My favorite winter dish from childhood is called Aush / Osh and is a traditional soup from Afghanistan that my grandmother taught my mother before she moved to the United States. It’s the perfect remedy when I feel ill or just need that winter comfort food, followed by a nap of course. Before I left for medical school, I decided that it was time to learn how to make this dish and now I am excited to share it with you!
What you will need (serves 6 hungry adults):
One large pot
Canola or olive oil
2 medium yellow onions (chopped into 1 inch pieces)
4-5 cloves of garlic (pressed)
1-1.5 pounds of ground beef or turkey
1teaspoon of turmeric
1 tablespoon of coriander
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 pound of pasta (fettuccini or farfale work well)
Ground black pepper +/- crushed red pepper
1 can of garbanzo beans
1 can of kidney beans
1 cup of yogurt
1/2 cup of sour cream
First I’ll need to turn on some music and get an apron on before I coat the bottom of the pot with oil and turn the range on medium to high heat. I let the onions brown, then add my garlic. Be prepared for some good scents at this point. Next, I add the meat and cook it until it is almost completely done. I’ll add the turmeric, coriander, and tomato paste next.
At this point, I add just enough water to make it look like a soup. It will taste bland, so the chicken boullion will get sprinkled in until it tastes a little salty (trust me, it will be worth it in a second!). Sprinkle or toss black and red pepper to your preference. My family likes it spicy so I usually add a crazy amount that makes a sore throat numb!
Now I add the pasta to the soup and watch it absorb the salty broth. The garbanzo and kidney beans go in next, along with more water to keep it like a soup. I turn up my music and taste the soup, adding a little more of each spice depending on how much water was added. This is the fun of Afghan cuisine, because our recipes get passed down by observation, not paper, and every time I make this dish, the amount of spice I use may change. After about 5 or so minutes of simmering, I temper my yogurt and sour cream by mixing a little soup in the dairy before I add it to the soup to prevent curdling.
After I finish admiring the large pot of beautiful golden soup filled with with meat, pasta, and beans, I usually take a minute to call my mom to tell her how excited I am about making another delicious batch of Aush. Food is how my family bonds together!
I pour some Aush into serving bowls and sprinkle dried mint on top, then watch it be devoured by my hungry friends and family. I hope that you have the opportunity to make this tasty dish and please let me know how it goes!