Monday, March 11, 2013

Ravioli with Two Afghan-Inspired Sauces

This was my attempt to reproduce something like the amazing leek-filled dumpling dish served at our local Afghan restaurant. I say "something like" because although I love dumplings, ravioli, and all manner of filled, starchy bundles, I am entirely too shiftless to make my own; it's possible this situation may change at some future point, but suffice to say that time is not now. In any case, what I was really after was the accompanying split pea sauce, which came as a revelation - I had never considered combining dal with pasta, but after one bite it became clear that this was A. a match made in heaven, and B. one to be remade in my kitchen ASAP. And so I set to work; an internet search provided recipes for several types of dumplings served with legume, yogurt, and meat sauces. According to my usual method, I took a bit from this and a bit from that until I arrived at the result I wanted - a result, I might immodestly add, which kicked some serious ass. The contrasting textures, flavors, and temperatures of the cool yogurt sauce, the al dente ravioli, and the stew-like split peas made for one of the most interesting meals I've made in awhile; definitely worthy of many repeat performances. Because I am lazy (see above in re: shiftless), I used the perfectly delicious Rising Moon butternut squash ravioli, but if you're inclined to make your own, either the traditional leek aushuk and/or a vegan rendition of mantwo would pair beautifully with these sauces. Noosh'e Jaan!

Ravioli with Two Afghan-Inspired Sauces
Yogurt Sauce
~ 2 cups plain, unsweetened soy yogurt
~ 1 tbsp. each: minced garlic, dried mint
~ 1 tsp.  cumin
~ 1/2 tsp. salt

~ Mix all ingredients together, cover, and refrigerate at least an hour. (Easy, innit?)

Split Pea Sauce
~ 1 cup yellow split peas, soaked for at least an hour (the longer, the better)
~ 1 tbsp. olive oil
~ 3 large leeks, cleaned and chopped
~ 2 tbsp. minced garlic
~ 2 tsp. each: cumin, za'atar
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, cinnamon, coriander
~ 1/2 tsp. each: cardamom, turmeric
~ 1/4 tsp. each: nutmeg, cayenne pepper
~ A few generous grinds of black pepper
~ 3-4 cups "no chicken" broth
~ Chopped, fresh coriander or parsley (optional, but nice)

~ 2 lbs. cooked, drained vegan ravioli, homemade or store-bought (I used four packages to feed five people, with leftovers)

~ Heat a large saucepan and sauté the leeks in the olive oil for about five minutes, until softened.
~ Add the garlic and cook another minute or so before adding the drained split peas and the remaining seasonings. Combine thoroughly and pour in the broth.
~ Cover the pan, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil; turn the heat down to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about an hour. You may need to add a bit more broth or water to achieve a texture somewhere between a soup and a more solid dal; kind of like a thick, chunky spaghetti sauce. Taste for seasonings; if you'd like a bit more heat, you can add a shot of hot sauce at this point.
~ Spread a layer of yogurt sauce on a plate, place ravioli on top, and ladle on the split peas. Serve immediately, topped with chopped fresh coriander or parsley.


  1. this looks amazing! I love those little Afghan ravioli. We used to have such a delicious afghan restaurant here, and they had loads of vegan options... but eventually the family decided they didn't want to keep operating a restaurant. I miss it so much!

  2. This looks fantastic, Desdemona-- I have to try this!