Parwana Cookbook Giveaway & Quick Bites

Enter our giveaway to win two copies open to US members provided by Interlink Publishing and two copies open to the UK/AU provided by Murdoch books with one additional copy provided by Eat Your Books worldwide of Parwana: Recipes and Stories from an Afghan Kitchen by Durkhanai, Farida, and with assistance from Fatema Ayubi.

Often we are told not to judge a book by its cover. In the case of Parwana we can do just that. The gorgeous cover is a true reflection of this book’s content. The imagery is vibrant, the dishes covered are approachable and exciting, and the narrative within these pages is inspirational.

At Parwana, we believe that even loss and suffering can forge beauty and generosity. It is in this spirit that diners at Parwana are welcomed like guests into a home, and treated to the culinary pleasures of age-old secrets of traditional Afghan cuisine – a cuisine which encapsulates the often forgotten aspects of interconnection that shape the human story.

(Quote from home page on Parwana’s restaurant website.)

When you read the Ayubi family’s story you will feel the passion that they share for food, family, and friends, and tradition. Be warned, you may fall in love with them as I have. Get to know them a little better in our Quick Bites article below. Durkhanai Ayubi and her mother Farida are an inspiration; taking a glimpse into their world makes me want to be a better cook, a better host, and most importantly a better person.

Our EYBDPreviewButton takes you inside this beautiful book and features the following EYBD Recipe Button


My name is Durkhanai Ayubi, and my mother is Farida Ayubi. For this post, I’ve also asked my mum the same questions and included her answers here, in the same spirit of working together on our book.

The beautiful Farida Ayubi. Photo from

I was born in Afghanistan, and my family migrated to Australia in 1985 at the height of the Cold War in Afghanistan. I finished university with a degree in Chemistry, and I have worked as a policy analyst as well as served on a number of boards, including Writers Victoria, Migrant Resource Centre and the Melbourne University Social Equity Institute. These days, my day to day involves working across our family restaurants, Parwana, while also writing various pieces that relate to challenging the confinements set by dominant narratives, to surface a more boundless vision of ourselves. I am a Fellow of the Atlantic Fellowship – a Fellowship based out of Oxford in the UK – which focuses on global issues of social equity.

My mother Farida was born in Afghanistan and worked there as a primary school teacher. She has five daughters, and a love for food, literature, and poetry. After moving to Australia, she stayed connected to traditional Afghan culture and her own ancestral ways through recipes passed down to her from her own foremothers and forefathers. What started as catering for events within the community, eventually evolved into the opening of Parwana – with a vision to share traditional Afghan cuisine with those in our new home in Adelaide, while preserving and staying tethered to our own history and memories. Her days are filled with cooking and serving food at Parwana.

Q: What first triggered your interest in cooking? Your first cooking memory?

A: I’ll start with mum. She recalls having a love for cooking from a very young age – a natural inclination towards it. She says it runs in her blood – both her own mother and father loved cooking and were naturally talented. Her mother passed away when she and her other siblings were all quite young, and they were raised by their father. He encouraged them to follow their passions, and for my mum, this meant being surrounded by many others preparing food and absorbing recipes and techniques of traditional Afghan cuisine. This was a love that remained within her and continued to grow throughout her life. Some of her earliest memories of cooking are when she was four or five and would try to make halwah – a traditional sweet, made to commemorate auspicious occasions, that requires extensive stirring to create a texture that is the right mix of sticky and grainy. She would tip into a big pot all the ingredients she could find, and stir and stir, and then hide the pot overnight hoping it would miraculously turn into halwah.

By the time we moved to Australia (when I was just two), my earliest memories of cooking are all communal. Most of the rituals surrounding Afghan cuisine involves preparing food alongside others. This included helping my mum make shaami kebab (a type of rolled up kebab with a soft interior, and a delicate crispy shell) with hand-cut potato chips for our birthday parties when we were kids. I also have strong memories of making dumpling dishes all together – which includes making the dough, rolling it out, filling the dumplings, and folding them intricately. I still remember a satisfying sense of achievement when I first managed to fold my mantu right! My interest in cooking stems from, like my mum, always being surrounded by it. For us, as migrants to Australia, food became many things – a space of communality, a cultural tether, a way to invite others into our history, and a way to contribute to the multiplicity of narratives that our societies should reflect.

Q: If you had to describe your cooking style, what would it be?

A: My mum describes her cooking style as traditional and reflective of the ingredients and techniques embedded in Afghan cuisine. Such traditional cooking is often intuitive and depends on looking, listening, and tasting, rather than on strict measurements for ingredients or set cooking times.

I would describe my cooking style as the same – traditional and very much mainly rooted in my own ancestral heritage and what my mother and others in the family have taught me – but also fused with the influence of having been raised in Australia, and having ready access to the numerous traditional cuisines so generously on offer by migrant and diaspora communities who have settled here. An added influence on my cooking comes from my husband, who is English, a wonderful cook himself (luckily for me!) and who has spent time living and travelling in Europe and particularly in Spain, where he picked up techniques that enhance his own cooking. At our house, these elements and styles often all combine together, to make for a culturally intertwined feast.

Q: Are you a cookbook collector? If so, tell us about your collection and what you look for in a cookbook.

A: Yes, we both love cookbooks. My mum has some old traditional books and also loves to collect books capturing cuisines from all over the world. She is drawn to these cookbooks because they help her expand her own knowledge, and to draw on similarities and differences with her own cooking style. One of her favourite genres is Middle Eastern cuisine, particularly Lebanese.

One of my own favourite books is called With Our Own Hands by Jamila Haider and Frederik van Oudenhoven. It is beautiful and captures the rituals and ingredients surrounding food in remote parts of Afghanistan, including high in its mountainous regions. It shows how so much of food and the rituals surrounding it is shaped by geography and depends upon the passing down of knowledge from one generation to the next.

A peek at one of their cookbook shelves.

Q: What is the best part of your job? Do you sometimes feel like working with food all day keeps you from wanting to get creative in the kitchen?

A: My mum says that the best part of her job is being able to spend her days doing something she loves (cooking!) while also being able to share the cuisine that means so much to her with all those who come in to dine – often many who are trying Afghan food for the first time. It is a simultaneous act of preservation and proliferation. Because she loves cooking and feels encouraged by the idea that others are enjoying her food, she feels energised, rather than depleted, and committed to continuing to evolve the menu offerings and her own knowledge of food.

For me, despite working with food so often, every day’s preparation feels like a fresh challenge. It feels meditative and like a privilege to work with beautiful produce and ingredients and to prepare pots of rice or trays of dumplings for the day’s service. I feel as though I still have a lot to learn from my mum about our own traditional cuisine – including about the ancient uses of native ingredients, spices and teas for their medicinal and restorative properties. There is so much scope for extension and creativity with cuisine and food, that it feels expansive.

Q: What is your go-to for a quick dinner?

A: My mum’s favourite go to for a quick dinner is a fried potato dish – she’ll dice some potatoes and fry them with the skin on, with some chili, spring onion, and garlic and serve them with a green leafy salad and naan.

For me, I’ll take some Afghan flat breads, baste them with a garlic-infused olive oil, place some seasonal toppings on them – like artichoke, spinach or shallots – add some chunks of buffalo mozzarella cheese, and bake them in the oven until golden. Once ready, I’ll top them with fresh herbs and toasted nuts to serve. It’s so versatile, and you can add as many or as few toppings as you please, or whatever vegetable you might really feel like eating that day – and it’s always so moreish.

Q: What projects are you working on?

A: As a family, we continue to be busy across the restaurants. For me, I am continuing to write (, and to work on projects with others around the globe, particularly with a focus on narratives and how they shape our world, as well as looking at how we recontextualise the issue of the mass displacement of people within our global conversations (

Special thanks to Interlink for offering two copies of this title to our members in the US, and to Murdoch Books for offering two copies to our UK/AU members with Eat Your Books providing one additional copy worldwide. Entry options include answering the following questions in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index of this title would you make first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won’t be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post and this forum post. Once you log in and enter your member name you will be directed to the next entry option – the blog comment. After that, there are additional options that you can complete for more entries. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on April 18th, 2021.

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  • miggsy  on  November 18, 2020

    Pumpkin halwah

  • Kerreydp  on  November 18, 2020

    This book has been on my wishlist. I’d love to try Sticky rice with lamb!

  • cbrowne  on  November 18, 2020

    The Maashawah looks awesome, I’d try that first!

  • sipa  on  November 18, 2020

    Potato curry

  • mduncan  on  November 18, 2020

    Potato curry (Qormeh kachaloo)

  • garethm  on  November 18, 2020

    Stuffed flatbreads – probably with the potato stuffing

  • mattiwilson  on  November 18, 2020

    Homemade yogurt (Maasteh khanagi). Like to start off simple with some of the little sides/condiments that will make the main dishes glow when I make them. And some Sticky rice with mung beans (Kichiri qoroot) to kick off the meals

  • sarahawker  on  November 18, 2020

    Boiled chive dumplings: lamb (Ashak 1)

  • jd5761  on  November 18, 2020

    Potato Curry for me

  • dbranigan27  on  November 18, 2020

    I would try the Shaami kebab.

  • DarcyVaughn  on  November 18, 2020

    Braised pumpkin with yogurt dressing (Kadoo borani)

  • matag  on  November 18, 2020

    Naan flatbread

  • Nidhib  on  November 18, 2020

    Pumpkin Halwah!

  • monasli  on  November 19, 2020

    Orange rind rice.

  • Sanyo12  on  November 19, 2020

    Lamb kofta sauce

  • hbakke  on  November 19, 2020

    Almond cookies (Kulcheh badami)

  • Julia28  on  November 19, 2020

    Lamb skewers

  • Trentinla  on  November 19, 2020

    Spinach and lamb curry

  • calguire  on  November 19, 2020

    Braised eggplant with yogurt dressing (Banjaan borani)

  • Siegal  on  November 19, 2020

    Semolina halwah

  • nvernon  on  November 19, 2020

    Orange rind rice (Narenj palaw)

  • Shelmar  on  November 20, 2020

    Smoked eggplant dip

  • xmasfloweringcactus  on  November 20, 2020

    Love to cook Bolani first – and follow up with all the variations on stuffing the bread.

  • rlmolnar  on  November 20, 2020

    The lamb steamed dumplings.

  • readingtragic  on  November 20, 2020

    Mantu, because who doesn’t love dumplings?

  • agreaves19  on  November 21, 2020

    Potato curry

  • Plumbobmummy  on  November 21, 2020

    I’d make pumpkin flatbread stuffing

  • Breeze81  on  November 21, 2020

    Braised pumpkin with yogurt dressing (Kadoo borani)

  • youngsvnnhrs  on  November 21, 2020

    Sticky rice with lamb (Sholeh goshti)

  • Sbst  on  November 21, 2020

    Orange rind rice (Narenj palaw)

  • Dendav  on  November 21, 2020

    Almond Cookies

  • maci234  on  November 21, 2020

    Potato curry

  • ravensfan  on  November 21, 2020

    Steamed dumplings: lamb (Mantu 1)

  • MarciK  on  November 21, 2020

    Meatball curry with rice (Kofta challaw)

  • tapeitzman  on  November 21, 2020

    Any of the bolani recipes!!

  • kati1225  on  November 22, 2020

    Dobos Torta !!

  • southerncooker  on  November 23, 2020

    Metball curry with rice

  • Laura1  on  November 23, 2020

    Orange rind rice

  • eildoncook  on  November 23, 2020

    Sticky rice with lamb (Sholeh goshti)

  • Roosta  on  November 23, 2020

    Afghan breakfast eggs (Tokhme banjanromi)

  • sequoia55  on  November 24, 2020

    Naan flatbread

  • foodie16  on  November 24, 2020

    Reshtah palaw. I am very familiar with the Persian version of this which is Reshteh Polo. I would very much like to try this, does it contain minced lamb? sultanas?

  • akrupnick  on  November 24, 2020

    Anything with pumpkin and Orange rind rice

  • PeavineBlues  on  November 24, 2020

    Qormah e Sabzi

  • MeerkatSilverleaf  on  November 24, 2020

    Turmeric and yogurt braised chicken

  • JZ89  on  November 25, 2020

    Pumpkin Halwah! Perfect this time of the year

  • BatshevaR  on  November 25, 2020

    Braised eggplant with yogurt dressing. I love eggplant!

  • fbrunetti  on  November 25, 2020

    Lamb kofta sauce

  • JessHeilman  on  November 26, 2020

    Potato curry!!

  • LeMinou  on  November 27, 2020

    Pumpkin halwah

  • Mayandbill  on  November 27, 2020

    Meatball curry and rice. Can never have too many meatball recipes!

  • RSW  on  November 27, 2020

    Boiled chive dumplings: vegetarian tomato (Ashak 2)

  • LaurenE  on  November 27, 2020

    Potato curry

  • hrk  on  November 27, 2020

    Salted Afghan cookies (Kulcheh shor)

  • JenThomas318  on  November 27, 2020

    Rose and pistachio ice cream (Shir yakheh gulab)

  • LauraAbenes  on  November 28, 2020

    This book looks beautiful! I would love to try the orange rice recipe. I hope that there are some recipes of the Afghan food we have had at one of our favorite restaurants in Baltimore, The Helmund. There is a dish that I have every time we go, a leek filled dumpling which might be similar to the Ashak in the index.

  • ruthdenton  on  November 29, 2020

    stuffed flatbreads

  • HomespunHouse  on  November 29, 2020

    Potato flatbread stuffing

  • ChicagoJen  on  November 29, 2020

    Stuffed flatbread

  • RuthHarwood  on  December 1, 2020

    Potato Curry sounds good xx

  • Mtetpon  on  December 1, 2020

    potato curry

  • ImCookingIt  on  December 2, 2020

    Boiled chive dumplings: vegetarian tomato (Ashak 2)
    I’ve had ashak – I love it!

  • lpatterson412  on  December 2, 2020


  • vhfvhf  on  December 2, 2020

    Orange rind rice (Narenj palaw)

  • ljsimmons  on  December 4, 2020

    Spinach and lamb curry (Sabzi)

  • antpantsii  on  December 4, 2020

    The steamed dumplings- lamb
    Mantu 1

  • gilmonster  on  December 4, 2020

    potato curry

  • Dannausc  on  December 5, 2020

    Crispy fried fish

  • Steben  on  December 5, 2020

    Potato curry!

  • TammyDee  on  December 6, 2020

    I’d try the Jelabi first. It’s sweet and fried, so it must be good!

  • RickPearson54  on  December 7, 2020

    pumpkin halwah

  • estey  on  December 9, 2020

    braised pumpkin with yogurt dressing

  • kmn4  on  December 9, 2020

    Milk custard (Firni)

  • jinni  on  December 12, 2020

    Bolani—all kinds. Pumpkin first, then chicken.

  • t.t  on  December 12, 2020

    Yogurt-braised lamb (Gosfand lawang)

  • oreganoca  on  December 12, 2020

    Spinach and Lamb Curry

  • NaomiH  on  December 14, 2020

    Stuffed flatbread (Bolani)

  • michalow  on  December 15, 2020

    The braised pumpkin with yogurt dressing for sure!

  • Luro496  on  December 16, 2020

    almond cookies!!!

  • Elena Rose  on  December 18, 2020

    steamed lamb dumblings

  • Pizzacat13  on  December 19, 2020

    I love pickling, so I would try the Pickled Vegetables.

  • Ren23  on  December 20, 2020

    Stuffed flatbreads

  • Emwitting  on  December 20, 2020

    Banjaan borani… oh wait I just started salivating at the first one I saw, I love Afghan food but it’s one type of cooking I don’t really know how to do yet- any of the recipes sound delicious looking at the rest of the list!

  • v.t  on  December 22, 2020

    Turmeric and yogurt-braised chicken (Morgh lawang)

  • SalBakes10  on  December 23, 2020

    Pumpkin flatbread stuffing (Kadoo bolani filling)

  • choppergirl  on  December 24, 2020

    Spinach and Lamb Curry

  • ceejayen  on  December 27, 2020

    Crispy fried fish (Mahee)

  • clairew137  on  December 27, 2020

    Potato curry

  • moralla  on  December 27, 2020

    Braised eggplant with yogurt dressing

  • Kduncan  on  December 28, 2020

    Lamb curry (Qormeh gosfand)

  • dzm  on  December 29, 2020

    naan flatbread

  • Natlovesgib  on  December 29, 2020

    Sticky rice with lamb (Sholeh goshti)

  • CatsintheKitchen  on  December 30, 2020

    okra curry

  • michelle666  on  January 3, 2021

    Potato curry

  • Gneissspice  on  January 3, 2021

    Fried cardamom cookies!!

  • jessamybride  on  January 4, 2021

    I will be making the Potato curry (Qormeh kachaloo)

  • maggz19671  on  January 4, 2021

    Potato curry

  • beckwalks  on  January 4, 2021

    pumpkin halwah

  • debra24  on  January 5, 2021

    Potato Curry looks nice

  • pixelwife  on  January 5, 2021

    Red chili chutney (Chutney morcheh sorkh)

  • Tutu81  on  January 5, 2021

    The Almond Cookies

  • Sand9  on  January 5, 2021


  • Welsh1  on  January 6, 2021

    Lamb kebab

  • laurencooks  on  January 7, 2021

    Fried cardamom cookies (Khajoor)

  • Saffie  on  January 8, 2021

    Sweet bread (Roht) looks good

  • banba1  on  January 8, 2021

    Afghan breakfast eggs (Tokhme banjanromi)

  • friendlyperson  on  January 8, 2021

    Mung bean soup (Maashawah). Dry ingredients easy to come by in the pantry.

  • friendlyperson  on  January 8, 2021

    Mung bean soup (Maashawah). All delicious recipes and many well suited to gluten free living.

  • CapeCodCook  on  January 8, 2021

    I want to try the homemade yogurt

  • Hedgehog101  on  January 9, 2021

    Cookies for Nowroz

  • Laura1419  on  January 9, 2021

    I would like to make the four spices recipe first

  • shahedc  on  January 10, 2021

    Braised eggplant with yogurt dressing

  • aesop57  on  January 10, 2021

    Lamb kebab

  • elisabeta  on  January 10, 2021

    Potato curry

  • MrRichTea  on  January 10, 2021

    Almond Cookies

  • silversand  on  January 11, 2021

    Braised eggplant with yogurt dressing (Banjaan borani)

  • Ishtar  on  January 12, 2021

    Yogurt-braised lamb (Gosfand lawang)

  • bookmark77  on  January 13, 2021

    Potato curry

  • bookmark58  on  January 13, 2021

    lamb steamed dumplings

  • Munchkinnerd3  on  January 14, 2021

    Potato curry!

  • libcmr  on  January 14, 2021

    I think the Potato curry

  • Dhasenkampf  on  January 14, 2021

    Afghan milk fudge.

  • fionajk42  on  January 16, 2021

    smoked ceggplant dip and one of the rice pillaws

  • Shelley.b  on  January 16, 2021

    Cookies for nowroz

  • Jellyfish  on  January 17, 2021

    “Seven fruits” (Haft mewa)

  • Warchild26  on  January 18, 2021

    Lamb kofta sauce

  • Etrnalhope  on  January 19, 2021

    Turnip and lamb curry with rice. I am always trying to figure out how to use turnips that come in my CSA veggie share.

  • DimensionAEB  on  January 20, 2021

    Smoked eggplant dip

  • Caadamson  on  January 20, 2021

    Potato curry for me, i think I could live off that

  • PatBarrett  on  January 20, 2021

    Spinach and lamb curry

  • jrhymer  on  January 21, 2021

    Sticky rice with lamb sounds amazing x

  • Dessallara  on  January 21, 2021

    Stuffed flatbreads

  • andyszym  on  January 22, 2021

    Okra curry (Baamiyah)

  • et12  on  January 22, 2021

    meatball curry with rice

  • Isis1981uk  on  January 23, 2021

    Steamed dumplings: lamb

  • angiemac18  on  January 23, 2021

    rose & pistachio ice cream

  • linmulholland  on  January 23, 2021

    Salted Afghan cookies (Kulcheh shor)!

  • sheridarby  on  January 23, 2021

    Spinach and lamb curry

  • Carolyn99  on  January 23, 2021

    Walnut Cookies

  • lcorrall88  on  January 23, 2021

    I’d love to make the sticky rice with lamb (Sholeh goshti)

  • orchidlady01  on  January 23, 2021

    Pumpkin halwah (Halwah-eh kadoo)

  • GeorgeWW  on  January 24, 2021

    Steamed dumplings: vegetarian tomato

  • Twiddle  on  January 24, 2021

    Potato Curry as I love potatoes

  • pamelajosie  on  January 25, 2021

    Wish we could have visited this restaurant whilst in Adelaide, but we had a delicious meal in the takeaway branch. I’d like to make the filled flatbreads first.

  • iab  on  January 26, 2021

    mantu dumplings

  • martymarty  on  January 28, 2021

    all dumplings, but especially Steamed dumplings: lamb (Mantu 1), since I only tried lamb once

  • Uiiok  on  February 5, 2021

    Spinach and lamb curry (Sabzi) and Boiled chive dumplings: lamb

  • steelfixer1  on  February 7, 2021

    I would try the Shaami kebab.

  • acecil  on  February 7, 2021

    all the bolani!

  • Cjennings  on  February 8, 2021

    Sweet Bread

  • LEKcookbooks  on  February 8, 2021

    Lamb kofta sauce–yum!

  • Annaz  on  February 12, 2021

    Lamb kofta sauce

  • portkey  on  February 17, 2021

    Spinach and lamb curry

  • EmilyR  on  February 17, 2021

    Shaami kebab

  • Leonard5854  on  February 19, 2021

    Fried cardamom cookies (Khajoor)

  • luccio  on  February 20, 2021

    Dhal – I’ve been meaning to try this for ages…

  • Karla123  on  February 22, 2021

    Cauliflower curry (Golpi)

  • kennethjohngilmour  on  February 22, 2021

    stuffed fried pastries (Sambosa) found on page 214

  • choromae1  on  February 22, 2021

    Braised eggplant

  • Arinelle  on  February 23, 2021

    Afghan-style salad

  • sarahteertzah  on  February 25, 2021

    Afghan milk fudge (Shirpera)

  • aligiraffe  on  February 25, 2021

    Steamed dumplings: vegetarian tomato (Mantu 2)

  • KitKatCat  on  February 26, 2021

    Potato curry

  • nyserge  on  March 2, 2021

    Orange rind rice (Narenj palaw)

  • iza27  on  March 5, 2021

    lamb kebab

  • avonleajules  on  March 19, 2021

    Smoked eggplant dip, yum!

  • Jwalker5  on  March 24, 2021

    Meatball curry with rice

  • DNAYAR  on  March 25, 2021


  • Aminata95  on  March 29, 2021

    Pumpkin halwah

  • PBandC  on  April 1, 2021

    sticky rice with lamb

  • maria411  on  April 3, 2021

    steamed dumplings with lamb

  • monique.potel  on  April 6, 2021

    lamb kofta sauce

  • jecouch  on  April 17, 2021

    Mung bean soup sounds lush!

  • JoRaffe  on  April 18, 2021

    Almond cookies

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