* Dill (shebed or shabit) : This familiar herb is often used in stews and soups. For instance, the beloved shola includes plenty of dill mixed with short grain rice and mung beans. And maashawa, a popular meatball soup based on yellow split peas, mung beans and red beans, has generous amounts of dill stirred in just before it is served.
* Cilantro (gashniiz) : Afghanistan is definitely part of the Cilantro Belt--cilantro is so abundant in the cuisine it's often referred to as Afghan parsley. Chatni gashniiz, a blend of finely chopped fresh cilantro, minced nuts, garlic and a touch of chile, is a fresh chutney offered at nearly every meal. And copious quantities of gashniiz flavor Zamurud Palau, a rice dish made with spinach and meat.
* Mint: Known in Dari as \o7 naana, \f7 mint flavors sweet drinks and fresh fruit desserts and is ever-present as a green garnish. For breakfast, \o7 naana \f7 always appears along with the bread and cheese.
* \o7 Holba: \f7 Fenugreek greens, seldom found fresh elsewhere, are used in \o7 shole holba, \f7 described in the rice section.
SPICES AND SEASONINGS
* \o7 Ghora angur: \f7 Sour, unripe grapes are sold fresh (in season), frozen and bottled (as juice), and are used by Iranian cooks to flavor \o7 khoresh\f7 , their equivalent of the Afghan \o7 qorma. \f7 But Afghans prefer sour grapes dried and ground to sprinkle over kebabs--it truly enhances the meat's flavor. (For sprinkling purposes, Iranians use sour dried sumac berries, also sold here.)
* Cardamom: Sold whole or ground, cardamom often flavors Afghan tea and is favored in baked goods and pudding-like desserts made from rice, cornstarch or semolina.
* \o7 Masala Palau: \f7 Rice seasoning, as it is labeled on the package, is a convenient mixture of spices that includes cinnamon, cloves, rosehips, ginger and cardamom. \o7 Masala Palau \f7 goes into many stews and rice dishes, notably \o7 qaabuli palau\f7 . Traditionally made in massive quantities on Fridays after the men of the household return from services at their local Mosque, \o7 qaabuli palau \f7 is presented on huge ornately decorated platters. The store carries these in its cookware department.
* Curry powder and other seasonings: The familiar-looking ocher mixture of ground turmeric, cumin, cinnamon and other curry spices is, according to Jamila, what many Afghan cooks use in their \o7 qormas. \f7 Each of the spices in \o7 masala palau \f7 and curry powder come packaged separately. And the store also offers a complete selection of seasonings for Near Eastern cooking.
* \o7 Aash: \f7 Also spelled \o7 awsh, \f7 this word means any grain-thickened soup in Iran, but in Afghanistan it's a fairly baroque soup made with a thin, flat pasta that is also known as \o7 aash. \f7 The soup is a thick mixture of yellow split peas \o7 (dal nakhud), \f7 kidney beans and spinach topped with a delicious meat sauce and then a layer of yogurt sprinkled with dry mint and garnished with fresh coriander. The \o7 aash \f7 noodles Hawthorne Market sells come in a package labeled in Dari, Farsi and English.
* \o7 Turshi: \f7 Pickles are an Afghan mealtime fixture, and those sold here, made by Shamco International, are a tart mix of vegetables that includes pumpkin, eggplant and cauliflower enhanced with garlic, mint and other seasonings.
* Dessert flavorings: Lettuce might not seem like a special treat, but in Afghanistan, when unripe fruits are still on the trees, street vendors sell snacks of lettuce (usually romaine) dipped in \o7 sakanjabiin, \f7 a refreshing blend of sugar, water and vinegar with a pronounced mint flavor. Hawthorne Market sells bottled \o7 sakanjabiin. \f7 For a dessert or a snack at home, this sweet-sour syrup is served with a few fresh mint leaves in a shallow dish with lettuce for dipping on the side. Mixed with ice water, \o7 sakanjabiin \f7 also makes a refreshing drink.
For Afghan-style desserts there's a good supply of rose water and orange flower water. Afghans like to pour these essences over vanilla ice cream--almost like a sauce--to impart that indescribable Near Eastern perfume.
* Bukhara prunes: These tiny, very tart, deep orange prunes are imported from the area where Afghanistan joins the southern region of the former USSR. They give the same tang to many Afghan \o7 qormas \f7 that Iranians would provide in similar dishes by adding pomegranate juice, quinces or unripe grapes. When this hard-to-get item is unavailable, the tart yellow prunes, also sold at Hawthorne, may be substituted.
* \o7 Senjed: \f7 These are the genuine jujubes--not the chewy candy you buy in the movie theater, but dried fruits that resemble small dates until you bite into them and discover their tangy flavor and dry, almost cottony, texture.