Category Archives: Food

Ashak – Leek-Filled Dumplings with Meat Sauce

Sorry for the long hiatus; I’ve been planning to post for awhile now, but haven’t gotten around to it. Anyways, here’s a nice Tajik recipe, because that’s all I have time to post for now. Keep in mind I don’t measure anything, so any measurements are approximate. You could probably also make this vegetarian with crumbled tofu or extra split peas.


Ashak – Leek-Filled Dumplings with Meat Sauce

60-70 round or square dumpling wrappers (I used dim sum wrappers) – you can make your own if you REALLY want to.

1 large leek
1 tsp salt
¼ – ½ tsp red pepper
1 tsp vegetable oil

3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 – 2 medium onions, finely chopped
300 gram minced beef or lamb

½ cup yellow split peas, washed and soaked for a bit
½ – 1 cup tomato sauce
salt and black pepper

16 oz plain yogurt (room temperature)
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp salt

dried mint, to serve

Chop the leek, and wash and drain in a colander, pressing out as much water as possible. Place the leeks in a mixing bowl, and add salt and red pepper, mixing well. Mix in the 1 tsp oil. Heat 3 tbsp vegetable oil in a pan and fry the onions, stirring occasionally, until they are golden brown. Add the meat and fry until browned. Drain the split peas and add them too, along with the tomato sauce and some hot water, just enough to cover the meat and beans. Bring to a boil and add salt and pepper to taste (don’t add too much salt as the sauce will thin out later and be more concentrated), lower the heat, cover, and simmer about half an hour, or until the peas are cooked. Remove the cover and allow to simmer until the sauce boils down to desired thickness, and adjust the seasonings. While the meat sauce is cooking, stuff the dumplings: lay out a few wrappers and place 1-1½ tsp of the leek mixture in the centers of each. With your finger, run some water along the edges of each wrapper and seal with a second wrapper, pressing edges together firmly. Set the dumplings aside as you finish them (try to work quickly so they don’t dry out). Bring a big pot of water to boil, add 1 tsp salt and a bit of vinegar, and boil the dumplings for 7-10 minutes. You may have to boil them in two batches. Gently push them back under the water with a spoon when they come up. Mix the yogurt, garlic, and salt. Swirl a bit of the yogurt mixture over the serving plate, or on individual plates. When the dumplings are done, remove them gently with a slotted spoon and try to let as much water run off as you can. Place on the serving plate, over the yogurt. Top with the meat sauce and more yogurt, and sprinkle liberally with the dried mint. Noosh-e jan!


Checking in with a recipe

Not too much news right now.  I’m waiting for my Czech visa and a solid work schedule.

I’m in a food mood today!  I don’t have many new recipes to share but I’ve never posted my sarma (Bosnian stuffed cabbage leaves) recipe here, so here it is!

Food Blogger Recipes Thus Far

I’ve found some really great recipes on food blogs.  Here are some I’ve tried and liked so far:

Two from Almost Turkish RecipesBulgurlu Mercimek Corbasi (couldn’t figure out how to get the special characters in there, sorry) and Firinda Kabak Mucver.

From Eat Drink Live:   Cheese and Onion Pie.

And from Jumbo Empanadas:   Tribute to Katharine Hepburn Brownies.

Looks like I have a lot more I need to try!  Especially:


Rose Jam Tartlettes with Cream Topping

Fish in Persian Sweet and Sour Sauce

Spicy Chicken Rice Flu Chaser Soup

Bittersweet Citrus Tart

Sahan Fatayer 

Ash-e Joe

This is a delicious, and very healthy, Iranian soup of beans, barley, rice, and herbs (ash means soup; joe means barley or grain). It takes awhile to cook, but mostly you just leave it on the stove.


½ cup garbanzo beans

½ cup red kidney beans

½ cup lentils

½ cup barley

¼ cup rice

1.5 lb mixed herbs (spinach, parsley, cilantro, chives, dill)

2 cups plain yogurt (or kashk if you can find it)

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp dried mint

Soak all beans together overnight. Preferably, boil them for a couple minutes, leave them in that water overnight, and then discard the water before cooking. This will soften them up for cooking and should remove some of beans’ “antisocial side effects.” Soak the barley separately overnight. Cook beans with enough water to cover them for one hour over low heat. Skim off as much foam as you can. Add barley and rice, cook 30 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Chop the herbs and add them. Add more hot water if necessary, but the soup should not be too watery. Simmer 2-3 hours more, until all the beans are tender. Stir in yogurt (keeping a bit for garnish if you want), and season with salt, pepper, and mint.

Optional, and good if you want a nice presentation (this soup isn’t too attractive; it’s grey!): Transfer soup to serving dish and garnish with a bit of yogurt. Thinly slice 2-3 onions, fry them until golden, and color with 1 ts turmeric. If you include this step, add the 1 tbsp mint to the onions instead of directly into the soup. Garnish soup with these onions.

Speaking of Persian stuff, does anyone know where I can listen to recitations of Rumi’s poetry online in Farsi?  Or any other classical (such as Saadi) or modern Persian poet (such as Forough Farrokhzad), for that matter.  It’s been a long time since I’ve heard Persian poetry recited and I really miss it.  I know YouTube must have some stuff, but it takes awhile to load the videos here, so I’d rather find some clips somewhere with only audio.

Attention Americans Living in Amman…

…I got cornmeal at Safeway Shmeisani today!  It’s Aunt Jemima brand, and it’s with the baking supplies.  Of course, it’s priced way more than what we’d pay in the US, because they know that we suckers corn-loving Americans will buy it.  I’ve gotta have my polenta!  Now I just have to get some decent halal sausage to go in it that doesn’t taste like bologna!

Sexist Advertising, Lemon Curd, and Biscuits

So I opened up the hall cabinet and noticed that on the box the iron came in is a silhouette of a woman standing with her ankles crossed, one hand on her hip (a pretty provocative pose for a red silhouette), the other hand holding a pile of laundry, presumably freshly washed, ironed, and folded, and she’s wearing this mini Mini MINI skirt!  What’s up with that?  Anyways, it’s a French iron, so don’t blame the Jordanians.

I can’t find lemon curd here.  So I decided to make some.  I used this recipe.  It was really good!  The only problem is, it doesn’t go well with khubz taboun (the local flatbread everyone eats).   I would really love some buttermilk biscuits with it.  Does anyone have a good recipe?  Especially one that doesn’t require “cutting the butter into the flour until it resembles course crumbs?”  I’ve never really mastered that technique.  Which probably means I should just practice, but I’m feeling lazy.  I’d be willing to try it, though, if anyone has a recipe that is really, really good!

Onions and Plastic don’t mix

So if you cut up some onions and want to store them in the fridge for later, use a glass container, not a plastic one.  A plastic container will stink for ten more washes!  That’s all I have for today; obviously not much going on here!  Maybe some recipes and music reviews later this week.