Learn how to make this delicious Afghan Bolani: a potato-stuffed flatbread from Afghanistan!
Bolani is a stuffed flatbread from the Afghan Cuisine. Usually filled with potatoes, green onions, cilantro, and chili peppers, this flatbread is easy to put together, especially if you have the dough ready. I’ve also read that some bolani recipes also use a variety of fillings like pumpkin or other squash, lentils, etc.
It is usually served with a spicy cilantro mint chutney and enjoyed as a side to a main meal, or as a satiating tea-time snack with a cup of hot chai!
I came across this recipe on the wonderful Pick Up Lime’s channel months ago, and couldn’t wait to try it. Sadia is among my top favorite vegan recipe creators, and she’s also an Afghan herself. So I didn’t have to look too far for an authentic recipe. I borrowed heavily from hers but also tweaked the spices to suit my palate. It does seem like I have a preference for higher spice levels than what the recipe calls for. Which is why, it’s always good to taste your food as you prep it!
The bolani is a great amalgamation of flavors and textures. While the filling itself is creamy and spicy and tangy, the external crust is spongy (thanks to the yeast) and also crunchy (thanks to shallow frying). It’s a wonderful dish that I now tend to make at least once a month! If you’re hosting a get-together, this could feature as a snack or a side to a main meal!
How to make the Afghan Bolani?
- The dough: Traditionally, the dough is a yeasted one. You make it with flour, water, salt, sugar & yeast, much like pizza dough (but the yeast quantity is much lower). However, if you don’t have the time to make the dough, you can also simply use store-bought flour tortillas to make this recipe.
- The filling: Its a combination of cooked and mashed potatoes, finely chopped green onions (including the green part), cilantro, salt, pepper, cumin powder, and green chili peppers.
- Forming the Bolani: Now, if you have the dough, you simply roll it out into a thin round disk. Add & spread some of the fillings on one half of the dough. Then lift the other half and stick it onto the side with the filling. You’re basically looking to form a calzone-like shape (only bigger!).
- Cooking it: Then this is really easy. Just take a big enough pan or griddle, add some oil & then place the formed shape onto the pan. Cook on medium heat on both sides until golden & crunchy, and well cooked on the insides!
Here’s a quick Recipe Video on how to make the Bolani –
For the Dough
- 1 cup Bread Flour or All Purpose Flour
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Instant Yeast
- 1/2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 1/3 cup Warm Water
For the Stuffing
- 1 pc medium-size Potato, boiled & peeled
- 1/2 cup finely chopped Green Onions
- 1/2 cup finely chopped Cilantro or Coriander leaves
- 1-3 pc finely chopped Green Chili Pepper (adjust for spice)
- 1 tsp ground Coriander
- 1/2 tsp ground Black Pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground Turmeric
- 1/4 tsp Salt (adjust to taste)
- Cooking oil, for pan-frying the bolani
- Cilantro Mint Chutney, for serving
Quick Alternative: Tortilla Hack
- 10" pieces store-bought Tortillas
- To a large bowl, add the flour, salt, sugar, yeast & oil, mix well. Add warm water & knead to a soft dough. Add some more flour & knead if the dough feels sticky.
- Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let it rest for 30-45 minutes at room temperature. The dough will rise in volume.
- In a bowl, add the boiled & peeled Potato. Add the rest of the ingredients: green onion, cilantro, green chili, pepper, turmeric, ground coriander, salt. Mash and mix everything together. Taste & adjust seasoning, if required.
- Let it cool to room temperature. You can make this a day or two in advance too.
Making the Bolani
- Punch the dough down. Divide into 3-4 equal portions. Roll into neat balls & keep them covered.
- Flour your work surface & add a piece of dough to it. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a thin round disk, of about 15-20 cm diameter. The thickness should be similar to that of a tortilla.
- Spread some of the spiced potato filling over half of the dough, leaving a ½ inch border along the edge
- Dip your fingers in water and spread the water along this edge, only on one half of the circle
- Fold the dough in half, over the filling, to create a half-moon shape. Press out all the air bubbles, then pinch the edges with your fingers to fully seal the flatbread
- Heat up some oil in a griddle or pan, & add the formed bolani to it. Cook on medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until one side is golden brown. Brush the top with some oil, flip & continue to cook on the other side until its golden.
- Transfer to a cooling rack, cut into triangles & serve hot! Bolani is best served with a green chutney (fresh cilantro, mint & chilies!)
Quick Alternative: Tortilla Hack
- If you don’t want to make the dough, simply take a store-bought tortilla. Make the filling & follow the same steps as mentioned. Just make sure to press down & cook until the edges seal.
If you liked this recipe, check out some other stuffed bread recipes on this blog –