20 March 2012

How to Make Ashlyamfu, First Try

I finally decided I needed to try making ashlyamfu at home tonight, so here's the record of the first attempt. Ashlyamfu is a Dungan (Hui (ethnically Chinese Muslims) who ended up in Central Asia) dish of laghman noodles, jelly noodles, a vegetable sauce, eggs, vinegar, and lazy. 

First, I cheated in two ways.  Ashlyamfu is supposed to be served cold, but I served it warm (not hot, even though the family thought I was crazy for making them wait).  It's really good cold too, but I'm pretty sure warm goes over better with my group.  Also, I completely skipped the jelly noodles.  They aren't attractive, have no nutritional value, don't taste very good, and are a hassle to make.  Win-win-win-win. 

So, to summarize, I needed:

Laghman
Sauce
Eggs
Lazy

I started with the lazy, which I didn't have around.  I followed the recipe posted there, except I sauteed it instead of doing the hot oil thing.  That works too and makes a nice crackling sound, but sometimes the other system is more convenient.

The laghman is easy here since I can buy it on the street.  You can either boil it or fry it to reheat it.  But if you don't live in Central Asia, you'll have to make your own laghman.  Here's how.

For the eggs, take two or three and a tablespoon or two of milk and beat them, then fry.  You can just scramble the eggs, or you can make a crepe sort of thing and then slice the sheet of egg.

Finally, there's the sauce.  I thinly sliced three red peppers, diced 3 tomatoes, and sliced a carrot after the manner I did yesterday for plov, but a little more neatly and finely.  Heat some oil in a qazan or wok or pot (a couple of tablespoons is plenty), then add the sliced vegetables and fry.  Chop and add a bunch of green onions, then add two cups of water and bring to a boil.  Simmer 5-7 minutes till the vegetables are just cooked, then add some salt to taste and thicken the broth.  You can use cornstarch, but the recipes I have call for a beaten egg.  I did the egg thing tonight and it was good.  Just be sure to add a little of the hot broth to the egg before dumping it in so the egg doesn't clump (although this isn't a huge problem since you'll be serving it with eggs anyway).  Add some vinegar to taste.

To serve, put a serving of laghman on your plate, then add the sauce and top with the eggs and lazy.  Serve cold or warm, as you prefer, with several types of vinegar to choose from.  We had four different kinds and they were all good.

It really wasn't a particularly complicated meal to make and I'm sure I'll make it again.  It was quite similar to how I make laghman, of course, but it's different enough that you notice.  I'm hoping I can eat some authentic ashlyamfu tomorrow for Nooruz.

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