Spinach Aushak from Afghanistan

An Afghan delight – Aushak or Afghan pasta filled with spinach and topped with a tomato sauce and yoghurt.

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[The photos were taken in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, where every one in the family participated in making the dish]

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For the dough (makes about 50 raviolis/Aushak)
One kg of plain flour, plus extra for kneading
Two tablespoon of salt
One and half tablespoons of vegetable oil
About two cups of water
1- Mix the ingredients adding the water slowly. Knead thoroughly for about 20 minutes. Let it rest in a large bowl covered by plastic warp for at least half an hour.
2- Separate the dough in several pieces and pass through the pasta making machine several times so that you get long flat “sheets”. Cut them in circles or squares. Set aside.

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For the filling
At least two large bunches of fresh spinach, washed and cut finely
Green onions to taste
Fresh cilantro to taste
Olive oil
Salt and black pepper
1- Shred and cut all and mix.
2- Set aside.

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For the tomato sauce
Two onions diced
Two kg of fresh tomatoes (no skin)
Salt and pepper to taste
1- Fry the onions. When translucent add the tomatoes and let them fry until the sauce is done.
2- Set aside and keep warm for serving.

Yogurt sauce
Plain yoghurt
Crushed garlic to taste
A little bit of salt
1- Mix all.

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Making the Aushak
1- Fill the dough with the spinach mixture. Make any shape you want, simple semi-circles like raviolis or more complicated tortellini shapes. To close each Aushak, simply use some of the moisture from the spinal filling (no need to use egg as used when making Italian pasta).
2- Cook in boiling water for about 15 minutes or until the dough is cooked.

Serve topped with the tomato sauce and the yoghurt.

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