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Parwana
Cover of Parwana
Parwana
Recipes and stories from an Afghan kitchen

Interwoven with traditional Afghan recipes is one family's story of a region long afflicted by war, but with much more at its heart. Author Durkhanai Ayubi's parents, Zelmai and Farida Ayubi, fled Afghanistan with their young children in 1985, at the height of the Cold War.

When their family-run restaurant Parwana opened its doors in Adelaide in 2009, their vision was to share with the world their family memories through the delights of Afghan cuisine, infused with Afghanistan's rich historical culture and traditions of generosity and hospitality, to offer a more complete picture of the country they had left behind.

These fragrant and flavourful recipes have been in the family for generations and include rice dishes, dumplings, curries, meats, Afghan pastas, chutneys and pickles, soups and breads, drinks and desserts. Some are everyday meals, some are celebratory special dishes. Each has a story to tell.

Interwoven with traditional Afghan recipes is one family's story of a region long afflicted by war, but with much more at its heart. Author Durkhanai Ayubi's parents, Zelmai and Farida Ayubi, fled Afghanistan with their young children in 1985, at the height of the Cold War.

When their family-run restaurant Parwana opened its doors in Adelaide in 2009, their vision was to share with the world their family memories through the delights of Afghan cuisine, infused with Afghanistan's rich historical culture and traditions of generosity and hospitality, to offer a more complete picture of the country they had left behind.

These fragrant and flavourful recipes have been in the family for generations and include rice dishes, dumplings, curries, meats, Afghan pastas, chutneys and pickles, soups and breads, drinks and desserts. Some are everyday meals, some are celebratory special dishes. Each has a story to tell.

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About the Author-
  • Durkhanai is involved with the day-to-day responsibilities of the family-run eating places in Adelaide - Parwana and Kutchi Deli Parwana. She also writes freelance opinion-editorial pieces for a range of newspapers and websites, and is undertaking a Fellowship for Social Equity funded by the Atlantic Institute in New York.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from September 7, 2020
    Daughter-mother duo Durkhanai and Farida Ayubi intertwine history and food, and the personal and political, in this rich collection of Afghan recipes. “Of the millions of families displaced, mine was one,” she says of their flight in 1985 from Afghanistan, when “the aura of the nation had been scrambled.” Tying together the threads of their journey (they now own two restaurants in Australia) are family photos and an enticing array of dishes pictured in bold colors, with their recipes. Ayubi’s maternal grandfather cooked spicy coriander-scented lamb kebabs “over hot coals in the garden” to celebrate Eid, the end of Ramadan; intricate steamed dumplings (mantu) filled with cabbage and carrots and topped with tomato and lamb sauce capture “cross-cultural pollination” along the Silk Road. Recipes are loosely organized by theme; for example, the final chapter covers the author’s return to Afghanistan in 2012 and features foods said to represent the “bridging” of influences. Overall, the dishes, which include sweets such as semolina halwah with nuts, are traditional in flavor, but Ayubi doesn’t shy from modernity: many, such as one for the Afghan national dish Kabuli palaw, a platter of rice with chunks of lamb “buried beneath,” suggest using a pressure cooker for convenience. Parwana—the name of the family’s first restaurant—is Parsi for “butterfly,” and Ayubi’s family’s story is one of metamorphosis, elegantly told and deliciously accompanied.

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Recipes and stories from an Afghan kitchen
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