Afghan Desserts Recipes

Brides Fingers (Asabia el Aroos)

These lovely slender crisps of filo filled with sweetened nuts are as heavenly as baklava, much easier to prepare and to eat, and lower in calories and fat. Nuts provide protein and healthy quantities of fiber, as well as containing traces of many important elements necessary to good health.


      • Sweet Syrup: (See recipe below)
      • 1/2 package (16 oz.) frozen filo dough, completely defrosted
      • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (optional)


      • 1/2 cup almonds or pistachios, pulverized in food processor with
      • 1/3 cup sugar


    • 1 egg, beaten
    • sugar


    1. Prepare the syrup in advance and chill in the refrigerator.
    2. Combine the filling ingredients.
    3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 1 or 2 baking sheets.
    4. Cut the filo in half crosswise and again in half, stacking the covering with a slightly dampened towel to prevent drying. Lay 2 rectangles on your work surface with the shorter sides facing you, and brush lightly with melted butter.
    5. Place a rounded tablespoon of the filling in a line across the shorter side of filo that faces you. Fold the longer edges of the pastry inward, sealing in the sides of the filling, and roll the pastry up from the short side, forming a fat cigar shape. Place on the baking sheet with the cut edge down. Repeat with remaining dough.
    6. Brush the tops of the pastries lightly with a bit of beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.
    7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.
    8. Dip the warm fingers into cool Sweet Syrup and arrange on a serving tray. Serve at room temperature.


The general rule for syrup is to pour hot syrup over cold (or room temperature) pastries and to serve cold syrup over hot pastries.

In some areas, eating syrup and honey is superstitiously believed to ward off the djinn (evil spirits) and to make life sweeter.

    • 3 cups sugar
    • 1-1/2 cups water
    • 1 lemon
    • 1 tbsp. orange-blossom water or rosewater
  1. Boil the sugar with the water until dissolved and viscous, about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in the remaining ingredients and remove from the heat.




    • Fillo dough
    • 1/2 pound Unsalted butter
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1 1/2 cups Sugar
    • 1 tsp. Cardamon
    • Almonds
    • 1 tsp. Lemon Juice
    • 1 1/2 cups Water
    • Crushed Pistachios


First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Next, melt the butter over very low heat. Combine freshly ground cardamon cinnamon in a small bowl. Lay two layers of fillo dough on a baking sheet, and pour two tablespoons of melted butter over the dough. Use a pastry brush to spread the butter.

Next, sprinkle a thin layer of fresh almond nuts, and a small amount of the cinnamon/cardamon mixture. Repeat this until you have several layers. On the top layer, only spread melted butter. Bake the baklava at 375 degrees, until the fillo dough is golden brown. At this point, remove the baklava from the oven and prepare the syrup.

For the syrup… Combine one and one-half cups of water with one and one-half cups of sugar, and one teaspoon of fresh lemon juice. Bring the mix to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. While the baklava is still warm, cut it into small triangle shapes and drizzle the syrup over the baklava. To finish, sprinkle with crushed pistachio nuts.


Khatai Cookies


    • 1 1/2 cups White Flour
    • 1 cup Sugar
    • 3/4 cupCorn Oil
    • 1 tablespoon crushed Cardamon
    • Pistachios

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the white flour with the sugar, and crushed cardamon. Next, add the corn oil and mix well. Make the dough into two inch round balls and put them on a cookie sheet and bake for 15min, or until lightly browned. Sprinkle finely ground pistachios on top of the cookies while they are still hot.

I just got an email warning me that these should be eaten when cooled



    • 2 cups Whole Milk
    • 1 cup Sugar
    • 4 tablespoons Corn Starch
    • 1 tsp. Cardamom
    • Pistachios
    • 1 capful Rose water


Mix whole milk with cornstarch and cardamon and rose water in a sauce pan. Bring it to a boil. PLEASE NOTE: You must stir constantly, if you do not, the dessert will NOT turn out properly!!! When the mix comes to a boil, remove from the stove, and put into a shallow serving dish. Refrigerate and serve with finely chopped pistachios sprinkled on top.


Sheer Payra Fudge


    • 2 c. sugar
    • 2/3 c. milk
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
    • 2 Tbsp. butter
    • 1/2 tsp. cardamom
    • 1/4 c. pistachio nuts, chopped
    • 1/4 c. walnuts, chopped


In a saucepan, cook milk, sugar, corn syrup and salt over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Cook to 240ř on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat. Add butter. Cool mixture to 120ř without stirring. Add cardamom, beating vigorously until candy is thick and no longer glossy. Quickly stir in nuts. Spread mixture into a buttered pan. Let stand until firm. Cut into squares.


Gosh Feel  (Elephant Ear Pastries)

40 servings


    • 2 Eggs
    • 2 ts Caster sugar
    • 1/4 ts Salt
    • 1/2 c Milk
    • 4 ts Oil
    • 2 1/2 c Plain flour
    • 1/4 c Plain flour for kneading
    • 1/2 ts Ground cardamom
    • Oil for deep-frying
    • 1 c Icing (confectioners’) sugar
    • 1/2 ts Ground cardamom (optional)
    • 1/2 c Finely chopped pistachios

*Note: Pistachio nuts should be blanched. Optionally, same amount of finely chopped walnuts may be used intead of pistachios.


Beat eggs until frothy, beat in sugar and salt. Stir in milk and oil. Sift flour, add half to egg mixture and blend in with wooden spoon. Gradually stir in remainder of flour, holding back about 1/2 cup. Turn onto floured board and dust with some of reserved flour. Knead for 10 minutes until smooth and glossy, using more flour as required. Dough will still be slightly sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and rest for 2 hours.

Take a piece of dough about the size of a large hazelnut and roll out on a floured board to a circle about 8-10 cm (3-4 inches) in diameter. Gather up dough on one side and pinch, forming a shape resembling an elephant ear. Place on a cloth and cover. Repeat with remaining dough.

Deep fry one at a time in oil, heated to 190 C (375 F) turning to cook evenly. Fry until golden, do not over-brown. As dough is rather elastic, the pastry tends to contract with handling, so just before dropping pastry into hot oil, pull out lightly with fingers to enlarge.

Drain pastries on paper towels. Sift icing sugar with cardamom if used and dust pastries with mixture. Sprinkle with nuts and serve warm or cold. Store in a sealed container.

Alternative topping: Make a syrup with 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water. Bring to the boil when sugar is dissolved and boil for 5 minutes. Dribble syrup onto warm pastries and sprinkle with cardamom and nuts.


Kadu Bouranee  (Sweet Pumpkin)

Serves 1


    • 2 lb Fresh pumpkin or squash
    • 1/4 cup of Corn oil
    • Sweet Tomato Sauce
    • 1 tablespoon Crushed garlic
    • 1 cup of Water
    • 1/2 tablespoon Salt
    • 1/2 cup of Sugar
    • 4 oz Tomato sauce
    • 1/2 ts Ginger root, chopped fine
    • 1 tablespoon Freshly ground coriander Seeds
    • 1/4 ts Black pepper

Yogurt Sauce:

  • 1/4 ts Crushed garlic, 1/4 tablespoon Salt, 3/4 cup Plain yogurt .
  • Garnish: Dry mint leaves, crushed ?


Peel the pumpkin and cut into 2-3″ cubes; set aside. Heat oil in a large frying pan that has a lid. Fry the pumpkins on both sides fora couple of minutes until lightly browned.

Mix together ingredients for Sweet Tomato Sauce in a bowl then add to pumpkin mixture in fry pan. Cover and cook 20-25 minutes over low heat until the pumpkin is cooked and most of the liquid has evaporated. (I don’t know how it’s going to evaporate if the pan is covered….-B.) Mix together the ingredients for the yogurt sauce.

To serve: Spread half the yogurt sauce on a plate and lay the pumpkin on top. Top with remaining yogurt and any cooking juices left over. Sprinkle with dry mint. May be served with chalow (basmati rice) and naan or pita bread.



Serves 1


    • 1 cup of Sugar
    • 2 cup of Water
    • 3/4 cup of Ghee
    • 1 cup of Coarse semolina (farina)
    • 1/4 cup of Pistachio nuts – blanched
    • 1/4 up of Almonds – blanched & Slivered
    • 1/2 tablespoons of Ground cardamom or to taste
    • 1 tablespoons of Rosewater – See note Additional nuts to decorate


Combine sugar & water in saucepan & stir occasionally until dissolved, over medium heat. Bring to a boil, & boil briskly for 5 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat & leave aside in pan. In a deep heavy pan heat ghee & add semolina. Stir over medium heat for 5 minutes. Semolina should not color.

Pour hot syrup into semolina, stirring constantly. When smoothly blended, reduce heat & leave to cook, uncovered, until liquid is absorbed. Mixture should be thick but still moist at this stage. Stir in nuts, cardamon & rosewater to taste.

Cover rim of pan with a cloth or 2 paper towels, put lid on tightly & leave on low heat for 5 minutes. Turn off heat & leave pan undisturbed for 10 minutes.

Spread halwau on a flat, lightly oiled platter & decorate with nuts. Serve warm or cold, cutting pieces into diamond shapes or squares.


Sabse Borani


    • 4 cups fresh spinach leaves, chopped
    • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
    • 1 cup lightly drained plain yogurt (drain about 1 hr – easiest method is to place the yogurt in a coffee filter and let stand)


Place damp spinach in a saucepan, cover and cook until wilted. Drain and squeeze to remove excess water. Heat oil in a large skillet, sauté onion at low heat until golden, add garlic and sauté briefly, then add spinach, and cook for a minute or two more. Let cool. In a bowl, smooth yogurt and add spinach mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

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