Aushak

Dinner last night was neither Jewish, nor Israeli, but it does have it origins in the Middle East, Afghanistan specifically, so no doubt Jews have eaten it before we did last night. In fact, I hear there is at least one Jew left who has not been driven out of Afghanistan. I’m sure, if you ask nicely, Gordon can give you a complete history of Jews in Afganistan.  I personally had this dish in a restaurant several years ago and really enjoyed it, so when I came across a recipe for it in Ruth Reichl’s Garlic and Sapphires, I decided to make it for myself. BTW- I highly recommend Reichl’s book as it is a facinating story of how a nice Jewish girl became the most powerful woman in the food world, when she was the New York Times Restaurant Critic. Now onto the meal…

Garlic and Yogurt (I couldn't afford sapphires)

Garlic and Yogurt (I couldn't afford sapphires)

Adapted from Ruth Reichl’s Garlic and Sapphires

Meat Sauce

3 tbs vegetable oil
1 finely chopped onion
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 clove finely minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in a saucepan and add onions. Cook, stirring, until golden brown. Add meat and cook, chopping down with edge of a heavy metal spoon, until meat loses raw look. Add the water and continue cooking, stirring often, until liquid is reduced by about half.

2. Stir in tomato paste. Continue cooking about 5 minutes and add garlic. Cook, stirring often, about 5 minutes more or until reduced to about 2 cups. Add salt and pepper. Keep hot until ready to use.

Yogurt Sauce

1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
Salt to taste

1. Blend all ingredients and chill.

Dumplings

1 bunch scallions
2 leeks
Salt to taste if desired
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon driedred pepper flakes
1/2 package round, wonton (gyoza) wrappers
yogurt and garlic sauce
meat sauce

1. Cut off white portion of scallions and leeks . Chop green tops finely; there should be about 2 cups. Put in a bowl.

2. Add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes. Blend well.

3. Lay out dumpling skins, one at a time, on a flat surface. Rub perimeter of each with water. Spoon equal portions of scallion mixture in center of each and fold over skins in a half-moon shape. Press to seal.

4. Bring about three quarts water to a boil in a kettle and add salt to taste. Add filled dumplings and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain thoroughly.

5. Spoon about 1/4 cup of yogurt and garlic sauce over bottom of a serving dish. Cover with a layer of hot dumplings. Spoon remaining yogurt sauce over dumplings. Sprinkle with mint. Spoon hot meat sauce over all and serve immediately.

aushak 011

assembling the dumplings

I doubled the sauce, since we like sauce around here. The dumplings ended up being a bit of a strange consistency due to the wonton wrappers. I think a more substantial dough would have been a better compliment to the stuffing. The sauce was also good and the yogurt made a nice creamy companion, but it just didn’t live up to the restaurant version. Given the labor involved, this is one I think I will leave to the pros.
aushak 026
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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Aushak

  1. sharon o'brien

    They cook up a pretty good version of this dish at the Oasis restaurant in Pleasanton, Ca.

  2. Pingback: Crab Cheese Wontons (Crab Rangoon) «

  3. Kate

    If you’re looking for a more authentic version, use leeks instead of the onions (they look like huge green onions – should be easy to find in the grocery store) and add mint to the yogurt sauce. Also, you can make your own dough by mixing a pinch of salt into 2 c flour and adding water until the dough forms a ball. then roll it as thin as you can (if you have a pasta maker, that works great) and cutting small rectangles or circles. Stuff as directed in the above receipe. One of my favorites!

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