Afghan Dumplings with Lamb Kofta and Yogurt Sauce

By • April 5, 2011 • 67 Comments

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Author Notes: This is a recipe from Afghan Cooking Unveiled, the blog I write along with Humaira Ghilzai. It comes from Humaira's mother, Jeja. Traditionally Aushak is made in community: families gather and assemble the dumplings. Then, everyone sits down to a delicious meal together. This dumpling is traditionally filled with something called gandana, which is in the onion family. Since gandana is hard to find, we use scallions instead. - Katie MorfordKatie Sullivan Morford

Food52 Review: This Afghan dish (known as aushak) is destined to become our new favorite comfort food. Much like a meaty ravioli, deconstructed, the filling components are divided and their flavors concentrated -- the wonton wrapper is filled with a sharp, peppery scallion paste, and warmly spiced tomato lamb sauce is strewn across the top. A cooling yogurt sauce tempers the kick and pulls it all together. The most magical part? All of these pieces come together swiftly, especially if you can round up a helper or two for dumpling assembly. - A&MThe Editors

Makes 25 dumplings

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 3 teaspoons Kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound scallions, washed
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 package won ton wrappers
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup plain, whole milk yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried, ground garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint
  1. In a large pan, saute the chopped 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 like finely minced taco meat. Add the tomato sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, the paprika, coriander and black pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring regularly for 20 minutes. Set aside.
  2. While the meat is cooking, trim the root off the scallions and finely chop, using the entire onion (both white and dark green parts). A food processor is useful here. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat and add the green onions, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the crushed red pepper. Turn heat to low and sauté until tender, 10 minutes. Set aside.
  3. 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 your finger into 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 sauteed 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.
  4. 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).
  5. While the dumplings are boiling ,quickly make the yogurt sauce. Stir together the yogurt with the garlic and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt.
  6. 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. Sprinkle with dried mint and serve immediately.
Jump to Comments (67)

Tags: Afghan, Afghan, dumplings

Comments (67) Questions (2)

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Dinosaur_hands

about 1 year ago procrastibaker

No wonton wrappers at my local grocery store, so I used fresh sheets of pasta, and the dumplings turned out beautifully. The kofta was a little paprika-heavy for my tastes, so I added about a teaspoon of cumin, and another .5 teaspoon of coriander, which rounded it out nicely. Loved how it tasted once it was all assembled, although bites of the dumpling on its own are quite bitter, so make sure you have a good kofta and yogurt to dumpling ratio. Next time I would probably use fresh mint, to brighten up the finished dish, or perhaps go with a 50-50 yogurt and sour cream mix, to set off the lovely, spicy taste of the lamb. The whole thing came together quite quickly, and with two people working together in the kitchen, could easily be a weeknight dinner. We both thought it was delicious, and will be adding it to the regular rotation. Thanks so much, Katie and Humaira!

Beach

about 1 year ago Fancy and Casual

This was absolutely delicious!!

Made this with beef instead of lamb since it was local-- and substituted fresh sheets of lasagna noodles for the dumplings (made about 6 large raviolos. Also added chopped mint into the yogurt sauce. Will definitely be remaking this over the winter, was almost like a delicious deconstructed lasagna without all the work!

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over 1 year ago Victoria

I will be using labne for sure here!

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almost 2 years ago hghilzai

You can definitely make the meat sauce and the yogurt at least one or two days ahead of the time. As for the dumplings, you may stuff them and freeze or refrigerate until you are ready to boil. I suggest if you are making the dumplings more than one day ahead of time that you freeze it. I hope this helps. - Humaira (www.afghancooking.net)

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almost 2 years ago hchambers86

Are there components of this that can be made ahead? I'd like to make it for a surprise birthday dinner but want to make sure that I have the timing right!
Thanks!

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almost 2 years ago PaulaE

I have made this dish at least 10 times now, and every single friend I've served it to has asked for the recipe. It's a real stand-out and a permanent part of my go-to repertoire. Thank you, Katie and Humaira. I've started visiting your wonderful blog for more Afghan ideas.

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almost 2 years ago hghilzai

You are very welcome and thank you for making our recipe - Humaira

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almost 2 years ago hghilzai

I want to thank all the fabulous Food52 cooks for trying our recipe and your wonderful comments - Humaira (www.afghancooking.net)

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almost 2 years ago za'atar

I've made this recipe 5 times since discovering it a month ago. So delicious! As easy as spaghetti with meat sauce, but with a new flavor profile that spices things up. Yum.

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about 2 years ago Nazmul Hussain

The actual name of this Afghan dish is Mantu ( most commonly made with minced beef). The vegetable (leek) dumplings are called Aushak.

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almost 2 years ago hghilzai

You are right, Mantu usually has minced beef inside the dumpling and a yogurt sauce as a topping. The dish featured in this book has sautéed leeks with minced beef sauce & yogurt. Aushak is the correct name as noted in the book. I submitted this recipe from my blog www.afghancooking.net.

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over 2 years ago PaulaE

This is a new family favorite. The only variation I've used, and it's amazing, is to substitute fresh mint for dried. I mince up a big handful of the fragrant herb and mix it into the yogurt with the garlic. This adds to the fresh, bold taste of the dish.

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over 3 years ago AllisonGG

Just made these this weekend, and they were amazing! My 1-year old was thrilled with the dumplings, while my husband liked the lamb the best. Thanks for a great recipe.

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over 3 years ago mboerner

Question: What is meant by "tomato sauce"?

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almost 2 years ago hghilzai

I used an organic canned tomato sauce which you can purchase at any grocery store. Tomato sauce is usually made with a puree of tomatoes with savory vegetables and other seasonings.

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over 3 years ago mboerner

A problem: Whatr is meant by "tomato sauce"?

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over 3 years ago mboerner

A problem: Whatr is meant by "tomato sauce"?

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over 3 years ago rs1139

i made this this past week and am IN LOVE. we did a homemade tomato sauce and made it extra spicy... mmm! we also used greek yogurt, which i think gave it extra mph.

Melissa_mitchell

over 3 years ago MTMitchell

We made this last night, and it was fantastic. It was a huge hit with my husband, who is usually a pretty "selective" eater, and I also really enjoyed it. The green onion filling was a tiny bit too strong for my liking (again, though, my husband thought it was perfect), so I might cut it with something next time, but definitely a keeper. Thanks!

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over 3 years ago mzmecz

For sygyzy, the Helmand in Chicago serves "leak dumplings" (my favorite dish in the whole city) and they are mild and sweet. You might try leaks in place of scallions or half and half.

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over 3 years ago golgappa

This is one of my favorite dishes that my Afghan sister-in-law makes except that she stuffs the dumplings with the meat and then just garnishes with the yogurt-sour cream garlic sauce….yummy!

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almost 2 years ago hghilzai

The dish your sister in-law makes is called Mantoo, it is another type of Afghan dumpling and also one of my favorite. I will post a Mantoo recipe on my blog (www.afghancooking.net) so you all can try it.;

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over 3 years ago student epicure

made this for sunday dinner -- delicious!!!

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over 3 years ago ellent124

Can't wait to try! I used to order this all the time at an Afghan restaurant that was on M Street in Gorgetown in the late '70s. I found a recipe, but it wasn't quite the same--maybe this will do the trick!

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over 3 years ago HungryForMore

This was a great recipe! I can't wait to make it again.

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over 3 years ago sygyzy

I made this, substituting beef, and it's quite good but I had one issue with it. Is it just me or did anyone else feel that the filling (scallions/green onions) were very harsh in flavor. It's part of the onion family and as such reminded me of eating raw onions (like on a burger). I cooked it for over 10 minutes and it tasting like eating raw scallions. Very harsh. Anyone?

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over 3 years ago HollowLeg

This was amazing. And I added some of the leftover garlic yogurt to my scrambled eggs this morning. Some of the best scrambled eggs I've ever made!

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over 3 years ago Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

That's a wonderful recipe. I've saved it for reference, as I think it would make great 'bento box' lunch item packing the sauce in the little compartments and the dumplings and meat in main container for rewarming.

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Congratulations, ladies, on such a lovely win!

Bike2

over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Congratulations on this win and stellar recipe. Looking forward to making it.

Ozoz_profile

over 3 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

Congratulations. A great recipe...which I'll have to try soon!

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Huge congratulations! This is such a lovely dish! I have a feeling it will become a staple in this house.

Steve_dunn02

over 3 years ago Oui, Chef

Congratulations on your win, and for such a fabulous recipe. I found this week's contest so difficult as both dumplings really appealed to me. Can't wait to try them both, but will definitely start with your winner! - S

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over 3 years ago Katie Sullivan Morford

Thank you. This is actually a great one to do with your kids. It's one of my youngest daughter's favorites.

Katie

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over 3 years ago ENunn

Gorgeous--congratulations!

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over 3 years ago Helen's All Night Diner

Congratulations! Will try this soon!

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over 3 years ago CJAnderson

So exciting to see you two on here!!! Congrats!

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over 3 years ago Katie Sullivan Morford

Thanks CJ!

Lorigoldsby

over 3 years ago lorigoldsby

Congrats! beautiful dish--it looks lovely "deconstructed"...definitely harder to do than one would think. I may try this tomorrow, with some red swiss chard for greens--or other recommendations?

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over 3 years ago Katie Sullivan Morford

I would use tender spring onions since they are so delicious this time of year. It really is just a tiny bit of flavorful filling so you want to pack in some flavor. Good luck.

Katie

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over 3 years ago Victoria Carr

This sounds wonderful. I love the food from the Khyber Pass restaurant in the East Village, so I'm going to try this

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over 3 years ago hazeddazed

this looks spectacular!

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I'm so happy this is a finalist! I can't wait to give them a try.

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

The story behind your recipe is as lovely as it is.

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over 3 years ago Katie Sullivan Morford

Thank you...it really is fun to get together with friends and make these dumplings...and they are surprisingly easy to do.

Katie

Hib_kitchen

over 3 years ago MyCommunalTable

Lovely lovely recipe.

Christine-28_small(1)

over 3 years ago cheese1227

I will certainly try this one. It sounds extremely interesting. Thanks for sharing it.

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over 3 years ago healthierkitchen

So excited this is a finalist! Contests!

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over 3 years ago dymnyno

These sound delicious! The only Afghan food that I have regularly is the guys at the farmers' market in the Bay Area who are selling their fabulous yogurt and sauces, and flatbreads.

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over 3 years ago Katie Sullivan Morford

Yes, they make delicious bolani. We have a recipe for that on our blog if you are interested.

Katie

Cakes

over 3 years ago Bevi

These sound wonderful!

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Congratulations on being a finalist!!

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over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Congrats on being a finalist! This sounds incredibly delicious!

Mrs._larkin_370

over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

wow, this sounds amazing. Congrats on being a finalist!

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over 3 years ago susan g

I hope you will link your blog to your food 52 profile. I need to expand my understanding of Afghan food. My restaurant experiene, at Helmand in Cambridge, and other restaurants in Baltimore and Washington, have been a great pleasure.

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over 3 years ago Katie Sullivan Morford

I've heard good things about both of those restaurants. I just filled out our profile so you can get a link to to the blog.

Thanks

Katie

Burnt_offering

over 3 years ago Burnt Offerings

I follow your blog, and I LOVE this recipe! Qayum Karzai's restaurant, The Helmand, is just down the street from my house. He is my neighbor, and the brother of Afghani President Hamid Karzai. He also gave me his recipe for Kadu Borani - the sweet and savory pumpkin and yogurt dish that uses a similar meat sauce to Aushak . I'll be printing this out and putting it in my permanent file. Thank you!!

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over 3 years ago Katie Sullivan Morford

Thank you for your support.

Katie

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over 3 years ago AlohaHoya

I used to work at the Afghan Embassy in Washington DC and Ashak was my favorite (except for Orange Rice).... It is absolutely one of my VERY favorite foods in the whole world. Thank you so much... Now to go out and find ground lamb and I am off!!!!!

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

YUM! These sound amazing!

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over 3 years ago hghilzai

Sounds delicious.

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over 3 years ago kmartinelli

Lovely recipe!

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over 3 years ago Jennifer Ann

Another one for the recipe box!

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over 3 years ago healthierkitchen

So glad to have this recipe - I am saving it to try soon. We have a local Afghan restaurant that we enjoy going to and this (and the mantu) are our favorites!

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

What wonderful flavors!!!

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over 3 years ago Midge

Yum! Sounds amazing.

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over 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

this sounds absolutely wonderful!!!!!