Carlos' Birthday at The Helmand Restaurant

Raquel StecherAbout Me
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Carlos, his Dad and I went out to The Helmand Restaurant in Cambridge to celebrate Carlos' birthday.  The Helmand is a prestigious restaurant in Kenmore Square that serves cuisine from Afghanistan. I took Carlos with me to a social outing once a couple of years ago with a big group of friends and we all dined at The Helmand. Carlos loved it so much that he asked his Dad to take us there for his previous birthday. This year was no different. There was no question that we would have his celebratory birthday dinner at The Helmand. Even though Carlos worked at the Cambridgeside Galleria, right across from The Helmand, for some time he had never had dinner at The Helmand. Now he's making up for lost time!



Here is the happy birthday boy.




At the center of The Helmand is a wood burning oven, where they bake their amazing flatbread. The flatbread is thick, dimpled by hand and it's served fresh and hot right out of the oven. They serve the bread with butter and three dips: a cilantro dip, a spicy pepper dip and a yogurt dip. My favorite? The butter! I guess it's just the Portuguese in me.


For an appetizer, we all shared some Bowlawni, pastry shells filled with leeks and scallions or potatoes. You get one of each on your plate along with a dollop of fresh yogurt sauce.


For dinner, I go the Dwoplaza which is chunks of lamb served on top of a piece of flatbread and covered in a yellow pea gravy. It's served with pallow rice (a rice with extra seasonings) and marinated mushroom salad. Oh my. This was delicious. I took some home with me and it was even better the next day as leftovers.


Carlos had the Koufta Challow, spicy meatballs in a red sauce with vegetables and served with challow rice (a rice with fewer spices than pallow). And those meatballs were indeed VERY spicy. One bit and your mouth will be on fire. The very friendly waiter told us that was one of the spiciest things on the menu.

Carlos loved going back to The Helmand and I did too. I get a bit sleepy after eating there (the food is very rich and bit salty) but oh it was worth it. If you are in the Cambridge area, make sure you stop by Helmand's for a traditional Afghani meal!

4 comments:

Megan said...

I just went there on Sunday night and am still working on a post. I tried the bowlawni as well and found it so interesting. The mantwo was my favorite dish.

abby mumford said...

I just had a conversation about Ethiopian food and I think it sounds similar to Afghani food. Either way, this place looks awesome. I definitely want to try it.

Happy Birthday, Carlos!

John Hayes said...

Happy birthday to Carlos! Looks like a great meal!

Raquelle said...

Megan - looking forward to reading your post.

Abby - what a coincidence! My next post is going to be about Addis Red Sea which serves Ethiopian food. Having had both Afghan and Ethiopian, they have some similarities but Afghan is heavy on flatbread and rice and spices like cumin and cardamom where as Ethiopian food has lighter spongier bread and they use different spices. The meat for both cuisines are served in very savory sauces. Afghan has more mushrooms, yellow split peas, variety of vegetables and Ethiopian has more tomato, collard greens, carrots, etc. I hope you try both if you haven't already.

John - Thanks for stopping by! I'll relate your greetings to Carlos.

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