Aush is responsible for my friendship with Katie. I took a big pot of Aush to a school potluck. Since it was an unfamiliar dish to many, I stood next to the pot of Aush and gave everyone instructions on the assembly, ingredients, and history. It was a great way to meet new parents, one of whom happened to be Katie. After two bowls of Aush, she asked me for the recipe. A bit of dilemma, there was no recipe.
Four years ago, I cooked like my Mom. I just put the ingredients together and cooked. I had heard that Katie is a “foodie” and a food writer. I was nervous about sharing any recipe with her. I made Aush several times and painstakingly wrote the ingredients and their measurements. In the mean time I received several emails from Katie asking about the recipe. Rest assured this recipe has been tested many times by both of us over the years.
Aush is one of my favorite Afghan dishes. It’s a hearty noodle soup with chickpeas, and red beans garnished with a ground beef sauce and a dollop of yogurt. According to Louis Dupree in his book Afghanistan, pasta was created in Central Asia which is now part of northern Afghanistan. Who would have thought?
Aush is my comfort food. I consider it a fall or winter dish but recently I came down with the flu and I craved Aush. It was perfect even in the summer; so I decided to share it with you. Our kids love it too.
We want to hear what you think about Aush.
We sometimes add a few handfuls of chopped spinach or swiss chard when the pasta is nearly cooked for extra color and nutrition.
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey can be a fine substitute
1 ½ tsp. ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
2 tbsp. tomato paste mixed with 2 tbsp. hot water
7 oz uncooked spaghetti (doesn’t have to be exact)
10 cups chicken broth
1 15 oz. can kidney beans
1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans
1 pint plain yogurt
Dried mint (optional
Saute the onion in olive oil in a non-stick frying pan on low heat until tender and golden. Add the garlic and sauté another 2 minutes. Add the ground beef and use a spoon to break it up as it cooks so it is loose and separated (like taco meat). Once the beef is browned add the coriander,
paprika, salt, pepper and tomato paste. Mix everything well and continue to cook over low heat for about 15 minutes.
While the meat is cooking, pour the chicken broth into a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the spaghetti and boil for 5 minutes. Empty the beans into a colander and rinse with water. Add the beans to the spaghetti and continue to cook until the pasta is done.
To assemble, put 2 ladles of noodles and broth and 2 spoonfuls of beef into a deep serving bowl. Finish with 1 or 2 spoonful of yogurt on top and sprinkle some dried mint. Give it a stir and eat.
Cooked ground beef
Bowl of Aush
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