A Southern Grace: afghan cultural festival

April 19, 2008

afghan cultural festival


Say the words "free food" and I'm there.

Say the words "free Middle Eastern food" and I'll come running with bells on.

Schenectady had an Afghan Cultural Festival today, featuring arts and crafts and other such displays. It also featured food--free food--and I'd been looking forward to it all week. It was catered by the Taj Mahal Restaurant, which I had known nothing about but now adore.

Here's my first plate (yes, I had seconds, and yes, I let everyone else go through the line before I attacked again), chock-full of goodness:

They served up samosas stuffed with peas and spices and lots of things I couldn't identify but ate anyway:

Delicious. It absolutely melted in my mouth and was pretty zesty too, which I find very important.

My favorite kebab, the chicken kebab, was also dished out:

Check out the massive skewer hole:

That was one heck of a skewer!

I got some Afghan salad, with diced tomatoes, onion, green peppers, cucumbers, and mint (a key component):

Very refreshing.

I tried the shor nakhod, which was composed of chickpeas, onions, potatoes, and I believe I detected a bit of cilantro:

I do love me some chickpeas. And cilantro.

For dessert, there were two choices. I, of course, got one of each. First was goosh feel:

I guess it's an Afghan palmier, and it was tasty. However, the highlight of the entire meal was...

...the baklava.

My favorite.

The Taj Mahal Restaurant makes a mean baklava. It's not the absolute best I've ever had, but it ranks pretty high up there.

They also offered pallow (rice with almonds, raisins, and pistachios), sabzi (wilted spinach), and lamb curry, but I opted to pass on those.

Middle Eastern food rules.

Free Middle Eastern food is cause for celebration (especially when there's baklava involved). :)

(Hey, I already admitted to my parsimony. Don't hate.)


test it comm said...

All of that food looks so good especially that baklava!

Anonymous said...

That baklava is BEAUTIFUL! All of it looks delicious - lucky you!

Anonymous said...

Wow, wow! Did you save some for little ole' me? That looks so crunchy and yummy and just CRUNCHY-YUMMY!

Anonymous said...

I'll be right beside you Grace! I may even have to trip you so I can get there first. I love Middle Eastern food. Your photos look wonderful!

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Pixie said...

I'm such a huge lover of Middle Eastern food as well- should learn how to cook more of it, certainly have enough cook books around and lucky lucky you to eat all that for free. Noticed it went along to promote the kite runner- my favourite book.

Mike of Mike's Table said...

That looks like it would be a heck of a trip! I'd be coming home with a stomach ache from over indulging for sure!

LyB said...

I haven't had baklava in ages! Oh, how I miss it... :)

Albany Jane said...

Lovely! I meant to get over to it - I am so impressed with the food they served!

Cheryl said...

Yum! That all looks delicious! My husband was deployed to Kabul for 6 months, but never got to try Afghan food while he was there. What a shame, especially after seeing these pictures!

Anonymous said...

Well you have been pretty busy over the last few days. The food seems very similar to Indian cuisine. Sounds great!

Anonymous said...

Gawd, how fun!!! Everything looks amazingly good...those little heart shaped desserts? We have those here, too! They're called "palmeritas" (little palms)...YUM. The kebab and the salad and the garbanzos....I wouldn't know where to begin (or where to end for that matter! lol I prolly woulda stuffed myself silly). :)

Anonymous said...

I LOVE Baklava. Seriously love it. Can't have it around because I will hide it and not let anyone else eat any. Did I mention I love baklava???

Sean said...

Wow -- when I was growing up in Schenectady, the word Afghan only referred to dogs and blankets. How very cool!