Monday, 24 September 2012

Sweet Potato and Coriander Bolani (Afghan flatbread)

Another delicious Afghan offering for you! This is one of my personal favourites, although thinking back on all the others that I have posted, they're soft of all my favourites this month. I think that Afghanistan has been  one of my all time favourite countries that I've featured thus far! Mostly I've been going a bit crazy with the sweets, so it's time to balance it out with some savoury. 

This is bolani, a delicious filled flat bread which is pleasantly naturally vegan! It can be filled with a number of fillings, such as potato, spinach, lentils, leek or pumpkin. The filling almost always also contains shallots (scallions). These ones are lightly pan fried, however they can also be baked. 

I absolutely loved these! Now that I have the base recipe I will be making them again and putting anything that I can think of into them! I can imagine all sorts of delicious vegetable fillings for these bolani. In fact, I might even try adapting it to some sweet fillings!

3 1/2 cups plain white flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 cup water
1 tsp olive oil
500g sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup sliced shallots (scallions)
1/3 cup chopped coriander
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp soy sauce
Extra olive oil, for frying.

To Make
1. Combine the flour, salt and cardamom in a bowl. Make a well in the middle and gradually add the water and the teaspoon of oil and mix to form a dough. Knead into a ball. If the dough is too dry to form a smooth ball add a little more water.
2. Turn the dough out onto a floured benchspace and knead for 10 minutes. Yeah, a little tedious I know. Set yourself a timer so that you don't cut the time down.
3. Put the ball of dough back in the bowl and cover with a cloth. Let it rest for about an hour.
4. Put the sweet potato in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer until the sweet potato is cooked, about 15 minutes (will vary depending on how big you chopped it). Drain.
5. Put the cooked sweet potato in a bowl and mash it up a bit, it doesn't have to be smooth. Add the shallots, coriander, lemon juice and soy sauce. Mix well.
6. Divide the dough into 6 equal balls . Take one and roll it out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured bench (don't make it too floury, otherwise the edges of your bolani won't press back together). Roll it out into a thin tortilla, about 25-30cm diameter. The thinner your roll it out the better.

7. Spread about an eighth of the sweet potato filling over half of the circle, leaving about 2cm around the edge.

8. Fold the other half over and press the edges down together. If you have put a bit too much flour on it then it won't stick properly, if this is the case you can brush it with a bit of water to help it stick, but it shouldn't need this. 
9. Repeat with the remaining ingredients until you have 8 bolani ready to go.
10. Heat a non stick frypan over a medium heat with a small amount of olive oil. Add two bolani to the pan and fry until browned slightly on both sides, about 5 minutes on each side. Keep your eyes on them so that they don't char. Drain on a paper towel as you remove them. Cook the rest in batches.

~ As you assemble your bolani and set them aside, don't lay them touching one another as the dough it quite sticky and you may never be able to separate them again! This disaster is what happened to my first attempt at these
~ If you don't have a non stick pan, use a bit more oil and keep your spatula close at hand to make sure they don't stick