Favorite

Kushland Kebab proves a standout for local Middle Eastern cuisine 

click to enlarge MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper

Few-month-old Kushland Kabab comes to us courtesy of Mohammad Azami, who emigrated from Afghanistan 13 years ago after serving with U.S. forces as a translator. Though he has never owned an eatery, he says he’s been cooking “a long time — everywhere I go — at home, for my unit, with my wife ...” And his experience shows in this well-seasoned food, a standout for local Middle Eastern cuisine. I order a mixed kabab plate ($12.99) with four pieces each of grilled lamb and chicken over a bed of rice with a side salad and pita wedge. Except this isn’t boring rice, but a variant of Qabili Palau, Afghanistan’s highly popular national dish, which includes carrot shavings and raisins for sweet counterpoint. Typically lamb or another meat gets incorporated into the rice, says Azami, but his modification here is to plate the protein instead as a skewer atop. That wouldn’t be any big deal if the meat wasn’t so damn delicious — tender and juicy inside with a touch of char flavor and piquant spicing. Azami marinates the lamb in particular for 24 hours in the liquid that results from throwing garlic and onion in a juicer, he says, noting the chicken doesn’t need a bath that long. From there, he and his wife blend a variety of spices, including paprika, salt, black pepper, cumin, turmeric, dried mint leaf and a special tenderizing agent he gets from back home, which helps soften the meat but leaves no flavor trace, he says. There’s a zesty note complemented by the awesome house tzatziki salad dressing, a purée of cucumber, sour cream and garlic with a touch of lemon juice and sometimes dried parsley or mint. Leave room for a unique dessert called shirpeera, a lavish Afghani milk-based fudge (brown sugar- and vanilla cream-sweetened, but not too much) which suspends flecks of almonds, walnuts and pistachios for a smooth, rounded nut essence.
Location Details Kushland Kabab
mobile business
various
Colorado Springs, CO
447-5142

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