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 Morford —Katie Sullivan Morford
Test Kitchen Notes
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&M —The Editors
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.
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.
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.
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 make the yogurt sauce. 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. Sprinkle with dried mint and serve immediately.
Katie is a freelance food and nutrition writer, a registered dietitan, author of the book Best Lunch Box Ever and the blog Mom's Kitchen Handbook: Raising Fresh-Food Kids in a French-Fried World (www.momskitchenhandbook.com).