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Afghan Sabzi Chalau

(post, Melissa Hamidi)

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This is an Afghan rice dish served with spinach and mushrooms. It is a delicious, vegetarian, dish, and can serve as a meal on it's own with the meaty mushrooms.

Begin by cleaning 2 leeks and pat dry. Slice thinly, and add to 6 Tbsp. of heated olive oil in a sautee pan or dutch oven. Next, slice 4 green onions including the green stems, and add to the leeks. Sautee until they begin to soften. Add 1 clove of crushed garlic, 2 Tbsp. of tomato paste, and 12 oz of fresh spinach. (This will serve 4) Season with salt, black pepper, and a dash of crushed red pepper. Next, add 1/4 cup of water, and simmer over low heat.

While the spinach simmers, quarter 2 cups of mushrooms. I like baby portabellas for this dish since they have a meaty, thick texture, and steam beautifully. Quarter the mushrooms, and add to the spinach mix. Stir over low heat and let the flavors come together. Lastly, add the secret, Afghan, ingredient "Kasoori Meshti." Keep over low heat with the lid on the dish for another 15 minutes (while basmati rice is cooking).  This dish will taste fabulous without the Kasoori Methi, so don't worry if you can't find it.  If you are interested in tasting it, you should find it in an Afghan, Indian, or Persian market.

My husband's dear cousin sent us to Boston with Kasoori Methi since we did not have any in our pantry.  Before leaving her house she handed me a little box wrapped in plastic instructing me to pack it in my suitcase, and think of her when we make Sabzi.  I wondered what TSA would think when they searched our bags.........and I believe my suitcase still has a Kasoori fragrance, which is ok with me. 

Serve the spinach and mushrooms over rice, and spoon remaining juices over the top. I promise you'll feel like Popeye for eating your sabzi (spinach)!

Ishteh Khoob!