Saturday was a very busy day for me. I was lucky enough to be invited to go cook, photograph and eat Afghan food. Never eaten Afghan food? Me neither but I can tell you it’s delicious. A friend has started a cultural event which uses food to help bring different communities together. Their inaugural event is starting with Melbourne’s Afghan community and trying to show people the wonderful aspects of this country. He needed some promotional food shots for the event and so arranged for us to go Dr Nouria Salehi’s house where she and her sisters cooked up an incredible feast for us. They cooked three dishes, all of which were hearty and absolutely delicious. The first of the dishes was Afghanistan’s version of the dumpling – Mantu. This was followed by a middle eastern version of a risotto and last (but not least) a korma curry. I’ve since discovered Afghanistan is a huge melting pot of cuisines due to it’s unique geographic location. We were so full afterwards we couldn’t fit another thing in!
I’ll be sharing the rest of the recipes over the next few weeks so keep and eye out!
Dumpling wrapping techniques.
Nouria and her AMAZING carpets (my mum would go crazy over these!)
Packet of square wonton wrappers (10cm x 10cm)
5 large onion finely chopped
1kg mixed mince beef & mince lamb
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli
salt and pepper to taste
dollop of good oil
400g can diced tomato
salt and pepper
handful of yellow peas
1 cup plain yoghurt
1 tsp dried mint
1. First add 1 tbsp of oil in saucepan and once hot, add tumeric, salt and onion. Cook until onion is soft and slightly brown.
2. Add ground coriander seeds, garlic and mince (or roasted pumpkin if you wish to make a vegetarian version) and stir continously until meat is cooked throughout. Let mixture cool completely.
3. Once cool, take a square piece of pastry and add a teaspoon full of mixture. Wet all four sides of the pastry and bring two opposite corners together in the middle and repeat on the other two corners. This should make a small little parcel. Then wet fingers again and press two corners together each side. (Hard to explain but have a look at the photos above!)
4. Place in either a bamboo steamer or a normal pot steamer and cook for 8-10 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, in a pan, add oil and diced tomato. Add salt and pepper and the yellow peas. Cook for 10 minutes or so.
6. Meanwhile, beat the yoghurt and add dried mint and season with salt to taste. Take a large flat dish and spread a thin layer of yoghurt over the bottom. This stops the dumplings from sticking to the plate – genius huh! Place the cooked dumplings on the plate and spoon the cooked tomato sauce over the top. Then add dollops of yoghurt and sprinkle a little extra mint and some chilli – if you like it hot!
This recipe makes a LOT of dumplings, but once you taste them you’ll be glad you made loads!