Affinity Cultural Cooking Classes delight the tastebuds with Afghan Cuisine.

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In May, Affinity Intercultural Foundation hosted its inaugural cultural cooking class in conjunction with St. Kieran’s Church, Manly Vale. Showcasing Afghanistan was the theme of the night by presenting its rich tradition, intriguing culture and exotic food.

The program was launched with a short introduction into the exquisite Afghan culture, particularly highlighting the vast array of Afghan dishes, from the ‘basic’ rice and curry to the challenging mantus and oshaks. Mantus are small dumplings filled with minced meat and served with chickpea curry and garlic yoghurt drizzled on top. Oshaks are the vegetarian equivalents that contain leeks, shallots and spinach instead of mince.

A cooking station was set up, intending to guide those who wanted to learn the secrets of Afghan cooking. Nasrine, a proficient Afghan chef and mother of four, demonstrated the filling, folding and completion of the perfect mantu and oshak. It looked easy until we attempted it ourselves! Thankfully, after a few broken mantus and oshaks, we managed to become worthy apprentices to Nasrine!

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As the mantus and oshaks continued to be filled, the infusion of fresh spices permeated the room, teasing the already grumbling stomachs. And then finally, the main event arrived: Dinner. The mixture of superb food and great conversation gave birth to a wonderful evening between friends with different ethnic backgrounds, faiths and stories.

As dessert, a sweet Afghan dish known as Gilabee, was being served, a historic Afghan poem was read in Farsi (Persian) by Bilal Waheed. The soothing poetry resonated with the audience, touching the hearts of many.

The program came to an end with a vote of thanks by Kate Shaw. Not only did everyone learn useful tips for the kitchen but they were also invited into the Afghan world, immersing themselves in its culture, outfits and food. The night truly turned out to be a recipe for the fusion of hearts…

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