Afghan cuisine always delights its consumers with its unique texture and flavourful taste, and a big part of it is the delicious Afghan desserts. Most Afghani sweets and desserts hold religious values and are therefore prepared for special events like Eid, Ramadan, or Nowruz. Others are enjoyed by the locals on regular days to satisfy their sweet cravings.
What Is Special About Afghan Sweets and Desserts?
Some Afghan desserts are similar to the sweet dishes of its neighboring countries such as Jalebi, Sheer Khurma, and Firnee. These confectionaries are also quite popular in Pakistan, India, and Iran. In Afghanistan, natives use their preferred ingredients to make these desserts a part of Afghan cuisine.
Afghanistan desserts mostly contain yeast, eggs, sugar, and milk which provides a fresh taste to its desserts. Other commonly used ingredients are cardamom, cinnamon, and nuts. The addition of these elements gives a royal touch to Afghan sweets and desserts.
Most Famous Afghan Dessert
Shir Berenj (Rice Pudding)
Shir Berenj or Sheer Berenj is a rice pudding dessert commonly eaten in various Asian countries. In Afghanistan, it is considered the most popular dessert. It is not only tasty but highly nutritious as well.
This Afghani dessert consists of sticky rice and milk with a heavenly touch of rose water. The nutty flavors of cinnamon, cardamom, and almonds further enhance its flavor.
This versatile Afghanistan dessert is enjoyed both warm and chilled. It has a creamy texture and a luscious taste. Although it is usually treated as a dessert, some even have it as breakfast in Afghanistan. A warm bowl of Shir Berenj can be a great choice to start your day.
Afghan Desserts – Cakes
Jalebi (Sweet Funnel Cake)
The next Afghan dessert is a super sweet and crispy snack from Afghanistan. Here we are talking about the worldwide famous “Jalebi.” Although jalebi is an international sweet, it is widely popular in West and South Asia.
In Afghanistan, Jalebi is ranked high in the list of the best Afghan sweets. Locals enjoy this sweet treat with their traditional drink Kehwa or green tea. It is a favorite snack for both children and adults.
This juicy, sugary delight is made by mixing flour with yogurt or ghee, baking soda, or yeast to make the batter. Then the batter is poured into hot oil in a circular pattern. Finally, it is dipped in a thick syrup of rosewater, honey, saffron, and cardamom.
Gosh-e-Fil (Fried Pastry)
It’s time to delight your tastebuds with some tasty Afghan pastries. Gosh-e-fil is a fried sweet pastry nicknamed “an elephant’s ear” due to its shape. It is a part of Italian cuisine but is also quite popular in Afghanistan.
This Afghan cake is made with a dough of flour, sugar, eggs, and milk. Then the dough is deep-fried from both sides. It is further flavored with chopped pistachios, cardamom powder, and icing sugar on the top.
Some places make it look even classier by putting a rose petal on the top. You can try this sweet and crunchy Afghan dessert with the evening tea. It is most commonly found during festive events such as Ramadan and Nowruz.
Afghan Desserts – Pudding
Sheer Khurma (Rice Pudding)
Sheer Khurma is one of the most delicious Afghanistan desserts. It is a rice pudding that contains milk, dates, vermicelli, sugar, and nuts. The other ingredients can vary but milk, vermicelli, and dates are the key elements.
Additional flavor is added with chopped pistachios, almonds, and cashews. Its overall taste is rich and creamy. The nuts and dates give it a crunchy texture with a sweet and soft taste of vermicelli.
Many families celebrate their Eid with the sweetness of Sheer Khurma. You can also enjoy this royal-tasting Afghan dessert at breakfast.
Firnee (Milk Pudding)
Firnee is a delicious and sweet traditional Afghanistan dessert. It is made of cornstarch cooked along with milk and sugar. Rose water, cardamom, and saffron are used for aroma.
The delicacy has a very thick and creamy texture. It is topped with chopped or ground pistachios for the extrea crunch. Dry fruits, seasonal fruits, or crushed coconut are also added to give a variety of flavors.
In Afghanistan, banana and rosewater-flavored Firnee are the favorites among the locals. The natives enjoy their holidays and festive events by eating this delicious Afghani dessert.
Afghan Desserts – Pastries
Malida (Sweet Crushed Bread)
Malida is another mouthwatering addition to Afghan sweets. The confectionery is made with crumbled whole wheat dough or flatbread. Some places make it with leftover roti or flatbread.
The dough is flavored with cardamom and dry fruits. Dates and jaggery are added to make it more flavorful and sweet in a healthier way. It has a crunchy palate with the sweetness and crispness of dry fruits.
This traditional Afghani dessert is made on special occasions, and is more popular among the Pashtun and Persian communities of Afghanistan. The treat is served in a bowl accompanied by tea.
Khataye are traditional Afghanistan sweets that look more like cookies. They are similar to the Nankhatai which is famous in Pakistan and India. In Afghanistan, these cookies are made on special occasions like Eid.
These Afghan biscuits are made of baking soda, powdered milk, flour, sugar, and oil. The dough of the cookies is firm yet soft. It is rolled into small and flattened balls with a depression left in the center for the ground nuts.
These Afghan sweets are crispy with sweet, soft, and rich character. They somehow highlight the authentic flavors of Afghan cuisine. The cookies go particularly well with traditional Afghan tea.
Other Popular Afghan Sweets
Sheer Pira (Nut Filled Milk Fudge)
The next Afghani dessert will delight your taste buds with its rich nutty character. Sheer Pira is a nut-filled sweet milk fudge. It has the texture between a fudge and a nougat.
This sweet piece of treat is part of traditional Afghanistan sweets. It is hugely popular among the natives. With its creamy and flavorful consistency, it also gains popularity among visitors.
Sheer Pira includes cream, full-milk powder, ground cardamom, rosewater, almonds, chopped pistachios, and raisins. All the ingredients are combined in hot sugary syrup, put on the dish, and smoothed out. Finally, it is cut into a square shape and served topped with chopped or powdered nuts.
Haft Meva (Fruit Medley)
This fruit medley reflects a relatively healthier side of Afghan sweets. In Afghanistan, people often celebrate the new year with the sweetness of Haft Mewa. They welcome the new year with the hope of sweetness and freshness.
Haft Mewa is mainly a dish of fruits and nuts. As the word “Haft Mewa” means seven fruits, this Afghan dessert is traditionally made with seven nuts and fruits, but can also contain more than that.
The different types of fruits or nuts added to this dish, give a variety of tastes and make it flavorful. The fruits are soaked in water or sweet rose water to make the fruits plumpy and juicy.
Sheer Yakh (Afghan Ice Cream)
When it comes to desserts, we cannot forget about the Afghan-style ice cream. Sheer Afghan is a traditional Afghan sweet and is also a popular street food in the hot summertime. You might find this dessert in other countries, but its authentic taste is found only in Afghanistan.
This flavourful Afghanistan dessert is made in a unique style. First, milk and sugar are added to a metal container with flavoring, then it is placed in another ice-filled container. Finally, the container is rotated to freeze the mixture inside.
The dessert comes in mango, banana, sweet lime, and many other flavors. This fancy Afghan treat is served in small bowls with chopped pistachios, almonds, and thick cream on top.
Discovering the Best Afghanistan Sweets And Desserts
Afghan desserts offer a variety of options for sweet lovers to satisfy their cravings. From cookies, pudding, pastries, and cakes, there is plenty to fall in love with. While these Afghan sweets are usually served during special occasions, they can be enjoyed at any time!
The assortment of sweet dishes on offer is certainly one of the most delicious facts about Afghanistan for visitors. It’s a unique culture of desserts and indulgence.