Maushawa: Afghani Bean & Meatball Soup

IMG_7772

This wonderful soup is thick and hearty like a stew. The flavors reminded me of Greek Moussaka or Pastitsio – because of the use of yogurt and cinnamon. It is healthy and FABULOUS!! This recipe was adapted from The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook by Tess Mallos. I replaced some of the water with stock, substituted ground turkey for beef or lamb and long grain basmati rice for short grain rice, increased the tomatoes, decreased the oil, and used canned kidney beans and Greek yogurt. This version is not spicy at all but more chili powder could be added to taste. We ate it with naan on the side. I am adding it to my annual soup rotation next year!

Yield: Serves 10 to 12

For the Base:

  • 15 oz can red kidney beans
  • 1 cup chana dal or yellow split peas
  • 1 cup split mung beans
  • 1 cup white basmati rice or short-grain white rice
  • 7 cups chicken stock
  • 4 tsp coarse salt, plus more to taste

For the Meatballs:

  • 1 1/4 pound ground turkey
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp hot chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

To Finish:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1-2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 14.5 oz diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 T chopped fresh dill
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt (I used 2 percent)
  1. Rinse the kidney beans, chana dal and mung beans and place in a soup pot with 7 cups stock and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Rinse the rice and add to the pan with the salt. Simmer for another 30 minutes, or until the ingredients are soft.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the meat with the seasonings and shape into balls the size of hazelnuts. (I used 1 tsp per meatball.)
  4. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high and fry the onion until translucent and lightly brown.
  5. Add the meatballs to the onion and fry, stirring often, until browned. Stir in tomatoes and 1 cup stock. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Add meatball mixture to the bean mixture, another 2 cups water, and the dill. Bring to a boil, then add the yogurt, stirring over low heat until almost boiling.
  7. Adjust the seasoning with salt and chili powder, if desired.
  8. Serve hot with naan or lavash on the side.

One Year Ago:

Chilkewali Mung Dal (Split Green Mung Beans), Mumbai-Style

MBittman Chilkewali Mung Dal

When I knew that we might be near this wonderful Indian grocery, Apna Bazar in Hicksville, New York, I grabbed an article about “New York Dals” written by Mark Bittman for the New York Times and made my ingredient list. I bought fresh curry leaves for the first time, so I made the dish that used them first- Chilkewali Mung Dal.  I served it with sautéed spinach with garlic and cumin, brown rice, and two types of Indian bread.  I had to substitute a balloon whisk for an Indian mathani to try and achieve the right consistency.  I didn’t know anything about which type of bread to serve, so we tried 2 types– next time I go to Apna Bazar I will try one of the many other types available! This is a wonderful dish- I LOVED IT!  I am looking forward to trying the other dal recipes from the same New York Times article.

  • 1 cup split green mung beans (chilkewali mung dal)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced and seeded hot green chili
  • 3/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes (canned is fine)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower or safflower oil, or other neutral oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons julienned fresh ginger
  • 12 curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Combine the dal, turmeric, garlic, chili, onions, tomatoes, brown sugar, salt and 4 cups water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently, and cook, covered, for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Partly uncover and continue cooking for another 15 minutes, until the dal is tender; turn off the heat. Use an Indian mathani (or balloon whisk) to purée the dal for about 1 minute; the dal should be saucy but not soupy.
  2. To make the tadka, heat the oil in a small saucepan over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and cover the pan; let the seeds pop and sizzle. When the popping begins to subside, add the ginger and cook until lightly browned, about 15 seconds, and add the curry leaves, if you’re using them. Turn off the heat and stir in the cumin.
  3. Pour the tadka (pictured below) into the dal; stir gently to combine. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
YIELD: About 4 servings
MBittman TadkaImage

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