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A Farangi in Afghanistan, Part I

Lois Manno Middle East Leave a Comment

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Shir Birinj
(Rice Pudding)
This is a favorite desert, using the ever-present rice. The vanilla essence is sometimes omitted in villages where it may not be available.

2 cups cooked rice
1 1/4 cups milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup raisins
chopped pistachios for garnish

Combine all ingredients except the pistachios and place in a greased baking dish.

Bake in a 300 degree F. oven for about 45 minutes until done. Garnish with pistachios and serve.

Serves: 6

Sambsay Shirin
(Fruit and Nut Dessert)
Desserts are not served too often at home, and are made with locally grown fruits, often sun-dried. They are usually served for guests and at special dinners, and are not part of the everyday menu.

Afghan Pastry Dough:
2 cups white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup shortening
2 small eggs, lightly beaten

Sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Cut the shortening into the dry ingredients.

Place the eggs in a measuring cup and add enough water to make 1/2 cup of liquid. Mix the egg mixture into the dry ingredients to form stiff dough. Divide the dough into 3 equal balls and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

Roll out the dough on a floured board into a very thin layer about 15 inches in diameter. Dust lightly with the flour and fold the dough back over itself several times, rolling with the pin each time.

The dough is then rolled out, cut into desired form, and filled.

The Filling:
3/4 cup chopped dates
3/4 cup ground pistachio nuts
2 Tablespoons hot water
Pastry dough (see recipe)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Powdered sugar

In a bowl combine the dates, nuts, and warm water.

Roll out the dough 1/8-inch thick. Cut into 12 equal squares. Put about a tablespoon or so of the mixture into each square of pastry. Fold the pastry to form a triangle.

Deep fry in oil until lightly browned. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve either warm or cold.

Yield: 12

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