Channeling My Inner Afghani

I am a big fan of trying out new styles of food, whether eating out or cooking a new recipe.

When someone tells me about / shows me a picture of / let’s me try something delicious they recently made, I almost always feel determined to try it out myself.

Which is exactly what happened when my newest coworker, who will henceforth be known as Hotelier, brought her leftovers into work the other day.

Her heritage is Lebanese, and she is a big fan of the Mediterranean / Middle Eastern diet.  I too, am a big fan of these cuisines, but only usually eat them when on vacation in that part of the world.  Which I have now decided is utterly sacrilegious. This food is too good not to eat all the time.

Hotelier was telling me she got the recipe for her dinner on Food 52 – her new favorite food blog.  One that I am already very well acquainted {read} in love with.  Now I DEFINITELY had to try the dish out for myself.

So without further ado, this is what happens when I channel my inner Afghani on a Tuesday night, in my very Victorian house, in a super hippy San Francisco neighborhood.

Afghan Dumplings with Lamb Kofta, Lentil Salad and Mint Yoghurt

Afghan Dumplings with Lamb Kofta, Lentil Salad and Mint Yoghurt

I made a few edits to the recipe, so this is definitely an adapted version of the fabulous Food 52 dish


  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 teaspoons Kosher salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ pound spring onions, sliced into rounds
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 package won ton wrappers
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup plain, full fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons dried mint
  • 1 tin lentils (of your choice)
  • Handful chopped parsley
  • ½ lemon, juiced


  • In a large pan, sauté the chopped onion over medium heat in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil until tender and translucent. Add the garlic and sauté another minute. Add the lamb and sauté until cooked through, breaking it up like finely minced taco meat. Add the tomato sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, the paprika, coriander, cumin and black pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring regularly for 20 minutes. Set aside.
  • While the meat is cooking, heat the remaining olive oil in a pan and sauté the spring onions over a medium heat until soft.  After about 5 minutes, add in the spinach and stir until it’s wilted. Turn heat to low and sauté for a further 5 minutes. Set aside.
  • To make the lentil salad, drain your tin of lentils, add the lemon juice, chopped parsley and some black pepper. Stir and set aside.
  • To assemble the dumplings, fill a small bowl with water and put it at your work station. Set a won ton wrapper on your work surface and dip your finger into the water. Moisten the edges along two connecting sides of the wrapper. The water will serve as glue for the dumpling. Put about a teaspoon of sauteed green onions and spinach in the center of the wrapper. Fold the dough in half over the green mixture in the shape of a triangle. Use the tip of your finger to firmly press the edges of the dough together to form a tight seal. Next, lift the two longest points of the triangle and press them together, creating a little circle over the dumpling. It will look like a fancy napkin fold.
  • While you are assembling the dumplings, bring a large pot of water to a gentle boil. Add the vinegar. Once all of the dumplings are done, immerse them in the water and boil according to directions on the won ton package (about 4 minutes).
  • While the dumplings are boiling, quickly make the yogurt sauce. Stir together the yogurt and dried mint.
  • Gingerly scoop the cooked dumplings out of the water with a slotted spoon, a few at a time, and arrange on a large platter. Spoon the ground meat, lentils and yogurt over the dumplings and serve immediately.

2 thoughts on “Channeling My Inner Afghani

  1. Damn that looks tasty, as you said its defiantly worth checking out cuisines from different parts of the world, there’s so many hidden gems out there! Come check out my blog 😀

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