Friday, October 23, 2009

Bolani flatbread

Makes 6-8

Bread seems to be the bomb right now, after a myriad of Lebanese treats last week, here's something so easy, but just that little bit different. Bolani is a delicious flaky flatbread, originally from Afghanistan, but is something popping up all over the shop now. Can be cooked and served just as it is, but is also pretty fine stuffed with anything from cooked and choppe spinach to some gorgeous simmered lentils.

500g plain flour
1 tsp salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
150ml olive oil, plus extra for cooking

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the centre, and add the eggs, olive oil and 250ml water. Bring together to make a ball of dough. Knead on a floured work surface for 10-15 minutes until very soft and elastic. Roll the dough into balls, each roughly the size of a tennis ball.

Cover with a damp cloth, and leave to rest for 30 minutes. Oil the work surface and spread out one of the balls of dough, gently pulling the edges to stretch it as thin and wide as possible.

Dust the surface with a little flour, and pleat the pastry over and over like a fan. Roll up this pleated piece of dough to make a curled ball. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough. Leave to rest for another 15 minutes.

Heat a heavy frying pan over a medium-high heat. Use your hands to pat a curled ball of dough into a circle 20cm in diameter. Add a little oil to the pan, and cook the flat disc of layered dough so that it is golden brown on each side. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough.

Serve the flatbread warm, either as they are with dips such as hoummus or tzatziki, or with pickles and yoghurt. Alternatively, folded and filled with anything that comes to mind.