BEBE'S 'AUSH' RECIPE: AFGHAN NOODLE SOUP
"Aush" (sometimes spelled "ash") means "noodle" in Afghanistan, but it's come to signify several kinds of homemade Afghan soups that contain special flat wheat noodles. The soups are made rich with yogurt and spices -- perfect for a cold winter's meal or when you're feeling blue or ill or happy!
Bebe's Food Fact: The soup tastes better after a day's refrigeration. Reheat over low heat; you may want to add a little water because the soup thickens further when it's cold.
When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.
BEBE insists this recipe will yield 6 servings; makes about 7 1/2 cups
FOR THE SOUP
1 or 2 medium Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped (do not use canned)
1/2 small red onion
Leaves and tender stems of 2 or 3 stems cilantro, plus chopped cilantro for garnish
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 jalapeño pepper (not seeded)
1 rib celery, cut into chunks
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
15 ounces canned, no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (such as a combination of green beans, peas, lima beans, corn and carrots) 1 cup frozen chopped spinach (may substitute packed 2 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach)
6 cups water, or more as needed
2 ounces dried, flat wheat noodles (ash; see headnote)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon dried mint
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup plain, whole-milk yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground sumac (optional)
FOR THE OPTIONAL TOPPING
4 tablespoons plain whole-milk yogurt 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
1 tablespoon minced jalapeño pepper 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Combine the tomato(es), red onion, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno and celery in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. With the motor running, gradually add about 2 tablespoons of the oil, blending until just incorporated.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the pureed vegetable mixture; cook, stirring, for a few minutes until fragrant and softened a bit but not browned.
Clear a spot at the center of the mixture; add the tomato paste. Cook for a few minutes, then stir into the vegetable mixture and cook, undisturbed for 2 minutes. Add the turmeric, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper, stirring to incorporate. Cook for a few minutes, until fragrant, then stir in the chickpeas, the frozen mixed vegetables and spinach until well coated.
Pour in 1 1/2 cups of the water, then break up the noodles into 2-inch lengths, letting them fall into the pot. Add the remaining 4 1/2 cups of water. Increase the heat to medium-high just long enough to bring the mixture to a boil; cook for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the chopped fresh dill, dried mint and coriander, the lemon juice and yogurt, stirring to combine; reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the soup has thickened a bit and the noodles have expanded and become tender. Taste and add salt and/or pepper as needed. Stir in the sumac, if using.
If you're using the optional topping, whisk together the yogurt, cilantro, jalapeño and lemon juice in a small bowl. Divide among individual bowls. Serve hot, garnished with chopped cilantro and the optional topping, if using.
When complete, invite us over for taste testing ;)