Lahndi (food)

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Lahndi, also known as dried meat with skin, is a winter food popular in all area of Afghanistan and Tribes. Consumption of lahndi is common during the winter months. Sheep are specially fattened so that their flesh may be more suitable for preparing lahndi. Animal is slaughtered, scalded in boiling water and all wool/hairs is removed. Remaining hair is singed. Clay is used to remove soot from singeing and scraped clean with a knife’s edge. Finally the carcass is washed and cleaned. The animal carcass is deboned skillfully to keep the skin intact. Libral amount of salt is applied to the meat and the moisture that leaves the meat is drained daily. After 3-5 days the meat is hanged to dry. Once dries it’s cooked into a soup and served either as pilaf or as soup wing bread. This method to preserve meat was developed over centuries when refrigeration was not invented and cold winters posed a threat for livestock.


Lahndi is usually prepared from lamb and sheep, although it can also be made from beef. It is prepared as follows. First a lamb or sheep is slaughtered in the Islamic way, i.e., halal. Then the wool is separated in a proper and skilled way, leaving only the skin.[1] After that, the remaining hairs on the skin are burned away with fire, after which the meat is wiped to get rid of the carbon deposits. Then the meat is cut into smaller pieces and rubbed with salt to prevent bacteria. It is also rubbed with pungent-smelling asafoetida, which is a little like garlic and serves as a preservative, a much-needed additive in a part of the world where electricity and refrigerators are rare.[2] Having been thus prepared, the meat is strung on lahndi poles (tall poles with crosspieces which stand outside most Afghan mud-houses and serve as winter larders).

The best time to prepare lahndi is December, when the meat dries out within fifteen days if it is cold enough. It is commonly eaten in winter to keep a person warm and help him face the extreme weather.

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