How to Make Aushak (Afghan Leek Dumplings)

Ashak, Aushak, afghan Food

Aushak or Ashak is one of the most delicious foods, popular worldwide and a favorite Afghan cuisine. However, it is not a daily dish for Afghans due to its time-consuming preparation and sometimes the high cost of ingredients. It’s usually made for special occasions like weddings, parties, or weekends, when Afghan families gather together. Preparation typically occurs on weekends when the whole family is together, as it requires more people to help. Sometimes, it’s challenging for one person to prepare alone, especially for larger groups. They often prepare it as a group activity, almost like a picnic, referred to as ‘Hawasana.’ Hawasana is a particular food reserved for special occasions, not consumed or cooked every day. Men typically participate in making the dough and preparing the dumpling wrappers, while women handle other tasks such as filling, making sauce, and preparing for serving.

Aushak (Afghan Leek Dumplings With Yogurt and Meat Sauce):

Active time: 1 hour Total time: 2 hours Servings: 6


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large leeks (about 2 pounds total), trimmed, cleaned, and thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch scallions (about 8), thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt, or more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Flour, for dusting
  • 36 dumpling wrappers, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion (about 8 ounces), chopped
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 1 pound ground beef (80 percent)
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup plain full-fat yogurt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint
  • Fine salt, to taste


Make the dumplings:

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the leeks and scallions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook until most of the moisture has evaporated, about 5 more minutes. Adjust salt if needed. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  2. Fill a small bowl with water. Generously dust a large, rimmed baking sheet with flour.
  3. Place a dumpling wrapper on the countertop, add about 1 tablespoon of the leek mixture into the center, dampen the edges of the wrapper with water, and fold in half diagonally (or half circle if round wrappers). Press edges to seal and remove any air pockets. Set the formed dumplings on the prepared baking sheet, covering with a kitchen towel until ready to use. Repeat until the filling or wrappers run out.

Make the meat sauce:

  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Add the meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Season with paprika, coriander, salt, and black pepper. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add the tomato sauce, bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until the meat is done and flavors meld, about 20 minutes.

Make the yogurt sauce:

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, garlic, dried mint, and salt. Adjust seasoning if needed.

Cook the dumplings:

  1. Fill a 3-quart pot three-quarters with salted water and bring to a boil. Cook dumplings in batches until they float and appear translucent, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer cooked dumplings to a serving platter.

Serve: Top dumplings with meat sauce and garnish with yogurt sauce. Serve family-style.

Nutrition per serving (6 dumplings, with 1/2 cup meat sauce and 2 tablespoons yogurt sauce): Calories: 557; Total Fat: 27 g; Saturated Fat: 8 g; Cholesterol: 57 mg; Sodium: 535 mg; Carbohydrates: 60 g; Dietary Fiber: 6 g; Sugar: 12 g; Protein: 22 g

Enjoy your Aushak!

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