Multi-Kulti: Afghanistan

Multi-Kulti Kitchen (MKK) is an initiative that helps to bring together Bulgarians and other international communities within Sofia to further cultural understanding through the sharing of food and sometimes music and dance. This October, MKK along with BBC GoodFood, Cermes and Migrapass organized an event, which produced one of the largest MKK turnouts; close to 150 people gathered at 42 G. M. Dimitrov (between Studentski Grad and Mladost) to celebrate Afghanistan. We had the pleasure to delve deep into Afghan cuisine and make some new friends along the way.

Afghanistan is a landlocked country located in Asia, it shares borders with many countries; Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and China. The ideal climate, biodiversity and unique geography all helps to mold the character of Afghan Cuisine, similarities exist within the region, but theirs is distinct and notable. The bounty that the land provides shapes the culinary repertoire. 

The Sofia community is quite large. My group photo only represents a quarter of the Afghan guests that attended the event. Some Afghans have been in Bulgaria over 30 years. Despite the long absence from their home country, they were filled with pride, which was evident in their giving spirit. This month’s event was free of charge thanks to the Afghan families that donated their time, effort and of course food!

The variety of dishes offered were amazing. You can find some of the recipes on the MKK website.

Here is a brief description of the items we samples:

Shormakhot – Chickpeas, boiled potatoes topped with chutney (spicy)
Mantu – Dumpling with ground lamb, onion and spices
Lola Kebap – Ground land meat with onions and spices fried in breadcrumbs
Sambosas – Ground meat, onions and spices, potatoes and peas wrapped in dough and fried.
Bolani – A very versatile fried dough with a similarity to banitza, which can be filled with anything. This one was filled with leeks and potatoes.
Goshe Fille – Crispy fried sweet dough sprinkled with pistachio nuts
Korma – A slow cooked lamb and okra stew (no photo)

Mariam Hermat kindly modeled a gorgeous traditional Afghan dress. 

The crowds poured in and didn’t stop for quite some time. We were frantically moving tables are re-arranging to accommodate everyone comfortably. The room got steamy quickly; who would have thought that we would have needed fans in October!

Dr. Salem provided an introduction to the event and spoke about the Afghan community in Sofia during his program.

The audience was eager and attentive, despite the anticipation of the main event, in my opinion… the food!

There was something truly special about this Multi-Kulti; I felt like I was invited to a family wedding. The warmth that radiated from everyone I encountered reminded my why I participate in MKK. At the end of the night, I was one of the last to leave, I sat chatting and eating grapes with some of the Afghan families, then we exchanged contact information. I do hope the connection stays open because I look forward to seeing them again!
Plans are in the works for our next Multi-Kulti in November and we have something extra special in December. Join our Facebook group to keep up with the news and find out about the map project!
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Author: caseyangelova

Eating, Gardening & Living in Bulgaria www.caseyangelova.com

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