FOR: SOUR AND SWEETNESS
The vegetable delight isn’t traditional Afghani cuisine. Neither is it Persian. “It’s something we put together here,” says Qader Zahory, owner of Mazadar. Opened in June 2009, the Fairfax restaurant combines Afghani-style butternut squash (sauteed with tomato, topped with homemade yogurt), challow (rice garnished with raisins and carrots) and the Persian-influenced eggplant stewed with tomato.
Zahory owns Mazadar with his brother Bob; Qader runs the front and Bob develops recipes. Fahwad Asadullah works the line, whom the Zahorys know through his father-in-law, and who last cooked in Kabul.
Chopped bits of vegetables and fruits—cauliflower, cabbage, plum—pickle from red, balsamic and white vinegars and emerges 30 days later aggressively sour from a lack of sugar. It is harsh at first, but becomes addicting, like sitting with your hilariously caustic friend at the bar. Use torshi on bread or mixed into rice. It’s salsa with pucker.
An Afghani custard dessert, solid like Jell-O but creamy like pudding, firnee refreshes with sweetness and the heady scent of cardamom.
11725 Lee Highway, Fairfax; mazadarrestaurant.com