Afghan Pumpkin Ravioli with Spicy Tomato Sauce
Serves 4-5 as an appetizer, 4 as an entree with a salad
Delicate Afghan style dumplings (mantu) are typically paired with a spicy tomato sauce and a cooling yogurt sauce topping. Their soft skins can be easily shortcut by using wonton or gyoza wrappers, and the inclusion of pumpkin in the filling highlighted with warm spices makes this a delightful cool weather appetizer or main course served with a green salad or cabbage salad. Like any dumpling they require a few extra steps but the unique and addictive combination of pumpkin, spicy tomato sauce and garlicky yogurt is totally worth your time.
Make ahead tip: Prepare the sauces and filling (as it should be cooled) a day before assembling and boiling the dumplings; for best results serve the dumplings immediately after boiling.
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon powdered ginger
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups pumpkin puree or mashed, roasted winter squash
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs
36 square or round 2 1/2 to 3 inch vegan wonton or gyoza wrappers (if frozen, thaw completely in the refrigerator)
Spicy Tomato Sauce
2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minded
One 14 ounce can (2 cups) diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Garlic Yogurt Sauce
1 cup plain soy yogurt
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspsoon salt
1 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (optional)
1. Prepare the filling first: toast the fennel and cumin seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until seeds are toasted and fragrant. Immediately remove from the pan and in a spice grinder combine with the powdered ginger and grind to a fine powder. Over medium high heat fry the chopped onion in a skillet until soften and translucent, then add garlic and fry for 45 seconds. Stir in pumpkin, brown sugar, black pepper, and salt and cook for 1 minute, then stir in breadcrumbs and cook for another minute, stirring constantly until slightly thickened. Remove filling from heat, scrap into a bowl and chill for 30 minutes while preparing the sauces.
2. For the tomato sauce, toast the fennel and corinader seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until seeds are toasted and fragrant. Immediately remove from the pan and in a spice grinder combine with the cayenne pepper and grind to a fine powder. Over medium high heat fry the chopped onion in a skillet until soften and translucent, then add garlic and fry for 45 seconds. Stir in the diced tomatoes with their juices, the ground toasted spices and salt and bring to a simmer. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes or until sauce has thickened slightly. Turn off heat and cover; before serving gently warm the sauce. For the yogurt sauce, grind the garlic and salt together in mortar and pestle, then whisk together in a measuring cup with the yogurt. You can also prepare the sauce in small food processor. Keep yogurt sauce chilled until ready to use.
3. Bring 3 quarts of water salted with 2 tablespoons of kosher salt to boil. While the water is boiling, assemble the dumplings; have handy a clean work surface and a small cup of cold water. Place about 2 rounded teaspoons of filling into the center of a dumpling, then dip your fingertip in the water and trace along the edges of the wonton wrapper. Pinch the opposite corners together (if using square), and seal and pinch the edges together as firmly as possible, then take the opposite remaining ends and pinch them together to form a tortellini-like dumpling. Make sure those edges are sealed super tight: edges not completely sealed may open up during the boiling process. If you’re using round wrappers you can make half-moons or pinch them all together at the top to form a little purse. Place uncooked dumplings on a plastic wrap, taking care they don’t touch. Lower 4-5 dumplings at a time into the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes; cooked dumplings will float and the skins will look a little translucent. Use a slotted spoon or wire skimmer to gently lift the dumplings, shake off excess water and store in a lightly oiled dish until ready to serve.
4. To serve dumplings, ladle a few spoonfuls of warmed tomato sauce onto a shallow serving bowl or individual appetizer plates. Arrange dumplings on sauce, then spoon remaining tomato sauce over dumplings. Drizzle yogurt over dumplings, then scatter chopped herbs and walnuts over dumplings. Serve immediately, with a green salad and homemade flatbread to scoop up the sauces from the plate.