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…
Adapted from Ruth Reichl’s Garlic and Sapphires
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.
1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
Salt to taste
1. Blend all ingredients and chill.
1 bunch scallions
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
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.