Chelo Nachodo: Afghani Chickpea Stew with Rice

Bryanna posted a recipe for Kadu bouranee, everyone’s favorite Afghani appetizer, yesterday, and I had a pie pumpkin sitting around that was begging to be used in something I’ve never made before, so I decided we were having Afghani food for dinner tonight. Bryanna said she ate it as an entree, but kadu bouranee is too sweet to be more than an appetizer in my opinion so I needed to find an entree. After searching the internet for vegetarian Afghani meals, I gave up and veganized a chicken dish instead. (I don’t know why I couldn’t find anything appealing, because there are plenty of vegetarian dishes at The Helmand in Baltimore.) This recipe from is what I worked from.

Chelo Nachodo: Afghani Chickpea Stew with Rice

5 cups vegan “chicken” stock, divided
1 cup Soy Curls (or vegan “chicken” substitute)
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 large onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 large zucchini, chopped
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup fresh dill chopped
1 Tbsp dry cilantro (or 1/4 cup fresh, chopped)
juice of 1 large lemon

I took the ingredients photo before I realized I didn’t have any chickpeas in the house. I also didn’t have any fresh celery or dill, but as you can see in the photo I was prepared to work around this. The missing chickpeas were a deal-breaker, though, so it was off to Wegmans with me. I took the opportunity to complete the first step while I ran over there, and I picked up some celery and dill while I was at it.

Heat 3 cups of the “chicken” broth to nearly boiling and pour over the Soy Curls. (Omit this step if using some other vegan “chicken” that doesn’t need reconstituting.)

Let Soy Curls sit in broth for 10 minutes or until soft, then drain, pouring the broth through a sieve into the soup pot. Roughly chop the Soy Curls

Add the remainder of the broth to the soup pot and bring to a boil.

You don’t need to get this crazy with the boiling.

Add the Soy Curls, chickpeas, celery, carrots, onion, zucchini, salt, pepper, and cumin to the soup pot.

Return to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 45 minutes.

Juice the lemon. Check out my lovely Jadeite citrus reamer! I love it! If you are willing to accept a few nicks, sometimes you can find deals on this stuff. I don’t mind a couple of dings because I actually use my vintage pieces and am likely to incur a few myself anyway. In fact, it if it’s slightly defective, I’ll be less nervous about using it and I’m happy when I’m not nervous!

Chop the dill.

Add the lemon juice, cilantro, and dill to the soup pot.

Simmer the stew for another 20 minutes, uncovered.

Meanwhile, prepare some rice to accompany the stew. Do NOT follow the instructions in the recipe I linked to for making rice! I was highly skeptical about it, but if any one word describes me it’s “adventurous”, so I tried it anyway. It was Not Good. I don’t know if you can tell from this picture how Not Good it was, but trust me on this.

Fortunately, I am adventurous but also rife with common sense. Anticipating a rice disaster, I stuck a couple of servings of rice in the rice cooker at the same time I prepared the Horrible Rice. I suggest you simply make rice via your favorite method.

The stew will have cooked down a little bit by now and look like this:

Serve the stew over the rice:

… accompanied by the kadu bouranee.

(Mine is pureed unlike Bryanna’s because that’s how they serve it at the Helmand!)

Oddly, this meal (the stew, not the pumpkin) reminded me very much of one that was in heavy rotation during my childhood: Chicken Over Rice. This is odd because my diet as a kid was very American. I think my mom’s Chicken Over Rice was more a chicken-in-gravy sort of thing than a stew, but it definitely reminded me of it anyway. I think my parents would actually eat this! Mark said it was good and very filling, and I think it will make nice leftovers for lunch tomorrow, although it certainly wasn’t as spicy as I’m used to my meals being.


  1. Lisa Said,

    October 18, 2008 @ 11:55 am

    Wow Renae!! That looks awesome!!! I am going to have to order soy curls online… I can’t find them anywhere around here.

  2. Lenora Said,

    October 18, 2008 @ 6:27 pm

    Never heard of soy curls! Will have to try them! Thanks, as always for your beautiful blog!

  3. Jes Said,

    October 18, 2008 @ 7:19 pm

    Mmm that stew looks great! Perfect for a fall evening!

  4. bex Said,

    October 25, 2008 @ 9:11 pm

    i love how your cat supervises you in the kitchen

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