Watch: How to cook Ashak - an Afghani pasta dish

Watch: How to cook Ashak - an Afghani pasta dish

A version of the traditional dumpling, this recipe uses conchiglie pasta

A guide to making Ashak Video Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal/Gulf News


5 to 6 tbsp oil

1/2 white onion, chopped

1 tsp ginger and garlic paste, in equal measure

300 gms kheema or minced beef

4 tsp tomato paste

2 tsp cumin powder

1/2 tsp black pepper powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp chilli powder or to taste

1 tsp turmeric powder

60 gms coriander leaves, chopped

70 gms spring onion, chopped

70 gms leek, chopped

500 gms conchiglie pasta

1. Heat a pan and pour oil into it.

2. Add chopped onions and sauté for about one minute or until golden in colour.

3. Next, add ginger-garlic paste and brown it until it begins releasing an aroma.

4. Then add kheema or minced beef to mix, mash it until they separate. Cook it for about 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat.

A guide to making Ashak
Mash the kheema till it separates

5. Add tomato paste to this and mix well.

Guide to making Ashak - a pasta-based Afghani dish
Add tomato paste to the keema and cook Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal/Gulf News

6. Add all the spices one by one. Begin adding cumin powder, black pepper, coriander powder, chilli powder and turmeric. Mix them well and cook for about 30 minutes.

7. Add a little water to this and cook for 30 minutes on medium to low heat. 

To sauté the greens

1. Pour oil into a pan, and allow it to heat. Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté until they turn brown. Then, add the chopped green leaves and stir them.

2. Next, add cumin powder, black pepper and chicken stock to it and let it cook for 15 to 20 minutes. 

To boil the pasta

Ashak - an Afghani dish made with pasta, keema or minced beef and greens.
Boil the pasta for about 10 minutes Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal/Gulf News

1. In a pot, add 1 l water and salt or olive oil and bring to a boil. Once the water boils, add the pasta to it and cook  for 10 minutes on medium heat. 

2. Keep stirring for a few minutes to keep the pasta from sticking to each other. Once it is cooked, drain the excess water and keep pasta aside.

To Plate

Add yoghurt on a plate, then place the cooked pasta on it. Top it with the sautéed greens followed by cooked kheema. Spread a dollop of yoghurt, drizzle some dry mint powder, chilli powder, place chopped red chilli and serve hot.

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