Pumpkin is kind of an obsession for me, so let me start by proclaiming Pumpkin Month on StreamingGourmet. Some of you may remember 31 Days of Pumpkin from last year. Well, since then, I have found even more pumpkin recipes that think outside the pie, starting with Pumpkin Bolani. Stayed tuned throughout the month.
Recently, I was at the Whole Foods in Mill Valley (the new one), and I wandered over to the cold case looking for something to bring home for lunch. I stumbled onto Bolanis (sometimes spelled, Bulani or Boolawnee). They are similar to Indian paratha, ie, they are flatbreads stuffed with yummy things. Typically Afghani Bolanis are stuffed with leeks, but the ones available at Whole Foods from the company, Bolani: East and West Gourmet Afghan Food, come in four different varieties: Spinach, Lentil, Potato and… wait for it… Pumpkin.
I brought home the pumpkin version and absolutely adored them. They didn’t have that pumpkin pie flavor at all. There was quite a spicy kick, in fact. They are incredibly low in fat and calories, very filling, and happen to be vegan. All pluses for me.
They are available from Bolani: East and West Gourmet Afghan Food. The company is based in Concord, CA, which is just across of San Francisco in the East Bay. You can order their products online and they will ship anywhere in the US. Perishable products are shipped in insulated styrofoam-lined packages and filled with ice packets.
I decided I had better try to recreate them at home and I am here to share with you the results of that endeavor. This does not represent the East and West Gourmet Food recipe (I have not been in contact with them).
Makes 4 Bolani
For the pastry
2 Cups All-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup cold water
1 tsp olive oil
For the pumpkin filling
1/2 of a 15oz can of pumpkin purée
1/2 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
2 Tbsp finely diced onion
1/4 tsp (I used 1/2 tsp) minced Jalapeño or Serrano Chili pepper
1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
Fresh ground black pepper
Olive oil for frying
1. Mix the flour and salt together in the mixing bowl of a stand-up mixer (if you have one) or just a large bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the water slowly. Add the teaspoon of oil and mix the dough together, kneading it a little until it forms a ball. If the dough doesn’t come together in a ball, add a little bit more water. Once the dough is formed, using the dough hook of your stand-up mixer (or doing it by hand), knead it for 10 minutes. Cover the dough with a cloth and let it rest for 1 hour.
2. In the meantime, prepare your ingredients for the pumpkin filling. Mix together all of the ingredients either in a bowl, or in a food processor to ensure that they are fully blended.
3. Once the dough has rested for an hour, divide into 4 balls. Flour a large, wooden cutting board and roll out the dough into a flat disc with a rolling pin. It should be about 10 inches in diameter and as thin as you can make it. Spread 2-3 Tbsp of the pumpkin mixture on one half of the dough circle, leaving a small border around the edge and the other half empty. Fold over the dough and press it together to form a seal. Repeat for the remaining 3 balls.
4. Heat about ¼ cup of oil in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. Make sure that the pan is just hot enough so that the bolani will sizzle when it hits the pan. Brown the bolani about 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. They can either be served immediately, or for a party, you can slice them into appetizer slices and serve them a little warmer than room temperature.