Aushak

aushakYesterday I harvested a couple dozen scallions to make room in the garden for some late-season spinach. These Afghan scallion dumplings seemed like the perfect way to put them to good use. The only problem was that the gluten-free dumplings I made would not hold together. So, I just mixed the scallions into the dough, formed small balls, and boiled them. It worked surprisingly well but in this recipe I assume that you are using store-bought gyoza or wonton wrappers. (Sometimes it is possible to take homemade a bit too far!) Aushak are traditionally served with garlic yoghurt and a meat sauce so I have included those in the recipe. Make the yoghurt first so that it has time for the flavors to blend then prepare the meat sauce, keeping it warm until service. Boil the dumplings at the very end so that they are nice and warm when you serve them.

Serve 2

Yoghurt Sauce

Ingredients

  • ½ cup plain yoghurt, I use low-fat
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic, or to taste

Method

Put the yoghurt into a cheesecloth-line strainer over a bowl for about 30 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and mix in the garlic. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Meat Sauce

Ingredients

  • Cooking oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ pound ground beef (or lamb)
  • Cayenne to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ cup water
  • Salt to taste

Method

Film a skillet with oil and cook the onion over medium heat until golden brown, about 5 or 6 minutes. Crumble in the ground meat and brown it, another 2 minutes or so. Sprinkle over the spices and add the water. Continue to cook until the water is nearly evaporated. Taste and season with salt. Set aside and keep warm.

Dumplings

Ingredients

  • About 2 dozen scallions, about ¼ pound
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 6 fresh mint leaves plus small sprigs for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 10 to 12 round gyoza skins or (square) wonton wrappers

Method

Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil.

Cut off the white portion of the scallions and save them for another use. Chop the green tops coarsely and put into a food processor along with the peeled garlic and the mint leaves. Process until nicely chopped. Mix in the oil and season to taste with salt.

If using wonton wrappers, use a glass or round cooking cutter to cut them into circles. Put a portion of the scallion mixture on each dumpling wrapper, moisten the edge with your finger, fold over, and crimp to seal. (If you have any of the scallion mix left over just stir it into the meat sauce.)

Drop the dumplings one by one into the boiling water and cook until they float to the surface and are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon directly to serving plates.

Finishing the Dish

Divide one half of the yoghurt sauce among the plates and spread into a circle. Arrange the dumplings on that circle and top with the rest of the yoghurt sauce. Spoon on the meat sauce, garnish a sprig of mint, and serve immediately.

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