* Aushak – Afghan Ravioli

Posted on September 6th, 2008 by Linda. Filed under Afghan, Entree, Pasta, Vegetarian, Yogurt.


I first tasted Aushak at the Salang Pass restaurant in Fremont, a city where a lot of Afghan immigrants have settled. Aushak is proof that Marco Polo made his way through that part of the world (I mean through the Hindu Kush, not Fremont!) enroute back from China. Aushak is traditionally made with beef – it’s the Afghan version of ravioli with a meat sugo sauce, except that the Afghans use spices such as cardamon, sumac, coriander etc instead of herbs like oregano and basil.
I prefer the vegetarian version of Aushak, and instead of a flat dumpling, I make a “tortellini” shaped dumpling that can hold the sauce better.

Chef’s tip: In line with Mr. Polo’s “Chinese” influence, I recommend using wonton skin to make the dumplings. I think Marco Polo will agree.

Ingredients:

Tomato Sauce:
3 tablespoon Oil
1 yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon ginger, peeled, grated
1 Tablespoon cumin seeds
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
4 Cardamom pods, ripped opened but intact
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon sumac
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 ½ cups water

Yogurt sauce:
1 cup plain yogurt
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tablespoon fresh mint
1/4 teaspoon salt

Leek filling:
3 leeks (about 4 cups chopped)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup finely chopped cilantro

Ravioli:
48 pieces square wonton wrappers
Some mint, chiffonade

Preparing the tomato sauce:
1.    Heat oil in a pan set over medium heat.  Add chopped onions, and sauté until translucent about 3 minutes.  Add minced garlic, ginger and cumin and sauté, 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until seeds are browned and oil is fragrant.
2.    Add tomatoes,  cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cayenne, sumac, salt, pepper and water.
3.    Simmer gently over low heat until sauce is redued by half and is thick.  Keep warn until aushaks are ready to serve.
Preparing the yogurt sauce:
4.    Mix all the ingredients together and adjust seasoning to taste.
Preparing the ravioli:
5.    Cut off the dark green hard leaves from the leek. Keeping the roots to hold the leeks together, halve lengthwise.  Fan out the leeks and rinse under the faucet to remove sand.  Slice finely cross, wise, discard the root..
6.    Microwave leeks until soft, about 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
7.    Combine leeks with salt, cilantro and let it cool.
8.    Folding the dumplings: On a clean surface lightly dusted with cornstarch, brush edges of the wonton wrapper with a little water (just slightly damp).  Mound about 1 Tablespoon of the filling in the center of each wrapper.  Bring opposite corners together to make a triangle and press to seal, making sure to remove any air from the filling.  Make sure seams are well-sealed. Next bring the two corners along the long edge of the triangle to meet together and overlap them.  Press the two corners together to fuse them.  Place on a tray dusted with cornstarch.
9.    Bring a pot of water to boil.  Drop in about 12 dumplings in at a time, give it a stir so that the dumplings do not stick to the bottom.  Wait 2-3 minutes or until the dumplings float up.  Remove with a slotted spoon.
10.    Place dumplings in a plate, ladle over tomato sauce and drizzle with yogurt sauce.  Garnish with mint.
Serves 6


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2 Responses to “Aushak – Afghan Ravioli”

  1. morgan Says:

    in San Francisco, A La Turca has this as a special on Sundays. They fill the raviolis with lamb, and use a yogurt-butter-sumac sauce. It’s delicious!

  2. Linda Says:

    Thanks for the tip, Morgan! I have to check out A La Turca soon. Sumac would be a natural.

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