Bolani with morgh kofta filling and chutney sabz (Afghan chicken-stuffed flatbreads with chutney)

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I have always liked filled breads.  Here is an example from Afghanistan as reported in the Washington Post.  It is shaped like a calzone, but is pan-fried vs. baked, has a very different filling, and is eaten with an herb chutney and yogurt.  This took about 2 hours of elapsed time and made 6 flatbreads.  One of them with a salad was a serving for dinner.  They were a hit.

There are three parts to this, the bread, the filling, and the chutney.  Each is easy.

Bread (Bolani)

485 g. (3-3/4 cups) all purpose flour

2 tsp. kosher salt

1-1/2 tsp. yeast

360 ml (1-1/2 cups) lukewarm water

1 Tbs. sunflower or other vegetable oil (plus some for oiling the bowl and frying)

Filling (Morgh Kofta)

2-1/2 Tbs. sunflower or other vegetable oil

1 large onion finely chopped

1 lb. ground chicken (preferably dark meat)

2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. cayenne or other ground chili powder

1 tsp. coriander seeds, crushed in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


1 garlic clove

2 serrano or other chilies, stemmed

1 large handful mint leaves

1 large handful cilantro leaves and tender stems

Juice of 2 limes

2-1/2 Tbs. white vinegar

2-1/2 Tbs. cold water

1 salt

Yogurt for serving

Start by making the bread dough.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, put the flour, salt, and yeast and stir to combine.  With a dough whisk, mix in about ¼ cup (60 ml.) of the water to wet the dough.  Mix in the 1 Tbs. of oil.  Mix in the rest of the water, and with a dough hook knead into a smooth dough.  Form the dough into a ball, coat with a little oil, and cover.  Allow to rise for 30 minutes.

While the dough is rising, make the filling.  Heat the oil in a large skillet.  Saute the onion until translucent over medium heat.  Add the chicken, salt, and spices, and saute until the chicken is cooked, mixing thoroughly.  Try to evaporate any liquid in the pan so that the mixture is fairly dry.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Next make the chutney.  Put the garlic and chilies in the bowl of a food processor and finely chop.  Add the mint and cilantro and again chop.  Add the lime juice, vinegar, water and salt and chop.

Divide the dough into 6 balls, each of which will be about 140 g.  Let them rest for 10 minutes on a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat or baking parchment and covered with a clean kitchen towel.

On a lightly floured surface, roll each dough ball into a circle about 8 inches in diameter.  Put ¼ cup of the chicken filling on one side of the circle and spread it to cover half of the circle, excluding about ½ inch around the edge.  Fold the empty side of the dough over the filled side of the dough and press thoroughly along the edge to seal the dough.

Heat a large cast iron skillet until moderately hot.  Coat the skillet with a small amount of oil.  Cook the doughs, 2 at a time on the skillet for about 4 minutes on each side until the dough is cooked and golden.  You may need to adjust the level of heat to get it just right – too high and the doughs will burn and too low and they will not brown and cook through. (This is very much like getting the temperature right when cooking pancakes.)   Put the cooked doughs on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels and repeat the process of oiling the skillet and cooking the doughs until all are cooked.

Serve with the chutney and yogurt.


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