These Aushak (Afghan Leek and Scallion Dumplings) are topped with a spiced meat sauce, dollops of garlicky yogurt, and a sprinkle of thinly sliced fresh mint.
After moving to the DC area from the Florida panhandle (and Alabama before that), one of the first things I noticed was the availability of cuisines my new home had to offer. I no longer had to search online for ingredients or rely on vacations to enjoy a variety of restaurants.
My first time visiting an Afghan restaurant was with friend Faith of An Edible Mosaic. We went to Afghan Bistro in Springfield, Virginia and I tried their Aushak, Afghan Leek and Scallion Dumplings. I was immediately hooked. They topped the dumplings with Kofta Paashaan (a minced beef and lentil qorma) and mint yogurt. When we moved to a different house last year, we found another Afghan restaurant only a mile away and this dish continues to be my favorite. With us leaving the area in a few short months, I thought I should finally make the Aushak at home.
I filled the Aushak with a lightly spiced leek and scallion mixture, folding the wrappers in half to enclose the filling. At this point, you can also bring the two sides of the wrapper together towards the center for a variation in the fold. After boiling the dumplings, I topped them with a spiced meat sauce (I used beef, but have also seen lamb) and dollops of a garlicky yogurt. Looking for a vegetarian version? Desert Candy topped her Aushak with candied pumpkin.
There are a few parts to this recipe, but the dumplings can easily be made in advance. The yogurt topping also comes together in less than three minutes.
I have seen both square and circular wrappers used. This time, I formed the dumplings with store-bough square wonton wrappers, but you can also make your own.
Looking for more Central/West Asian dumplings? Try Khinkali (Georgian Topknot Dumplings), Manti (Turkish Dumplings), and Kartopilis Khinkali (Small Potato Khinkali Dumplings).
Aushak (Afghan Leek and Scallion Dumplings) Recipe
Aushak (Afghan Leek and Scallion Dumplings)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
- 1 bunch (~6) scallions thinly sliced
- 3 leeks white and light green parts, thinly sliced
- 1/2-1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch ground red chili
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 20-25 wonton wrappers square or circular
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 pound ground beef or lamb
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1-3 teaspoons dried mint
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Fresh mint thinly sliced
To make the dumplings:
In a large skillet, drizzle the oil over medium heat. Add the sliced scallions and leeks. Cook, stirring often, until softened, 7-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until just fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Season with salt, pepper, and ground chili. Remove to a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment.
Place a teaspoon of the cooled filling in the center of a wonton wrapper. Wet the edges lightly with water and fold the wrapper in half to enclose the filling. Press out any air pockets and push down along the edges to seal.
Place the dumpling on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining filling/wrappers, arranging them in a single layer. If not using immediately, cover the baking sheet with plastic and refrigerate for up to a day or freeze until solid, transfer to a freezer bag, and store for a couple of months.
To make the meat sauce:
Drizzle the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the garlic and cook until just fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Add the ground meat, breaking it apart into small pieces with a spoon, and cook until no longer pink. Season with salt, pepper, paprika, and coriander. Stir in the tomato sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through and thickened. Season to taste, adding more salt if needed.
Decrease the heat to the lowest setting to keep warm while the remaining ingredients are prepared.
To make the yogurt sauce:
In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, garlic, dried mint, and salt. Season as needed to taste.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the dumplings in batches, being careful not to overcrowd. Boil over medium-low heat until heated through, 2-3 minutes. Gently remove with a slotted spoon.
Serve the dumplings warm topped with the meat sauce, yogurt, and fresh mint.