The Bolani is unique to Afghanistan, and is not only a much loved streetfood but also served in homes as an appetizer or as a side dish at special events and parties. Bolani is typically served with a green coriander/ cilantro chutney called Chatni Gazneesh and a mint flavoured thick yogurt (Chakkah) sauce/ dip.
Aloo Parathas are usually round in shape because the outer whole wheat wrapper is enclosed around the filling, then the flatbread is rolled out and then pan-fried to cook. The Bolani on the other hand is shaped like a turnover by folding the dough over the filling into a half-moon shape and sealed. It is then pan-fried as well, but flattened out some more in the pan while it cooks.
Afghani Bolani/ Boulanee e Katchaloo (Potato Spring Onion Turnovers or Stuffed FlatbreadIngredients:For the dough:3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour1 1/2 cups or so of water ( more or less as you require)1 tsp salt1 tsp oil (preferably olive oil)
For the filling:2 medium to large potatoes2 tbsp oil (preferably olive oil)1 tsp salt (or to taste)1 tsp ground black pepper1 tsp coriander powder1/3 cup finely chopped fresh coriander leaves/ cilantro1/2 c finely chopped scallions (both the white and green parts)
About 1/4 cup oil for pan frying the Boulanee/ Bolani
Method:Make the filling first. Boil the potatoes with a bit of salt until they’re done and soft. Put them in a largish bowl and aad the salt, oil, black pepper and coriander powders. Mash the potatoes really well, so no lumps remain.Add the chopped coriander and the spring onions and mix well. Keep aside.Now make the dough. Do this by hand or machine. Put the flour salt and oil in the processor bowl. Slowly add 1 cup of water and knead until you have a smooth and elastic dough, adding as much more of water as required.Shape the dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl, cover with a cloth and let it rest for about an hour.Now make the Bolani. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Work with one portion at a time, keeping the others covered so they do not dry out. Take one portion and roll into a smooth ball. Flour your working surface lightly and roll out the ball of dough into a round (like a tortilla) of about 10” to 12” in diameter. A thinner round of dough is desirable.Dvide your filling into 8 portions and place one portion of the filling on one half of the round (forming a semi-circle of filling) leaving about 1/4” at the edge for sealing. Fold the dough over the filling to form a half-moon shape and press the edges with your fingers, to seal well. I used the tines of a fork to make the edges look pretty but this is not usual.Repeat this with the rest of the dough and filling to make 8 Bolani. Pour about 1/8th the oil in a shallow frying pan. When it is hot enough place one Bolani in it. The oil around the Bolani should sizzle. Turn the heat down to medium, and cook the Bolani on both sides by pressing down with a spatula on and off so that it flattens a little more.When done (should take about a couple of minutes), the Bolani should a golden brown on both sides. Let the Bolani drain on paper towels.Add more oil when necessary and repeat this with the other 7. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with the Chatni Gazneesh and some Mint Chakkah (the recipes follow). This recipe makes 8 Bolani/ Boulanee.
The difference is that the Indian version also uses mint and lemon juice instead of vinegar, but no garlic or nuts, and green chillies instead of black pepper.
Chantni Gazneesh (Afghan Fresh Coriander/ Cilantro Chutney)
Ingredients:1 1/2 cups packed, chopped fresh coriander/ cilantro leaves (also include tender stems)1 clove of garlic1/3 cup walnuts2 to 3 tbsp lime juice ( or 1 to 2 tbsp white vinegar if you prefer)1/2 to 1 tsp freshly crushed black pepper (according to taste)1 tsp cumin powder1 tbsp sugarSalt to tasteA couple of tbsps of water, just enough to grind/ blend the Chatni
Method:Put all the ingredients in the jar of your blender and process to a fine purée. Add only as much water as is required for a thick purée as you don’t want a watery one. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve. This should serve about 4.
Minty Chakkah (Yogurt Sauce)Ingredients:1 cup hung yogurt or Greek yogurt1 clove of garlic, finely minced2 tbsp fresh mint, finely choppedSalt to taste
Method:Mix the yogurt and the garlic in a bowl. Do not beat. Cover and refrigerate till required. ThhisChakkah should have a nice but not too strong, flavour of garlic so add as much garlic you need to get that.Just before serving, stir in the salt and half the chopped mint. Garnish with the remaining mint and serve. This makes 1 cup of Minty Chakkah, and should serve 4 with the Chatni Gazneesh.
The Afghani Bolani is my submission to Zorra’s Bread Baking Day whose 61st edition is being hosted this month by Anusha Praveen at Tomato Blues with the theme “Stuffed Breads”.