Babamiyan Afghan Restaurant
Oct 25, 2013 09:23AM, Published by Style, Categories: In Print
Photography by Dante Fontana, © Style Media Group
I have to admit: I’m a reluctant culinary voyager.
On a recent Friday night my husband had to reassure me about heading to Bamiyan to try Afghan food. The first thing I noticed was the abundance of deep, rich colors and textures (luxe dark wood tables, crystal chandeliers), and creamy billowing curtains that evoked the decadence of indulging in another culture’s cuisine. Between that and the dim lighting, the space is perfect for a date night.
Being an ardent lover of iced tea, we had to try the Afghan version, which tastes like a delicious combination of Thai and chai teas. All concerns went out the window after this. It was my first foray into the unusual and scrumptious flavor combinations of Bamiyan.
We ordered the appetizer platter, which included pakawra (potato slices battered and fried crispy), patak (fried, thin dough with vegetable filling), bolani (grilled flatbread filled with seasoned potatoes and vegetables), and our resounding favorite, the samosas, prepared using thin dough that is fried crispy and stuffed with potatoes, peas and spices. Two dipping sauces accompanied the bevy of fried delights: cool, creamy yogurt and complex cilantro chutney.
Appetizer Platter and Mantoo
My husband ordered the chaplee kebab; ground beef mixed with green onion, seasonings and spices, and grilled in a patty (reminiscent of an Afghani meatball). It came with a side of very long grain rice and reminded me of an ultra-satisfying meat and potatoes-like dish.
My choice was the less-familiar mantoo, featuring deliciously chewy steamed dumplings filled with subtle beef and onions, and an aromatic house-made yogurt sauce with garlic and mint. The masterful mix of spices and flavors was so unusual and intriguing that I kept eating to discern each ingredient. Before realizing it, however, I was staring at an empty plate—still at a loss for what made it so delectable.
Luckily, we saved space for dessert—their homemade rice pudding with cardamom, rose water, sliced almonds and pistachios was phenomenal. Word to the wise: Save some of your iced tea then grab a bite and take a sip—it’ll taste like black licorice. Trust me, it’s time to try Afghan food…if not just for the rice pudding and tea.
Bamiyan Afghan Restaurant, 1121 White Rock Road, El Dorado Hills, 916-941-8787, afghancuisine.com.
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