Zahra Afkari & Hakimeh Rahimi
Hazara refugee Zahra Afkari (Left) reunited with her niece Hakimeh Rahimi in Wagga Wagga in December 2015. Both women were welcomed and supported by the Multicultural Council of Wagga Wagga through the Humanitarian Settlement Services program to rebuild their lives after fleeing from the violence and persecution in their home country. Their recipe for this special celebratory flatbread and its vegan filling hails from Malistan in the Ghazni Province, Afghanistan.
What is your earliest memory of eating this dish?
I was 8 or 9 and thought that mum had cooked it specially for me. Any of the special foods we cook at Ramadan holds special memories, as it is a time when everyone comes together.
How did you learn to cook it?
My mother taught me how to cook Bolani – this recipe has been handed down from generation to generation.
Is this a regular “everyday” meal, or something more special?
We make this dish on special occasions, such as Ramadan or Eid, or if we have special visitors. Each region in Afghanistan has a different recipe.
Did you know?
Gandana is a type of leek grown in almost every province in Afghanistan: and now in Wagga Wagga. Hakimeh, Zahra and their families could not buy fresh gandana when they resettled in Wagga Wagga. Two years after their arrival, they purchased seeds from an Afghan shop in Dandenong (Melbourne), and now they grow gandana year-round in their backyard veggie gardens. They very generously introduced the Made to Share team to this new vegetable when sharing their recipe.
Bolani Gandana Recipe
Ingredients for dough
- 1 kg plain flour
- 1 1/2 tsps active dry yeast
- 1 tbsp salt
- Warm water as needed
Ingredients for filling
- 3 medium potatoes, peeled, boiled and roughly mashed
- 1 large brown onion, finely chopped
- 4 spring onions, finely chopped
- 750 g leek, root end finely sliced
- 250 g garlic chives, finely sliced
- 1 cup green peas
- 3 large green chillies, finely chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil plus extra oil for shallow frying
Instructions for filling
- Wash hands thoroughly.
- Heat a frying pan and add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil.
- Add the onion and cook slowly until golden brown.
- Add the salt, pepper and green chillies. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the spring onions, leek, chives and mashed potato.
- Mix well and put aside for 5 minutes to cool.
Instructions for dough
- Wash hands thoroughly.
- Sift flour, yeast and salt together in a large mixing bowl and gradually add warm water, mixing with your hands until mixture becomes doughy.
- Leave the dough to settle for 60 minutes.
- Separate dough into large handfuls and roll each one into a ball shape.
- Scatter some flour on the bench surface and roll the balls flat with a rolling pin, keeping the circular shape.
- Place a spoonful of filling on one side of the rolled dough.
- Using the back of the spoon, spread the mixture evenly across one half of the dough circle.
- Fold the other half over the top of the mixture to form a semi-circle and pinch the open side with your fingers to seal the Bolani.
- Pat down and sprinkle with a little extra flour.
- Heat oil in a pan.
- Place the Bolani in the pan one at a time, and shallow fry for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until golden brown.
- Drain on paper towel to remove excess oil.
- Serve with spicy chutney and Afghan yoghurt drink “dough”: a mix of yoghurt, peppermint, mint, cucumbers, salt and water.
Variations on this recipe:
Fillings can be substituted according to taste, for example, substitute chives and leek with 1 kg of fresh gandana (Afghani leek) finely sliced. Leftovers can be reheated in the oven the next day or eaten cold.