Sunday, March 28, 2010

Afghan Cilantro-Mint Sauce

The other day, I got to talking about a now-out-of-business restaurant that we used to love. "Parwana" was a local spot serving Afghan food, and they had lots of vegan options on the menu. The food was so delicious and full of interesting flavors. Just like Italian restaurants might give you bread and olive oil as a starter, or a Mexican restaurant will give you chips and salsa... Parwana always gave diners bread with this amazing mint-cilantro sauce.

So, we were talking about how much we missed that magical sauce... and I figured I could probably recreate it. Armed with a fridge full of left-over fresh herbs from my Persian New Year gathering, I searched around on the internet and combined a few different recipes and ideas. In the end, I came up with something just about perfect. I'm so stoked!

For dinner we had Moroccan Chickpea Soup (from "Healthy Hedonist"), Hindu Kush Flat Breads (from "Silk Road"), and some of this Afghan Cilantro-Mint Sauce. Very international!

Check out the sauce, I hope you like it. It's pretty darn zesty from the garlic and cilantro... but it's also easy to get down the hatch. I look forward to exploring more uses for it!

Afghan Cilantro-Mint Sauce
Makes about 1 cup

{Note: I used a small food processor to make this, which was perfect, but I'm sure you could use a regular food processor, a blender (and some patience), or even a mortar and pestle.}

1 clove garlic, peeled
1/2 c walnuts
1 c cilantro leaves, semi-packed
1/2 c fresh mint leaves, semi-packed
4 scallions, chopped
3 T lemon juice
1 T white vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1-2 T water, as needed/desired

Drop the garlic clove into the food processor or blender and chop it up. Add the walnuts and pulse a few times to chop them up. Add all the remaining ingredients, starting with 1 Tbsp water (add more if you want it saucier or if it seems too thick to blend easily). Blend it into a thick green paste. Eat it up!


  1. This looks so good!
    Debra @ Vegan Family Style
    Ps- I'm giving away a copy of Food Inc on my blog- entries close at midnight 3/31

  2. Alana4:31 PM

    I loved that restaurant! Bryanna Clark Grogan has a vegan version of the pumpkin with yogurt sauce dish.

    Your sauce looks yummy. I can make that after I plant mint in the garden.

  3. gah sounds so amazing. as usual.

  4. This sauce sounds mouthwatering! I can imagine how great this must be with fresh flat bread! How awesome you could recreate it!

  5. Hey Amey! Just found your blog! Great blog with lovely stories! But I am feeling sad that Parwana closed down. Wonder why.

  6. Anonymous12:40 PM

    Yum, this looks very tasty. I can't get enough cilantro. Seems like you are getting quite good at recreating recipes and adapting non-vegan dishes to vegan!

    :-) jen

  7. I loved dining at Parwana and I LOVED that sauce. How sad that they closed down. Thanks for the's going to bring back many happy memories.

  8. Just wanted to let you know that I've been looking for a recipe for this for ages, and came across your blog. I'm sharing the recipe on my blog and linking them to here!


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