Afghan dumplings? You bet, writes Nola James
What is it?
Afghan ravioli – it's called aashak – delicate parcels of dough similar to a dumpling wrapper filled with buttery slow cooked leek. Lashings of spiced meat and split pea ragu add a delicious flavour contrast; tangy garlic yoghurt completes this specialty dish. You'll never look at pasta dough in the same way again.
Where do I get it?
The Ghan Tikka House is in the beachside suburb of Chelsea – if you thought there was nothing good to eat on the Nepean Highway you'd be wrong. What's lacking in atmosphere (think neatly renovated charcoal chicken shop) is made up for in warm, welcoming service that comes with a Middle Eastern history lesson if you ask nicely. We do approve of an educational meal.
What else should I order?
You can't go wrong with tikka: big hunks of beef, pork and chicken speared through with silver swords and grilled over hot coals until charred, archaic barbeque styles. Onion based curries of lamb, spinach or chicken swim in devilishly oily sauces rich with cumin, cardamom and a hint of chili. You want this served with chalow, a traditional side dish that's almost a meal on it's own: par boiled rice doused with butter, oil and salt, and cooked in a warm oven for hours until the perfect consistency is achieved.
There's not a lot bar your stock standard bottled Pepsi and the like, but with full BYO your best option is to pick up a slab of pilsner or wine on the way.