Thank you so much to our amazing community for getting behind our Cooking, Conversation and Community fundraiser to support Afghan women and children on Sunday 12 September.
Together, we raised over $8,400, which means 30 Afghan women will be able access education and training for a year!
This is a phenomenal result, particularly at a time when energy is at a premium – your generosity and kindness is testament to the amazing community we share, made up of and enriched by many communities from many places.
The event featured a masterclass in cooking Sholla-e Ghorbandi by the fabulous Homaira from Fitzroy’s Afghan Gallery Restaurant (recipe below). It’s Australia’s oldest Afghan restaurant, serving amazing, authentic food while also supporting the community here and in Afghanistan. We cannot wait to book a table there as soon as lockdown ends – but thankfully they also do takeaway for now! You can follow them on Instagram or Facebook if you haven’t already.
All the money we raised for this event, apart from a small amount in ticketing fees, is going directly to the Afghan Australian Development Organisation (AADO). As a recap, the AADO is an Australian diaspora-led charity that is dedicated to providing education and training opportunities in Afghanistan, such as literacy and livelihood programs for village women and girls, science teacher education programs and more, through local teams that have deep community networks. Since the Taliban took hold, the AADO has funded initial urgent basic relief for displaced children in camps, including water, food, milk powder and hygiene products. You can keep up to date with the AADO’s important work on their Facebook page and on their website, where you will also find details about how you can support them in future.
A huge thanks to its founder, the incredible Dr Nouria Salehi, and Homaira Mershedi for generously sharing your insights, stories and cooking for the event, and the amazing Dr Paula Hanasz for your brilliant MCing!
And to you, our wonderful guests, supporters and community – thank you so much!
Sholla-e Ghorbandi recipe
Serves 4 people
2 cups short grain rice (eg short grain basmati if you can get it, otherwise calrose, not risotto rice, it swells up too much)
1 cup Mung beans – can be bought in Indian grocers, or Coles
2 cups Homemade veg or chicken broth
2 Onions (medium size)
2 Large tomatoes ½ cup Split yellow peas
1 teaspoon Turmeric
1 teaspoon Black pepper
½ cup Olive oil
1 cup Yoghurt
2 teaspoon dry mint
Wash the rice, mung beans and split yellow peas separately 7 times. This is to clean and remove excess starch. The seven times is traditional, and represents the seven skies. Soak them all separately in cold water overnight or for at least 3 hours.
Meat option: ½ kg lamb mince, ½ kg beef mince, 2 onions, 1 bunch spring onions, 2 organic eggs, 1 medium potato
Vegetarian option: 2 potatoes, 1 eggplant, 1 bunch spinach, ½ cup flour, 1 bunch spring onion, 1 onion,
Split pea sauce: 2 tomatoes, 1 teaspoon garlic, ¼ cup olive oil
Chop one large onion, smell it first to make sure it is not “sweet”, or mouldy. Gently sauté in a pan with some oil on a low heat. Add the washed rice, turmeric and the chicken stock, bring to a gentle simmer.
At the same time, place two cups of water on to boil in a separate saucepan. Add the mung beans and cook on a gentle heat for ten mins, or until just tender. Check carefully from the 10 minute mark, you want them to retain their shape, and not “pop” or they go mushy. Add to the half-cooked rice pilau, continue cooking both together for a few more minutes. Turn off heat, check seasoning and keep warm until serving.
Mix together in a bowl, the mince, chopped spring onions, 2 organic eggs and a peeled, grated potato. Then add 1 teaspoon dried coriander, 1 teaspoon black pepper, ½ bunch chopped fresh coriander. Mix all and leave for 10 minutes. With clean hands, shape them into either small meatballs, patties, or kofta shapes, pointed at each end. Put aside. Put the additional two chopped onions into a shallow pan with two tablespoons of olive oil, cook until soft, then carefully add the meatballs. Cook over a low heat for approximately 45 mins. Gently swirl the pan, do not stir.
You can use a mixture of vegies, but a combination of potatoes, onions, spinach works well. Roast or grill the vegies separately, then chop and mix together with flour, chopped spring onions and eggs.
Split pea sauce
Place two tablespoons of olive oil in a pan, gently sauté ½ chopped onion. To the saute add, ½ teaspoon of turmeric, ½ litre boiling water, crushed fresh tomatoes. Cook until tomato is no longer raw and has reduced to a sauce, add the split peas. Cook until the split peas are soft and have made a dahl like sauce. Add your spices…1/2 teaspoon of each, garlic which you have gently pre-fried, dried coriander, black pepper and a pinch of salt.
Gently rub the dry mint between your fingers into the yoghurt, or smooth tofu. Plate up the dish, first mound the rice on a platter, then arrange the meatballs, or veg balls, spoon over the split pea sauce. Drizzle yoghurt between the meatballs to decorate. Add fresh or dried chilli, paprika to taste.
Decorate with salad, eg. Cucumber slices, radish slices, fresh coriander. Pour 2 tablespoon oil in a frying pan, once the oil is hot, add 1/4 teaspoon garlic, stir for 10 seconds and pour over your dish.
Serve with chutney.