and canned tomatoes. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Carefully drop the leek dumplings into the boiling water. After the dumplings have surfaced, cook 1 or 2 minutes more. Carefully remove from the water.
- Serve topped with the meat sauce.