Bolani and Raita
I have previously posted about ‘Aushak and Bolani‘- what I know to be traditional Afghan dishes. Aushak are a vegetable filled dumpling, usually using green onions or leeks, and Bolani are a stuffed flat bread (usually vegetarian too).
These dishes are a little time consuming to make, especially if you are making the dough yourself, so I cheat by buying frozen dumpling wrappers from the Chinese supermarket! There are local Afghan restaurants that sell these dishes but they are quite expensive, for what is basically vegetables wrapped in dough! So I usually make them at home, having a stock in the freezer for when the taste buds are calling…
Bolani Wrapping- seal with some water around the edges. The filling is cooked mashed potato, green onions and spinach with chilli flakes and ground spices
Bolani- finished and ready to cook straight away or freeze for a later date
Bolani: sprayed with vegetable oil and baked in a hot oven for 10 minutes on each side
Bolani are more traditionally pan fried in oil and soak up quite a lot of oil in the process. By spritzing the Bolani on both sides with a spray oil, it is much healthier and the dough gets nice and crunchy around the edges. By using these dumpling wrappers, they are also ideal for a small starter or snacks for guests. Less messy that larger flat breads too… Serve with whatever chutney or sauce you fancy!
Aushak Wrapping- Filling of cooked spinach and leeks with various ground spices and sealing the edges with water
Aushak- lined up ready for the freezer
Aushak can be served either steamed or boiled, with a lentil or ground meat based sauce. I didn’t get a picture of the cooked result this time though…
Caramelized onion, Goats cheese, Spinach, Sun dried tomato, and pine nut tart
I often start cooking and get a little carried away with the different flavour combinations. This tart is one of many examples of such cooking exploits. This started off as a goats cheese and caramelised onion tart but then I also wanted a feta and spinach tart. The end result is a layered Caramelized onion, Goats cheese, Spinach, Sun dried tomato, and pine nut tart.
Caramelized onion, Goats cheese, Spinach and Sun dried tomato tart
I didn’t actually follow a recipe, so don’t have one to share! Here’s the basic steps I took: 1) make caramelized onions 2) make bechamel sauce and add some frozen spinach 3) part bake pastry case 4) layer on the onions, then the spinach bechamel sauce 5) crumble over the goats cheese then chopped up sun-dried tomatoes 6) half way through baking add pine nuts and freshly ground black pepper I used shop bought short crust pastry (it is mid-week after all!) but sprinkled on cumin seeds and rolled them into the dough before pressing the pastry into the tin. The end result was a lovely crisp, fragrant, pastry edged tart. However all the moisture from the filling meant the base remained wet. Anyone who is a massive fan of baking (like me) will know of Mary Berry, she’s more recently better known for being a judge on ‘The Great British Bake Off’. Whenever I bake now, I always wonder what Mary would think of it. On this occasion she would say ‘good flavour combination, just a shame about the soggy bottom!’ Sorry Mary! Lesson learned: cumin seeds in pastry is delicious! Second lesson learned: self restraint, every so often, is worth observing…