Afghan flatbread filled with sweet potato & leek, served with a coriander chutney
Bolani (also called Periki) is a stuffed flatbread from Afghanistan. It is commonly cooked by frying and it has a thin crust, which can be filled with a variety of ingredients, such as potatoes, lentils, leeks or minced meat. It is usually served with a yoghurt and / or a coriander chutney. Bolani is made for special occasions but is also a popular street food available in Afghanistan.
It can be eaten as an appetiser, accompany a main meal or eaten as a snack. If you have ever eaten a stuffed Indian paratha or a Mexican quesadilla, then you will be familiar with the presentation of this dish. The main differences being that the Bolani is not flaky and layered like a paratha and not cheesy like a quesadilla, however the premise of of a stuffed type of flatbread is the same.
This recipe is one of a series of recipes posted which forms an element of a larger family meal for my lot. The others are Qorma-e-Lubia (Afghan red kidney bean curry) which I serve with rice, and Maast O’Khiar (a yoghurt dip made with cucumber, mint and garlic). Whilst Maast O’Khiar is the Persian name for this dip, you may be familiar with the Mediterranean versions such as Tzatziki (Greek version), Cacik (Turkish version), Talattouri (Cypriot version). The Afghan version is called Jaan-e-ama and often eaten with Bolani.
The recipe below is vegan and, despite having to make the dough yourself, is relatively quick and easy. I have developed my Bolani recipe to include sweet potato, leek and coriander for the filling (see picture below). It is flavoured with dried red chillies, garlic, turmeric, ground coriander, cinnamon and fresh lime juice. Although not the traditional filling, the combination of the ingredients for the mixture is delicious and one that I am sure you will love. I have also made Bolani in the past with the more traditional fillings such as (1) leeks, spring onion, chilli and coriander; and (2) potato, spring onions, coriander and chili and you should feel free to experiment with yours.
Sweet Potato & Leek Bolani with Coriander Chutney
- 1 bunch fresh coriander (about 100 grams)
- 3 cloves garlic (crushed or minced)
- The green ends of 4 spring onions
- 1 to 2 green chilli peppers
- 1/3 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 medium sweet potatoes (peeled and chopped into medium sized chunks)
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 medium leeks (quartered and sliced)
- 3 cloves garlic (crushed or minced)
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp dried red chilli flakes
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- Juice of 1 lime
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)
- 200 g plain flour
- 100 g atta (chapati flour) (you can use wholemeal flour instead)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil (plus extra to fry the Bolani)
- 180 ml water
- Make the chutney ahead (minimum 2 hrs before eating) to let the flavours settle.
- Add coriander, garlic, walnuts, chillies and scallion ends to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
- Add the vinegar and pulse a few more times - the chutney should have a coarsely chopped appearance. Add olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper and taste. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Pour chutney into a sterilised jar with a lid. Place in the fridge until you are ready to use. Any left over chutney keeps for 2 months in the fridge and can be used for other dishes including grilled meats, roast vegetables or curries.
- Steam or boil the sweet potatoes until cooked / soft.
- Add 3 tbsp of vegetable oil to a large frying pan / skillet and place over a medium / high heat. Add leeks and cook until softened. Add garlic and turmeric and stir into the leeks until evenly distributed and aroma released.
- Add ground coriander, dried red chilli flakes and cinnamon and stir.
- Add sweet potato and mash into the mixture until the leek mixture is fully integrated into the mashed sweet potato.
- Add fresh lime juice and the finely chopped fresh coriander leaves. Add salt and pepper and taste, adjust seasoning if required. Take off the heat and set aside to cool until you are ready to stuff the Bolani dough.
- Stir flours and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add the vegetable oil and water. Form a shaggy dough with your hands, then turn out onto a clean work surface. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until you have a smooth dough. Place the dough in the mixing bowl and cover. Set aside to rest for 30 mins,
- Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Roll one piece of dough on a clean surface until the dough is 15cm in diameter.
- Divide the sweet potato filling into six and fill half of the round of dough by spreading into a thin layer, leaving a 1cm empty space around the edge. Fold the empty top half of the dough over the filling and press down to seal, stretching parts of the dough to create an even crescent shape. Place on baking paper until ready to cook.
- Heat a large non-stick frying pan or skillet over medium-low heat. Add 1 tsp of vegetable to the pan. When the oil is hot, add 1 Bolani and fry for about 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Then place on a paper towel to soak up oil while the others fry. Feel free to keep the cooked Bolani in a low / medium heat oven to keep warm while you fry the others.
- Serve the Bolanis warm / hot with the coriander chutney and / or yoghurt based (or non-dairy yoghurt) dip.