Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Afghan Scallion Dumplings

I found this recipe not too long ago and it caught my eye because of its flavor profile. This dish, Aushak, is originally from Afghanistan. Considering that Afghanistan borders Uzbekistan, which is where my family is from, it used ingredients common to my household. However it also had a bit of an Indian feel to it by pairing the slightly spicy scallion dumpling with a cool and refreshing yogurt sauce.

It took me two hours from start to finish to make everything by myself, including prep time and cook time. Of course to simplify things the meat sauce can be prepared ahead of time and the dumplings can be refrigerated until ready to cook.

I really liked the taste of the dumplings and I thought it was interesting considering I have never had scallions be the center of point of a dish. Usually it is used as some sort of garnish with the protein being the star, however in this dish it was the other way around. My mom in particular loved the dish and helped herself to a second serving.

Afghan Scallion Dumplings

For the meat sauce:
Note: My "meat sauce" didn't turn out very sauce like but rather more like a thick consistency. I didn't have a problem with that but to make it more "saucy" extra water can be added.

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • ½-1 cup water (I used tomato juice to give even more flavor)
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste 
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and then saute the onions until golden brown. Set aside.
  2. Using the same skillet, cook the ground beef until no longer pink.
  3. Add the cooked onions back to the pan as well as the garlic, ginger, and coriander. Mix well to incorporate.
  4. Pour the water into the pan (use more if wanting thinner sauce) and reduce the heat to low. Allow the sauce to simmer for 5-10 minutes or until it is your desired thickness. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
For the dumplings:
Note: I was able to make 30 dumplings but it depends on the size of the wonton wrappers.
  • 2 bunches green onions, chopped (green parts only)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 25-30 wonton wrappers
  1. Combine all of the ingredients for the filling and mix well.
  2. Place one tablespoon of the scallion mixture onto the center of a wonton wrapper. 
  3. Use your finger to gently brush the edges of the wonton wrapper with water. Fold the wrapper in half, from corner to corner, creating a triangle shape. 
  4. Press around the filling to get rid of any air bubbles and seal the edges by pressing them together. If desired, the two outer corners can also be brought together into the center and sealed with a bit of water.
  5. Repeat with the remaining wonton wrappers and filling.
For the yogurt sauce:
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 2-3 sprigs dill, finely chopped
Combine all of the ingredients together and set aside.

To Assemble:
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the dumplings to the pot and cook for five minutes, or until they are all floating at the surface and the water comes back to a boil.
  2. Use a slotted spoon to remove the dumplings carefully from the pot and allow them to finish draining in a colander.
  3. Spoon half of the yogurt sauce onto the bottom of a large shallow dish. Place dumplings on top and then the meat sauce around the sides. Pour additional yogurt sauce on top of the dumplings.

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