Sunday, January 12, 2014


Have you read Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl? Simply put, I adore this book. In fact, it single-handedly sent me spiraling into continuous Google searches for terms like "foodie novels" or "best books for foodies" for a while there. As it turns out (this may be no surprise here), I love me a good food memoir. This book in particular is my all time favorite and I have yet to find a foodie book I like better. I guess that could be because I'm incredibly envious of the fact that she got paid to eat and write about delicious food! All this to say, if you like reading and you like food, find yourself a copy ASAP!

The book incorporates recipes, two of which have become regulars in our repertoire. I wouldn't necessarily call this one easy but I wouldn't call it complicated either. It's mostly just a bit time consuming but if you have friends or a spouse or small children with eager helping hands, the dumplings come together in no time. I haven't done this myself but I would imagine the sauce would freeze nicely if you made a giant batch and put some away for later.

Aushak is an Afghan dish often served on holidays or special occasions. I altered Reichl's version of the meat sauce slightly, mostly to accommodate the neatly portioned 1 pound packages of ground beef in my freezer (her recipe only called for 1/2 pound). In my opinion, my version provides a better meat sauce-to-dumpling ratio. I'll better the sauce would taste mighty fine made with lamb too. WARNING: the dumplings have some kick if you include the full teaspoon of red pepper flakes. My girls cried their way through the meal. Just a little. The yogurt sauce really helps calm down the spice though if you happen to overdo it. 


Meat sauce:

3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 pound ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoons diced ginger
1 cup water
1/4 cup tomato paste
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Yogurt sauce:
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
Kosher salt, to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon)

2 scallion bunches, green tops finely chopped (leave out the white part)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 package round gyoza wrappers

Chopped fresh mint

To prepare meat sauce:

Heat oil in small skillet. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes until golden. Add beef, garlic, coriander, and ginger and cook, stirring often, about 5 minutes until meat is no longer red. Add water and cook, stirring often, until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, stir, and cook another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

To prepare yogurt sauce:
Blend ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
To prepare dumplings:
Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Lay 1 tsp mixture in center of each wrapper and moisten edge. Fold over and press edges to make semicircles. Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add dumplings and cook for 5 minutes.

To assemble:
Spoon 1/4 cup yogurt sauce onto a serving dish and cover with dumplings. Spoon remaining yogurt sauce on top and garnish with chopped fresh mint. Spoon meat sauce all around, and serve at once.

Serves 4

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posted by kelsie