The Afghan cuisine is quite unique through its types of food and through the preparation techniques. It is very well known that the foods that make up the Afghan cuisine, their tastes and spices are quite a tasteful mixture of the food traditions of the regions that surround the country. Despite the eastern oriental foods that are famous for being exaggeratedly hot and spicy, the dishes in Afghanistan are neither too hot nor pungent. Another great feature of the country’s cuisine is that in contrast with its western neighbors the food here is not flavorless. Western travelers are very impressed with the food here and it has been documented that the foods in Afghanistan are a unique blend of exotic ingredients and great taste.
Cooking and food have a very important role in the country’s culture. Food is considered something that brings people together and in Afghan culture one should always share his/her food with others. In western countries it is considered rood to pay unexpected visits, but it is very much different as far as Afghanistan is concerned. Here guests are always welcome and people usually drop in without any previous notice and it is never a problem for the host. People always have food for their guests and not to have something to offer to your guest is unheard of even in the poorest families. Thus, you could never get up from an Afghan meal being hungry, no matter how little time the host had to prepare it.
The dishes served in Afghanistan are usually symbolic of certain occasions, such as the Qaabuli Pallow dish that is considered to be the crown of Afghan cooking and which is served only to special guests or on very special occasions, usually marriage ceremonies. Also, there is another dish, called Letee that is served to new mothers as it is quite light for the stomach, while having a high nutritive value. Dogh is a summer dish only and Mahi dishes are always on the table during Nowroz (New Year’s). Eggs are quite a preferred ingredient that is prepared in many special ways so that the guests are well nourished. People in Afghanistan believe that food is a very important element in nature and that depending on the ingredients it can produce warmth, coldness or neutral temperatures in the human body. Afghan people have a great respect for food and there are some essential foods that have special meanings I certain situations, for example, stepping on a piece of bread is considered a sin.
Creativity is a very important feature of the Afghan cuisine as there are a lot of dishes that can be “improved” after the cooks imagination and taste. The most important thing about the food culture in Afghanistan is that everybody should be full and satisfied at the end of the meal.
Every fall the Afghan Muslims celebrate their spiritual holiday called Ramadan. The new moon represents the beginning of the Ramadan which presupposes a month of religious and personal reflection, fasting and finally feasting. The people of Afghanistan honor this holy month with festive and fortifying meals that are meant to make both the fasting and the feasting meaningful and enjoyable.
The Suhoor or the Early Morning Meal represents the most important meal of the day as eating is forbidden during the day. Traditionally Afghans eat porridge, bread and a lot of fruits at a very early time as close to dawn as possible.
The Iftar or the Evening Meal is eaten people can stop their daily fasting and the traditional snack foods are again bread, cheese and fruits. After this everybody is supposed to spend some time praying and then they can have the big evening meal that is generally consisting of heart stews or vegetable dishes.
Eid Ul-Fitr or the Feasting Finale represents the end of the Ramadan period when a huge celebration is organized and the foods served now are better than all the meals served during Ramadan. The people in Afghanistan are now preparing their veil and chicken delicacies together with all sorts of spicy dishes that can impress anyone with their unique and exotic tastes.