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Kufta Chalow is a basic everyday Afghan meal, I remember this meal fondly as a child. My mom would put a big mound of Chalou and in the center she would place three neat meatballs, circling it with a nice tart tomato sauce prepared with dried plums. I just remember loving the small mountain of rice on my plate, the excitement to dig in for that first bite.

Chalow is the most basic of Afghan rices, it is plain white rice but can be dressed up with fried almonds, Zereshk (dried barberries), or various sauces. Even though Chalow is simple in flavor, it has a cooking method that is base for all Afghan rice which ensures a perfect consistency of individual grains of rice perfectly cooked and fluffy.

All Afghan rice is prepared with an Aw Roghan, which literally translates as Water and Oil, it’s basically the sauce the rice is prepared in. For Chalow it literally is water, oil, salt, and a little bit of cumin for flavor. That’s all there is in preparing Chalow, getting the perfect consistency is achieved in cooking it by first boiling the rice until slightly softened, and then steaming it at a very high and then a very low temperature. The hint of cumin gives the rice a subtle flavor, and a heavenly smell. To this day the smell of cumin reminds me of the excitement of coming home to a basic comforting meal of Kufta Chalow.

Kufta Kurma is prepared in a delicious tart tomato based sauce that has a unique flavor with the use of dried plum seeds called Aloo Bukhara. The key in Kufta is always ground black pepper and garlic, this livens the otherwise dull flavor of ground beef. The Kurma sauce develops better flavor and consistency by simmering on low heat.

Kufta Kurma with Aloo Bukhara Sauce

2 Pounds of Ground Beef
4 Medium Onions
2 Teaspoon minced garlic
1-2 Tablespoons of ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons dry coriander
½ bunch fresh cilantro chopped
1 ½ cups of tomato sauce
6 Aloo Bukhara-Dried Plum seeds (Have them soak in water for about an hour before you cook)
Salt as needed

1-) Mince all of your onion in food processor

2-) For meatball mixture mix ground beef, half of onions finely minced, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 2 tablespoons dry coriander,  ½ bunch of chopped fresh cilantro, and about ½ teaspoon of salt

3-) For Kurma sauce fry other half of chopped onions in a pot with 1 teaspoon of minced garlic. Fry until onions are a light brown color, it is important that the onions are not too dark or the kurma will have a dark color.

4-) Once onions are a light brown color, make small oval shaped meatballs and carefully place them in pot. Let these meatballs fry on each side.

5-) After frying meatballs, add about 2 cups of water and let it come to a boil.

6-) Let meatballs simmer for about 20-30 minutes with lid on.

7-) Add the tomato sauce, ½ cup boiled water, and the Aloo Bukhara. Let this boil on medium for about 10 minutes.

😎 Put the temp lower and let the Kurma simmer for about 15 minutes, once the sauce has thickened and the oil comes to the top and separates from the sauce the Kurma is ready.

9-) Before serving you can pick out the Aloo-Bukhara with a spoon, or serve with Aloo-Bukhara still in the sauce.