No announcement yet.

Struggling with PB in Afghanistan! Your advice and recommendations please.

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Struggling with PB in Afghanistan! Your advice and recommendations please.

    Good day everyone! Hope you all are having a good day, or evening if you're in the US/Western Hemisphere.

    For work reasons, I've recently relocated to Kabul, Afghanistan where I shall be for one year, at least. I'm finding following the PB here to be quite difficult due to the lack of common food I'm used to back at home.

    The vegetables I get are bought from local, outdoor shops on the dusty roads. They usually have a layer of the road on them before I wash. I'm concerned that just rinsing them off in purified water isn't good enough. Are there any ways to sort of decontaminate local produce that has for sure been on the road and handled by many people?

    The meat is another big issue for me. I get the meat from a local butcher, however I don't know if it's grassfed and trying to communicate that in Dari is not easy. For ground beef, which I use most due to lack of time to cook, I buy frozen from a foreigner supermarket. Would you opt to buy from the butcher or from the latter?

    Finally, getting the essential fats that I've come to love is difficult. I have access to butter (non-grass fed probably), and EVOO. I have found a brand of coconut oil, however its really odd. The color resembles a light syrup color and is sweet. It's not clear white that I'm use to. I'm not sure if it's healthy to use or not and am wondering if anyone has found anything similar in their use of coconut oil? I'd like to use it if it's good.

    Also, what is curd? I found this yogurt-type substance in the store but I'm not sure what it's used for.

    Thanks for all of your help and advice.

    - Jesse

  • #2
    You can wash your veggies with a vinegar/water solution and they should be fine.
    I'd go with the butcher-if you can't determine if it's grass-fed, go with leaner cuts.
    Not sure about the coconut oil-does it list the ingredients?
    Curds are early-stage them plain, or on salads, omelettes, etc.
    $5 off QOC241

    "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." - Voltaire

    For nutrition/wellness tips:!/pages/One...34671179916624


    • #3
      Don't be afraid of the local meat. They don't have the money there to feed their animals the crap that we feed them, so they are all going to be grass-fed, with no antibiotics or hormones added. Most of it will probably be Halal, which is very similar to kosher. As long as it is reasonably fresh, you'll be fine.

      Stews are a great way to cook meat thoroughly, too.


      • #4
        I've traveled extensively in the third world (and yes, fourth world ) and worked for brief period in Afghanistan. Based on my own experience (but I have a tough gut):

        I wouldn't worry too much about the veg - again, they are not as likely to be doused in chemical goo, and you can wash 'natural fertilizer' (manure) or anything someone's hands have left there off without too much worry. If you are concerned then for the first few weeks or month you can use a diluted bleach wash, which will be more effective than the vinegar. A few drops of plain ol' bleach per gallon, wash and air dry.

        HOWEVER there are exceptions that can be very hard to get clean; lettuce is the only one that springs to my mind though. Common sense and experimentation will get you through, I'm sure.

        Ditto jfreaksho on the meat. I remember the first time I had local chicken a long time ago in Mauritania. A totally different taste experience. We say "tastes like chicken" because our chicken tastes like cardboard, even (or especially?) when produced all super hygienically and all that. Also, you may learn to love sheep and goat; I know I miss it. Believe me, locals are not buying grain to feed their animals.

        My advice would be to cultivate a relationship with some specific meat vendors. You don't say where you're working, but if you have any locals working with you who speak reasonably good English, take one with you to the butcher(s) and have them explain. Again, I don't think they're going to even understand the idea of buying grain to feed their animals, but it couldn't hurt to check. And you could set up a standing order for the things you want every week or two weeks or however often, depending on your storage at home. Afghans tend to be prickly about being compensated for doing favors, but you could buy your friend/co-worker something else and give it at a different time, if you want to show your appreciation.

        HOWEVER I would be very very very wary of ground meat, or I should say, meat ground locally. I'm not sure if you're buying foreign meat imported frozen, which is probably all kinds of quality-controlled, or trusting locally-ground meat from an expat grocery store. Now, in general, if other expats are telling you somewhere is a safe place to get food that won't make you sick, that's a good bet. But personally I'd rather get whole cuts. It's not any harder to throw a steak in a skillet than ground beef, really.

        That doesn't sound like coconut oil to me; it shouldn't be sweet.

        Re: cheese and dairy: Find a local source for yogurt. It's AWESOME in Afghanistan, very natural, and cheap. Really amazingly deliciously wonderful, and definitely full fat. AWESOME and now I want some! Any fermented anything in the dairy department will be worth your while if you like that sort of thing. Anything local is going to have two great advantages: Full fat, and Much cheaper than expat fare.

        Afghanistan is a challenging but great place, with some amazingly warm and strong people. Stay safe and learn to love the local gut flora.

        Good luck!
        "If man made it, don't eat it." ..Jack LaLanne
        "It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are.
        If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." ..Richard Feynman

        beachrat's new primal journal


        • #5
          I spent a lot of time in Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan at the start of the war before the Brown and Root chowhalls showed up. We ate watermelons and unknown-type melons from the roadside vendors, as well as cucumbers, onions, garlic, and tomatoes just like the locals. Ever see the Afghans eat? Lots of chopped, raw veggies. If you are shopping strictly on the local economy, you can find plenty of primal goodness--just remember the processed sugar, flour or vegetable oil. If you can buy from AAFES, get all the sardines and canned fish you can. You can pretty much live on that. Stay the hell away from slim-jims, gatoraid, MREs, and all the other crap that are the GI's staples. There is probably not one thing in an MRE that's any good to eat.

          Eat up, those fruitstands will all be gone by the end of the month.


          • #6
            Actually, most yogurts/curds here are not full fat. What they do is remove the cream and sell that separately. That cream if you can find it in the bazaar is very good and thick. The farsi word for it is "qaymaq." I put that in my coffee, cook with it, etc. I love it. If you really want "fatty" yogurts or milk, ask the seller to give you the top of the container when he weighs it for you. The fat tends to separate and create a skin on the top.


            • #7
              Originally posted by afsjesse View Post
              Also, what is curd? I found this yogurt-type substance in the store but I'm not sure what it's used for.
              I dont know about curd in the Afghanistan context, but in India, curd is plain yogurt. It can be made with either whole milk or skim milk. My mother always made it with whole milk, my mother-in-law uses skim. Whatever you chose.


              • #8
                Jesse, welcome to Afghanistan! I'm on my seventh trip. I don't really have much to add to everyone else's suggestions, except I wouldn't be eating any local meat cooked less than medium well. That's just me though.

                You can also find some pretty good restaurants in Kabul which cater to westerners. The restaurant at the Sarina Hotel is pretty good, but pricey. THere is also the Lebanese Grill, northwest (I think) of the Embassy.

                Enjoy your stay and stay safe!
                My Journal


                • #9
                  I have a feeling the quality of the locally grown meats and produce in Afghanistan is a far sight better than what we can buy here. Just because it doesn't have a USDA organic sticker on it doesn't mean it isn't. Washing your vegetables in safe drinking water is good enough. A little dirt is good for you.
                  F 28/5'4/100 lbs

                  "I'm not a psychopath, I'm a high-functioning sociopath; do your research."