We were so fortunate to welcome Shayma Saadat to the Petits Chefs kitchen-lab to lead an (Aushak) Afghan dumpling workshop for them this week. Yes, they are very lucky and yes, I am feeding their dumpling obsession
Shayma, who I met at an adult Afghan dumpling workshop in the spring, is an internationally published food writer, food photographer and stylist, cook, cookery teacher, public speaker and storyteller. On her blog, Spice Spoon, she shares family recipes from the countries of her heritage – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. Born in Lahore, Pakistan, Shayma is a Pakistani-Afghan with Persian lineage who grew up all over the world. She came to Toronto via Rome and she now lives here with her husband and son. Shayma believes that “in cookery, there should be no borders”. Her mission is to demystify the Silk Route cuisine and inspire people to make the food she grew up eating. Having seen Shayma in action, I knew she has a lot to offer the boys both in terms of cooking instruction as well as teaching them a little about her culture and heritage. Plus, you know, pairing her with a group of little boys who I believe could happily make dumplings each and every day? Sounded like a match made in heaven.
There was a fair amount of prep to be done – the dumplings are filled with a leek and scallion mix then topped with a mince meat sauce with all sorts of wonderful spices and herbs that Shayma introduced the boys to – lots of smelling and discussion of the new-to-them aromas. Oh, and some inhaled tumeric
While the boys were busy assembling (in what I call “the dumpling zone”), I collected the finished ones and plunged them into boiling water until they rose to the surface. They really didn’t take that much time to cook (thank goodness, time was not really on our side this week!) and the boys all thought they looked so pretty once they were done. They loved how the leek and scallions turned such a vibrant green in the water!
And the finished plate?
This was SO good (I had eaten these before and, knowing how tasty they are, could barely wait to dig in!). The idea of a sauce on dumplings (that’s topped with a garlic Greek yoghurt sauce) is something new to many of the Petits Chefs but they (and their parents) seemed to enjoy it. I was pretty impressed (if I do say so myself) that we got this dish done in an hour. Shayma, we’re so fortunate to have generous folks like you willing to come and work with the boys – we can’t thank you enough for taking the time out of your busy schedule to share your heritage through a delicious recipe with us. We hope you’ll come back soon
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