In Afghanistan, lamb meatballs is a classic dish for New Year, known as Nowruz.
Zarifa Hameed

21 Feb 2014 - 4:34 PM  UPDATED 6 May 2015 - 2:51 PM

We make korme kofta for Nowruz – New Year – along with many other dishes, including colourful rice, lamb curry and haft mewa (seven fruits). Nowruz, meaning ‘new day’, is the first day of spring (the vernal equinox), but in Afghanistan, the festival can last for two weeks. It’s a time of good luck, fortune and new starts.

I came to South Melbourne from Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, 25 years ago with my husband, Arash, my in-laws and my three-year-old daughter, Wayla. I also have another daughter now.

It takes around five hours to prepare the New Year feast. I use a lot of onions – they make the food tasty. Years ago, my father-in-law showed me how to slice them under running water, which stops you from crying. You also have to put in a lot of time to make the food tasty. You have to think, “How is the water? How is this flavour?” And you have to watch and pay attention.


Korme kofta (Afghan lamb meatballs)



Interview Sarina Lewis. Photography Olga Bennett.


As seen in Feast magazine, April 2014, Issue 30.