Have you ever wondered what Afghan food is like? Adelaide has a plethora of choices when it comes to Middle Eastern food alone with their beautiful flavoursome spices. Parwana Afghan Kitchen was our restaurant of choice for a catch up. Believe it or not I have never been to Parwana until this year. I know, I know, bad foodie. Their famous dumplings I first tried at the Adelaide Fringe Festival made me determined to visit this institution everyone speaks so highly of.
The menu is simple and easy to navigate. Food here is best shared in my opinion, it even says share plates on the menu. Divided into dumplings, rice, friends of rice and grilled meats with accompaniments, it made sense to order something from each category! I started the night with a drink called Rose Sharbat. It reminded me a lot of the Air Sirap Rose or even Bandung we have in Malaysia. Made with rose syrup and basil seeds it’s a sweet drink.
I just had to recommend these delicious dumplings to my friend so I ordered them. Mantu are steamed dumplings stuffed with carrots and sautéed onions tooped with a mince sauce and garlic yoghurt. It is simply amazing. I never order vegetarian dumplings but the filling is so flavoursome. Mind you it isn’t really a vegetarian dish because of the meat sauce. The sauce itself is another perfection in its own. A must order!
We also ordered Karayee Morgh which is pan-fried chicken pieces coated in a garlic, chilli, coriander and yoghurt marinade. It comes with naan, salad and their house made chutney. I like their salads, mostly because I like cucumber and red onion. It’s refreshing, juicy and crunchy compared to leaves. Now, when it says it comes with naan, we were thinking Indian size naans. Their naans are huge. We ordered a Naan as an accompaniment as well and it was just too much. This Afghan flat bread is a different texture to Indian naan though, it’s even flatter and less fluffy.
So, when there is rice on the menu my inner Asian automatically directs my eyes to it. After all, grilled meats and curries need rice. Kabuli Palaw caught my attention and I do love a good pilaf. Afghan also use long grain rice and this one is cooked in some lovely spices and stock served with caramelised carrots, sultanas, almonds and pistachios. A good mix of savoury, sweet and fragrant crunches. It’s on the oilier side as far as any pilafs go but oh so tasty.
I always think curries and stews are big crowd pleasers with so much flavour slow cooked and packed into a dish. That night we decided to also try Qormeh Gosfand. Very tender and succulent pieces of diced lamb simmered in tomato and onion sauce. A secret recipe no doubt using a mix of Afghan spices and chilli. It’s actually not spicy unlike Malaysian curries. You’d struggle to survive in a Uni campus if you could not eat spicy food. Even a 4 year old can eat sambal fried rice. But yes, the food here wasn’t spicy so don’t be intimidated by the word chilli.
Not pictured is the huge naan we ordered that we sadly could not finish. Don’t like wasting food but all our stomachs were too full. I don’t know why it has taken me so long to come here. It’s worth going back time and again, something I intend to do. Parwana has obviously introduced Afghan food to Adelaide really well. Their success is evident as they expanded to the CBD and Flinders University. Perfect affordable lunch time meals for students and staff alike.