Afghan Lamb & Root Veggie Aush

This was our first recipe attempt from Parwana, by Durkhanai Ayubi, May’s Cookbook Club selection. This is another cookbook we just knew we were going to love! It may end up at the top of the favorites list with Falastin and Stir Frying to the Sky’s Edge. We bookmarked half of the book to try and really love the food of this part of the world. This recipe did not disappoint! Aush (or ash) is probably most associated with Persian cuisine, but refers to thick soup with noodles that is also made in Afghanistan. (Ash/aush literally means “thick soup” in Persian.) While there are many variations of this type of soup, in Afghan cuisine it usually includes a tomato-based broth, various vegetables, thick noodles, a yogurt topping, and dried mint on top.

The soup here involves several layers of ingredients and flavors, each adding more dimensions to the dish. If you just wanted to make the soup solo, it’s delicious. Then if you make the soup and the meatsauce, it doubles the deliciousness. But then when you add the yogurt and mint on top, you get a whole other amazing flavor combination!

We loved the earthiness of the final product, with the turmeric and the root vegatables. We were prompted to go with this as our first recipe from our book, so as to utilize our Farm Share / Farmer’s Market root vegetable haul from this week! We are really enjoying the opportunity to be pushed out of our veggie comfort zone with some different seasonal, local vegetables this spring and summer! Our toddler also gave this one two thumbs up. We don’t publish photos of her for the whole internet to see, but if we did, you’d see one of her grinning with hands, face, and clothes covered in the shades of tomato and turmeric!

Afghan Lamb & Root Veggie Aush

(Adapted from Parwana, by Durkhanai Ayubi)
Ingredients: 
  • Yogurt
    • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Soup
    • 1/4 cup neutral oil
    • 2 large onions, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 small red chili pepper, minced
    • 2 tsp ground turmeric
    • 4 large tomatoes
    • 1 turnip, chopped
    • 2 large carrots, chopped
    • 12 cups water or low-sodium stock
    • 1 3/4 cups AP flour
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tbsp neutral oil
    • Warm water (~1/2 – 3/4 cup)
    • Dried mint, to garnish
  • Meat Sauce
    • 2 tbsp neutral oil
    • 2 large tomatoes
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 lb ground lamb
    • 1 tsp turmeric
    • 1 tsp coriander
    • 1 tsp curry powder
    • 2 tbsp tomato paste
    • 1 tsp white vinegar
    • 1/4 cup chana dal
    • Water
    • Salt
Instructions:
  1. Make the yogurt first, it’s super complicated. Mince the garlic and stir it into the yogurt. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Next you’ll work on the soup, noodles, and meat sauce somewhat simultaneously. The soup itself goes in a large pot, while the meatsauce will cook in a larger pan. You’ll also need a small pot for the chana dal.
  3. For the soup, heat the oil in the pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions, garlic, and chili. Stir to coat in the oil and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes. Add the turmeric and 1 tsp of salt and cook another minute, as the turmeric becomes fragrant.
  4. Blitz the tomatoes for the soup until liquefied. Add these to the soup pot and allow them to cook down for another 5 minutes.
  5. Now add the 12 cups of water (or stock) to the pot and raise the heat to bring the liquid to a boil. Once the boil is achieved, add in the turnips and carrots and lower heat to a slight simmer. Lightly simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the vegetables have lost their crunch, but are not mushy.
  6. Meanwhile, make the noodle dough. Sift together the flour and salt. Then add the oil and knead by hand. Add the water slowly, as you may not need all of it. Continue kneading and combining by hand until a firm dough forms. Place the dough ball in a bowl cover with a damp towel for ~15 minutes.
  7. Next, the meatsauce. Heat the oil in the pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and garlic and fry for 3-4 minutes. Follow this with the ground lamb, cooking and breaking up the meat for another 10 minutes. Blitz the tomatoes in the meantime.
  8. Add the spices to the meat mixtures and stir to combine well. Cook another couple minutes before adding the tomatoes, tomato paste, and vinegar. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to low. This can thicken in the background while you’re working on the soup and noodles again. Just stir occasionally!
  9. Last pot. Cook the chana dal per instructions, or if no instructions, add enough water to cover the dal and bring to an aggressive simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes until soft, but not mushy.
  10. Now roll out the noodle dough as thinly and evenly as possible, aiming for a 12-16 inch diameter circle. Then dust with flour and roll the circle into a log. Using a knife, slice into long 1/4 – 1/2 inch wide noodles. Dust with flour and set aside if not immediately ready to cook.
  11. If the vegetables in the soup are becoming tender at this point, go ahead and add the noodles to the pot. Increase the heat to a stronger simmer and cook for another 8-10 minutes.
  12. Once the chana dal is ready, stir it in with the rest of the meatsauce to form a thick, meaty paste. You can remove from the heat or keep it very low until ready to serve, depending on your timing.
  13. To serve, scoop the soup into a large bowl. Add a generous dollop of the meatsauce. Top with a drizzle of the yogurt and sprinkled dried mint. Enjoy!
Serves 8-12

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