My dream is to go caravenserai-hopping along the Silk Road, savoring the flavors our ancestors deemed worthwhile to share with neighbors. This wish came partially true with my recent trip to Armenia.
I think it is a sacrilege to mess with classic recipes; but I cannot not give a modern twist. So here goes my “black & white” version using a current fad, activated charcoal. The Armenian Jingalov hat -herbs stuffed unleavened bread- is perhaps the precursor to the Indian stuffed paratha. I use here the whole wheat durum flour (atta), instead of white flour. Also in the stuffing, I throw in some golden beet pulp. These turned out scrumptious, barely making it out of the skillet onto the serving platter.
Rolling pin and board; iron skillet.
- Stuffing: 1/2 cup beet pulp + 1/4 cup each of finely chopped scallions, finely minced mint, cilantro + onion powder + salt + red pepper
- White dough: 1 cup atta + salt + water
- Black dough: 1 cup atta + 1 tsp charcoal powder + salt
Make the two soft doughs separately. Rest them for 15-30 minutes. Divide each dough into five equal-sized balls. Take one of white and the black ball– flatten them jointly into a disc approximately 6 inches in diameter. Place about 1/2 loose cup of stuffing in the center. Gather the edges, seal and gently roll thin (about 1/2 cm thick). Use generous amounts of bench flour to make it easy to handle. Brush off excess flour from the bread before cooking.
Notes, hints, tips:
- The classic recipe uses only herbs for stuffing; you can use other greens as well. I used the beet pulp — the leftovers from the cold pressed beet juice– since it is dry enough to be a stuffing. You can use the juice for other drinks.
- The dough should be really soft to handle. It is better to err on the softer side; since the resulting bread will also be soft.
- You can use a dry skillet to cook the bread, or, if you like in a paratha style — to use a little oil on the skillet.
- The charcoal powder is food grade, apparently in the superfood category these days. It does not impart any taste– just a black color that you can use to your advantage.