Monday, April 13, 2009

Two Onions....

...and the only thing watering was my mouth. Okay that just sounds awful, but you get the idea? I wasn't drooling into the food, I swear!

I was hungry for a good Afghan treat, but I didn't have a lot of time, so here is an adaptation of a classic rustic Afghan dish:

Do Piazeh (lit: "Two Onions")
Breast of chicken fried with caramelized onions, blackeye peas, turmeric, coriander, cloves, and cardamom, then tossed with fresh red onion soaked in lime juice, served over a bed of mushroom, cilantro, and cinnamon scented couscous and drizzled with lemon-yogurt sauce.

My father actually typically made this dish very similarly - sans the blackeye peas. And of course, no couscous! (Afghanistan does NOT make couscous, but you'll see me use it since it's so easy and tasty.) Traditionally this is served over bread, but we eat it with rice as well.

I was thus a bit confused when I found a recipe for it in my Afghan cookbook, which stated that the meat (lamb) was actually boiled with the red onion first and a bit of split peas, then lifted out of the water when tender and placed on bread with vinegar-soaked yellow onion. I didn't have the time or the lamb to try it this way, but it sounds lovely and very different than the typical Afghan rices and qormas. In any case, this is a kind of quick version that I think is very tasty.

The dish derives its name from the way the "two onions" in the recipe are used - one is cooked (either caramelized in my version or boiled with the meat in the traditional version) and the other is added raw at the end (with a bit of acid to cut the bite).

Needless to say, it was delicious, quick, and has a lot of interesting textures and the contrasting bright flavor from the red onion really lightens the heavy caramelized onion flavor.


Anonymous said...

I have been looking for this recipe ever since I moved away from my favorite Afghan recipe.

What book do you have? I've been trying to figure out exactly how long to soak the onions in the vinegar.

Ali Baba said...

this is the book i use most and referred to in the blog:

the author recommends letting the onions soak in vinegar at least 2 hours. I would not let them go too much longer personally - i like a little bite.

good luck!

Talibonita said...

Hey this is awesome and what fabulous experiments! I wish there was more!!! Thank you :)