Aush is a soup of Afghan origin and made with noodles along with an assortment of vegetables in a rich tomato based broth. It is usually topped with sour cream and dried mint leaves. The aush can be rightly called the Afghani form of minestrone soup. Kidney beans and chick peas are often added to it in order to make it heavier. Aush is usually enjoyed in the winter or autumn season when the temperature dips considerably. The soup is also spelled as ‘aash’ .
The traditional aush recipe involves making everything from scratch including the noodles. Precooked, packaged noodles are however used nowadays in order to save time. The aush tastes better when cooked with dry noodles hence the preparation of the noodles is required to supersede the soup by a day or two.
History of Aush
There is no documented history of the aush recipe in Afghanistan. However, it is believed to have been assimilated into the Afghan cuisine from the Persians just across the border. The modern day aush is closely related to the Ash-E Reshteh of Persia which is eaten during the occasion of Gahambar.
Ingredients & Popular Aush
The ingredients for cooking the aush are varied and numerous. Different ingredients are utilised for preparing the noodles, meat sauce as well as the topping. A variety of vegetables as well as kidney beans and chick peas go into the soup as well. Ground lamb meat or beef is added along with spinach and other forms of greens too.
The noodles are usually prepared well in advance and the vegetables along with the beans and chickpeas boiled together. Onions and the ground meat are fried in a shallow pan until the meat browns evenly. The final step involves adding the seasoning along with a thick tomato puree which is tossed over the noodles. Aush is served in a deep bowl and garnished with yoghurt or sour cream together with mint and coriander leaves and spicy chilli powder.
Aush is rich in both nutritional value as well as taste. The vegetables along with the chickpeas are all beneficial for health and enrich the soup with vitamins and essential minerals. The oil and noodles that go into this nutritious soup are rich in fat and carbohydrates respectively making it a complete food which also helps to retain the body heat during winters.
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 450 g beef mince (ground beef), ground turkey can be a fine substitute
- 1½ teaspoons ground coriander
- 1½ teaspoons ground paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1½ tablespoons tomato paste mixed with 1½ tablespoons hot water
- 200 g uncooked spaghetti , doesn’t have to be exact
- 10 cups chicken broth
- 400 g red kidney beans (canned)
- 1 x 425 g can garbanzo beans
- 500 ml plain yoghurt
- dried mint , optional
- Saute the onion in olive oil in a non-stick frying pan on low heat until tender and golden. Add the garlic and sauté another 2 minutes. Add the beef mince and use a spoon to break it up as it cooks so it is loose and separated. Once the beef is browned add the coriander, paprika, salt, pepper and tomato paste. Mix everything well and continue to cook over low heat for about 15 minutes.
- While the meat is cooking, pour the chicken broth into a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the spaghetti and boil for 5 minutes. Empty the beans into a colander and rinse with water. Add the beans to the spaghetti and continue to cook until the pasta is done.
- To assemble, put 2 ladles of noodles and broth and 2 spoonfuls of beef into a deep serving bowl. Finish with 1 or 2 spoonfuls of yoghurt on top and sprinkle some dried mint. Give it a stir and eat.