We felt very welcome when we first met the doctors. It’s a tradition that anyone who comes to their house should have a meal prepared for them – no-one is allowed to leave the house without being fed.
5 May 2014 - 11:06 AM  UPDATED 24 Oct 2018 - 2:03 PM

This Afghan family's cooking included many styles of rice specialties. My favourite was a spinach rice dish of a magnificent deep green colour.

The kabuli pilau was another dish that required a lot of technique in its preparation and was cooked with much attention to detail and love. However, as you ate it, you wouldn’t even realise how technical the dish was, unless you’d been through the process of working with the cook. I loved that they put chunks of lamb in the middle of the rice. It was like finding a treasure, when you scoop up the pilau and get a big chunk of beautiful braised lamb.

What I’ve noticed in almost all of the houses that we’ve visited is that everyone owns a pressure cooker – they’re amazing. In case you weren’t alive in the '70s and don’t know what it is, a pressure cooker is an ingenious pot with an airtight lid, which cooks food that would normally take hours of slow-cooking (such as casseroles) in a really short time. Meats cooked in pressure cookers turn out beautifully tender. I’d personally love to sell my own range of pressure cookers and I reckon they should be brought back into fashion. Maybe they are and I just don’t know about it!

Dr Rahman took me to his favourite Afghani bakery in Auburn. It seemed like people came from all over Sydney to buy bread from this particular bakery. I had a great time with the bakers, who let me roll and shape the dough and then bake it in the big tandoori oven. The heat was intense!

It was a bit of a debacle on the night of the feast, as the heavens opened and it rained at times we were meant to be shooting. Everything was set up outside under a tent. All the men staying on rugs outside, huddled together under this tarp, were quite a sight to behold! I remember sitting, eating curry with wet trousers and thinking, “This wasn’t in the contract, either!” The musicians were brilliant – they created beautiful sounds and were really talented. I loved the little Indian drum that they were playing, which was a kind of bongo.

My Family Feast airs  Thursdays at 8:30pm on Food Network, then on SBS On Demand.