Afghanistan - Aushak
Updated: Jun 15, 2021
Yogurt dressed dumplings
Aneri's note: The media portrays Afghanistan as a war-torn destabilized region. But it also has a beautiful culture, with amazing textiles, warm and friendly people and some truly delicious food. A close friend of mine shared a story where she lost an expensive and meaningful ring while traveling and the Afghan staff turned the whole hotel apart until they found it. That’s some serious hospitality! I've never been to Afghanistan, but I can attest the food is excellent. I was first introduced to Afghan cuisine in Arlington, VA and was enthralled by the pumpkin and spinach dishes and the super long naan (not to be confused with Punjabi naan)!
Difficulty level (1-10): 7
Aushak is a traditional vegetarian dumpling dish that hails from Afghanistan. Think of it like a yogurt-based ravioli. This dish is served either with or without a meat sauce. You could prepare this dish vegan if using a vegan-based yogurt at home, but you would not find this traveling in Afghanistan.
Dumplings: Wonton wrappers - 1 package Leeks - 3 large trimmed and chopped into thin half-moons (wash well!) Garlic - 3 cloves, minced Scallions - 1 bunch, trimmed and sliced into thin rounds Vinegar - 1 tsp 1 small dry red chili Olive oil - 2 TB Yogurt sauce: Yogurt - 1 cup whole milk plain or greek Mint - fresh or dried (3 TB) Garlic - 1 clove, minced
Recipe: 1. Mix yogurt, mint, and garlic in a bowl and set aside. Add salt and pepper to taste. 2. In a skillet, heat up your preferred cooking oil on medium heat. Add 1 TB of minced garlic, 1 crushed red chili, onions, and the leeks. Cook stirring frequently until soft and buttery, not mushy. Add salt. 3. Arrange the wrappers and spoon a little of the leek mixture into each one. Wet the edges lightly with water and fold the wrapper in half to enclose the filling. Press out any air pockets and push down on edges to seal with your fingers. 4. Add 1 tsp of vinegar to a large pot of water. Bring to a boil. Gingerly add each dumpling. 5. Carefully spoon out each dumpling when they rise to the top looking glassy. Add to a colander and pat dry with a towel. 6. Pour yogurt mixture over the dumplings and enjoy!
This recipe version was influenced by NYTimes Cooking, Food52, and LORE
Want more Afghan delights? Check out my other recommendations:
Kaddo - Afghan pumpkin curry dish by Joy Huang
Sabzi - Afghan spinach dish by Katie
Bolani - Stuffed Afghan bread (spinach, potato, lentils, etc!) by Anita