Les Petits Chefs make Aushak (Afghan dumplings) with Shayma Saadat

Shayma Saddat showing Les Petits Chefs how to fill and wrap dumplings on eatlivetravelwrite.com 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 😉

Kids chopping leeks for dumpling filling on eatlivetravelwrite.comWith the two different components not to mention the assembly, it’s pushing it a little to complete this recipe in an hour but we (kinda sorta) managed it! The boys were veritable chopping machines!

Kids peeling garlic on eatlivetravelwrite.comKids crushing garlic on eatlivetravelwrite.comShayma Saddat on eatlivetravelwrite.comKids chopping onions on eatlivetravelwrite.comOnce we’d prepared the filling and sauce, Shayma showed the boys how to fill the dumplings – because each culture has its own shape of dumpling…

And then they got to work. Favourite part of any dumpling class is the filling and assembly. The boys are getting to be quite the experts!

Kids filling Afghan dumplings on eatlivetravelwrite.comKids filling dumplings on eatlivetravelwrite.comAfghan dumpling filling on eatlivetravelwrite.comWhile 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!

Afghani dumplings with leeks on eatlivetravelwrite.comYes, you’ll see some err… interesting shapes in what the boys made. But Shayma and I liked the creativity. It’s amazing what you can do with a square dumpling wrapper!

And the finished plate?

Aushak Afghan dumplings on eatlivetravelwrite.comThis 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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14 thoughts on “Les Petits Chefs make Aushak (Afghan dumplings) with Shayma Saadat”

  1. This post is a good reminder that, for youngsters, an introduction to the fact that ALL the senses come into play when food is prepared is easy to overlook. Smell, taste, appearance etc… all to the fore in this great session for LPCs.
    Lovely post.

  2. Actually I think one of the best aspects of the LPC program is the international flavour…they’ve tried – and made – so many different cuisines.

    Alas, my only complaint this week was that they were SO good, I think some of the boys ate Mr. Neil’s lunch before it got packed up! 😉

    Ah well, having had these before I can well understand how that happened…

  3. Ha Ha! Love that you left the leftovers at school to ensure that you had some dumplings for lunch! What a nice post and such lovely *working* photos. I love Shayma’s apron (she is stunning by the way) and the dumplings look fabulous. Certainly nothing like the dumplings my Mom used to make with her chicken soups.


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