Sometimes you find a dish that turns a thing you've eaten a 100 times on its head. If you haven't had Aushak, they may do that. These Afghani scallion dumplings contain no cheese or meat, but vegetables — green onions — as a previously uncooked filling.
I first ate Aushak around 2000 in an Afghani restaurant in Huntington on Long Island called Ariana, and have since had other renditions, including at Helmand in Cambridge (the Afghani restaurant belonging to Mahmood Karzai, the brother of Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai), but there's no reason you can't make these. From filling and sauce to plate it'll take about an hour to make enough for two people.
This recipe combines the best aspects from recipes by Ruth Reichl, Craig Claiborne, and Food.com. And yes, I hear you, "A dumpling isn't pasta! And hey, you're using wonton wrappers!" Well, technically, it's a ravioli. And as for wonton wrappers, they're a quick, easy replacement that give dishes a homemade pasta feel when you're in a rush.
For the sauce:
- ¼ stick butter
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 onions, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound of ground beef
- 2 ½ teaspoons fresh ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
- 2 cups water
- 5 tablespoons tomato paste
For dumplings and filling:
- 1 leek, well cleaned, halved, chiffonade
- 1 bunch green onions, chiffonade (reserve some for garnish)
- 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced or pressed
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper
- 1 package of wonton wrappers
- Container of yogurt, for garnish
For the sauce:
Get the meat sauce going first. Melt butter, add bay leaf, sauté onions, shallot, then garlic. Add beef, breaking it up. When it starts to cook through break it up in smaller bits. Add freshly ground coriander, minced ginger and let it simmer a few minutes. Add a cup of water and the tomato paste then reduce to low heat, adding water as needed when dumplings are ready.
For the dumplings and filling:
Put on a pot of water to cook your dumplings. Clean and chiffonade the leeks and green onions. Reserve some green onions for garnish and combine the rest in a bowl with minced jalapeño, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
To assemble, lay out the wonton sheets. Brush a little warm water around edges of each wrapper, portion out a teaspoon of filling per dumpling and then place another wrapper on top of each, excluding as much air as possible as you pressing tightly to seal. Salt water when it's boiling then gently drop in dumplings.
Cook for about 1-2 minutes each and then remove, and drain. Plate a light bed of sauce then lay 2 or 3 dumplings on top. Dress with sauce. Season yogurt with salt and pepper, place a dollop or quenelle in plate's center, garnish with green onions, and eat.