Just finished, and thoroughly enjoyed, Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl, editor of the now defunct Gourmet Magazine (sadly closing after 75 years in print). The account of her time as an undercover food critic at the New York Times is an entertaining and touching read, interspersed with restaurant reviews and a handful of recipes (Reichl started her culinary career as a chef).
One of the recipes that intrigued me was an Afghan dish called Aushak. I am not at all familiar with Afghan cuisine but being a dumpling junkie (gyoza, wontons, ravioli – I love them all), scallion dumplings served with meat sauce and garlic yoghurt sounded really good to me.
I adapted the original recipe slightly – cooking the scallions in the dumpling stuffing instead of leaving them raw as I prefer them tender rather than with a bite. This however greatly reduced the filling I had to work with (as the scallions collapse and decrease in volume when cooked) leaving me with 14 rather than the 25-30 dumplings the recipe stated.
It sounds unusual but we found it quite delicious, tasting vaguely like lasagne, with the yoghurt acting as a white sauce. One thing to note: the garlic yoghurt is pretty strong so if you’re not a fan then definitely reduce to 1 clove or omit it all together.
2 bunches scallions (salad onions), green parts only, finely chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp minced garlic
14 wonton wrappers
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
225g ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1/2 cup water
2 tbs tomato paste
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup full-fat yoghurt
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp salt
First, make the dumplings. Heat the vegetable oil in a pan and gently fry the scallions on a medium heat until tender. Combine the cooked scallions with all other dumpling ingredients in a small bowl.
Place 1 tsp of the mixture in center of each wrapper and moisten edges with water. Fold over and press edges to triangles. Set aside while you make the meat sauce.
Heat oil in small skillet. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes until golden. Add beef, garlic, coriander, and ginger and cook, stirring often, until meat is no longer red. Add water and cook, stirring often, until reduced by half, then add tomato paste, stir, and cook a few more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
While the meat sauce is cooking heat 3 litres of salted water in a large pot. Once boiling, add dumplings and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Blend the yoghurt sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
To serve, spoon 1/4 of the yogurt sauce onto a serving dish and cover with dumplings. Spoon meat sauce and remaining yogurt sauce on top. Serve immediately.