Friday, May 25, 2012

Around the World: Afghan Dumplings (Aushak)

This dish, which I ended up serving as a side, due to timing, was the star of the night!  I had bought the ground lamb for this dish a couple of days earlier when I was doing the weekly grocery shopping.  My husband had taken the kids to the park and then to the grocery store to get stuff for the Mother's Day dinner he was cooking for me.  When I was getting this dish ready and pulled the lamb out of the fridge it had this grayish brown color and smelled rancid.  My huband pulled into the driveway when I had to send him back out to the store to exchange the lamb.  Finally the dish was finished! This was different than most dumplings in that it was only filled with sauteed scallions.  It was then topped with a yogurt sauce and ground lamb. Can I tell you how much we all enjoyed this?!  I started the kids with one each.  They both asked for seconds.  Then my daughter asked for thirds.  I think I cut her off when she asked for fourths!  I didn't realize how much my daughter liked dumplings!  I have wontons leftover and definitely plan on making other types of dumplings in the near future!

Afghan Dumplings (Aushak) from Afghan Culture Unveiled

4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. ground lamb
1 cup tomato sauce
1 ½ tsp. paprika
1 ½ tsp. ground coriander
3 teaspoons Kosher salt, divided
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 lb. green onions, washed, stems removed
1 package won ton wrappers
1 tsp. vinegar
1 cup plain yogurt
½ teaspoon ground dried garlic

Saute the onion over medium heat in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil until tender and translucent. Add the garlic and sauté another minute. Add the lamb and sauté until cooked through, breaking it up. Add the tomato sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, the paprika, coriander and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring regularly for 20 minutes.

While the meat is cooking, finely chop the green onions. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat and add the green onions and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Turn heat to low and sauté until tender, 10 minutes.

To assemble the dumplings, fill a small bowl with water and put it at your work station. Set a won ton wrapper on your work surface and dip the tip of your finger in the water. Moisten the edges along two connecting sides of the wrapper. The water will serve as glue for the dumpling. Put about a teaspoon of green onions in the center of the wrapper. Fold the dough in half over the green onion in the shape of a triangle. Use the tip of your finger to firmly press the edges of the dough together to form a tight seal. Next, lift the two longest points of the triangle and press them together, creating a little circle over the dumpling. It will look like a fancy napkin fold.

While you are assembling the dumplings, bring a large pot of water to a gentle boil. Add the vinegar. Once all of the dumplings are done, immerse them in the water and boil according to directions on the won ton package (about 4 minutes). While the dumplings are boiling, quickly stir together the yogurt with the garlic and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt.
Gingerly scoop the cooked dumplings out of the water with a slotted spoon, a few at a time, and arrange on a large platter. Spoon the yogurt over the dumplings and the ground meat on top of that.

Family Rating:  2 thumbs up!

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