Afghan Bolani is world famous. Now you have the bolani recipe!
No, this isn’t hyperbole, I mean it look it up yourself? You don’t want to look it up? Ok, here’s the link from CNN travel 2019 that backs me up. My kids gave this the name “Afghan hot pockets” when they were even younger than they are now. I mean, what kid doesn’t love a hot pocket (stop it food snobs.) And you can get your kid to love leeks this way too!
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This bolani recipe is easy to make, but like any stuffed bread the rolling of individual hot pocket doughs is a bit time consuming but you can make a bunch at once and freeze them. Just pull them out as you want them, stick them in the oven and enjoy. (If you make them small enough you can even put them in the toaster.)
I mean, with this description by CNN, how could you NOT make this recipe?
After rolling out the yeast-leavened dough into a thin sheet, Afghan bakers layer bolani with a generous filling of potatoes, spinach or lentils. Fresh herbs and scallions add bright flavor to the chewy, comforting dish, which gets a crispy crust when it’s fried in shimmering-hot oil.
I’m super lucky because my aunt periodically cuts up HUGE lots of leeks and when she has extra she brings me giant bags. I have a bag of bolani recipe leeks in my freezer lol. The truth is, we do make a lot of vegetarian dishes that are delicious. I think there are three keys to our success. In any vegetable recipe add either bread, rice, or oil.
I recommend serving this with Afghan garlic yogurt sauce and cilantro chutney. Please come over to my twitter or Instagram to say hi to me. @mirriam71 is my handle.Print
Bolani Recipe – Afghan “Hot Pockets”
For the dough
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup oil
- 3/4 cup water
For the filling
- 5 leeks – wash thoroughly in between the leaves
- 3 potatoes – peeled
- 1 tblsp cumin seeds
- 1 tblsp coriander seeds
- 2 tsp turmeric
- jalapeno/red pepper flakes (optional)
Prepare the filling
- Peel and cut your potatoes into quarters. You can boil them on the stovetop until they are fork tender. You can also put them in a microwave safe bowl covered with water and cook them, covered, in the microwave for about 6 minutes.
- While your potatoes are cooking, heat a small frying pan on medium heat and add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds. I know a lot of people don’t do this, but I don’t like the taste of raw spices in my filling so this is the method I’ve come up with. Make sure you keep the pan moving so all sides of the seeds get toasted, this should take about 30 seconds to 1 minute if your pan is hot enough. Add the turmeric and just let it cook for another 20 seconds. Take off the heat and put it in a spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle and grind finely. Set aside.
- When your potatoes have cooked, drain them and set them aside to cool. Once they’ve cooled, mash them up. They shouldn’t be a paste or like whipped mashed potatoes but just a rough mash with some texture still left to them.
- Chop your leeks into fairly small pieces. Not too big and not too fine either. You want texture in your filling.
- Mix the leeks and potatoes together and add the spices, salt and pepper or jalapeno if you are using it. Mix it well. Set aside while you make your dough.
Make the dough
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and oil. Stir together.
- Add the water slowly. Pour a bit then stir, continue to pour until it makes a soft dough.
- If the dough is too stiff and dry, add more water on tablespoon at a time. If it is too wet, add more flour one tablespoon at a time. What you are looking for is a dough that is soft and pliable.
- Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 3 minutes. It should be nice and bouncy and soft – that’s when you know its done. Place back into the bowl, cover and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes your dough is ready to roll into smaller balls. You should be able to get 12 bolani out of this. But it will depend on how thinly you roll your dough and how big or small you make the bolani.
- Break a small piece of dough off the larger ball with your hands. Roll it into a ball. Do this until you run out of dough. Cover the smaller dough balls with a damp paper towel so they don’t dry out. Have your filling, a fork, some flour and water near by.
- Flour your work surface and roll out one piece of dough. Roll it until you can see the work surface underneath the dough. Don’t worry if it isn’t a perfect circle.
- Place the filling on half of the dough circle. Don’t overfill it – but don’t be stingy either. make sure you flatten the filling so you can get a nice, flat bolani.
- Fold the other half over the filling half. Seal with a fork. I usually end up wetting my fingers and folding the dough over to make sure the filling stays inside the dough.
- Repeat with the rest of the dough.
- You can make these one of two ways – shallow fry or deep fry.
- For shallow fry (which is what I do in the video) Make sure your skillet or frying pan is hot then thoroughly coat the bottom of the pan with oil. Add the bolani once the oil is hot. Fry until golden brown then flip and fry on the other side. This should take about anywhere from 2-3 minutes depending on how thin your bolani are.
- Once they are brown, remove from the oil and place on a paper towel to drain the oil.
- If you are deep frying (which I did after I made the video) add about 3 inches of oil to a pan and set over medium-high heat. Make sure the oil doesn’t go over 360 degrees. Add the bolani and fry until golden brown and crispy on both sides. If your oil is hot enough this should take 1-3 minutes.
- Drain on paper towel.
Serve with garlic yogurt sauce and green cilantro chutney.
I recently met a young couple who escaped from the Taliban after the US withdrew. He was a physics teacher at a private school, she was 9 months pregnant. It took them over a year to flee to first Pakistan, then to Brazil, then a harrowing journey from Brazil through 11 countries as fugitives to finally arrive in the U.S. in San Diego, into the arms of US border patrol to be arrested. Their baby is now 15 months old and my husband and i invited them to lunch. I wanted to prepare an Afghan meal for them, and this is the one I chose. They were surprised and so delighted. I had prepared everything but the dough the night before, and the wife took over rolling out the dough to the thickness that worked best. thank you for this recipe, it was so appreciated, and she told me it was JUST like the ones she would make at home. In the car when I was taking them back to the place they live while waiting for asylum, I asked them the biggest difference between our country and their country, she looked at me and said simply. “We are safe here.” I could not have picked a better recipe for them. Thank you again and for the detailed video.