Bread with herbs
But time has passed and now only those young ladies, who are really interested in cuisine, in general, and who want to preserve the traditions of their homeland, know how to cook them. Meanwhile, there is a healthy competition among the older generation: any housewife is sure, she is the one who cooks it right and best.
Anya Grigoryan is joking: ‘I bake Zhengyalov hats as far back as I can remember. And I eat only those, that I bake myself. Anya, 64, is proud of her flatbreads; she says, the cooking process is a real ritual, that her grandmother taught her when she was young.
Here is the recipe of ‘bread with herbs’ from Anya. She chops 13 types of herbs, that are thoroughly rinsed and dried in advance. That’s the whole point or the problem of preparing it. The thing is that Karabakh housewives use probably up to 20 different types of herbs. At the same time, as they claim, part of them grow in their place. As for the remaining part, they name them in their native dialect. This makes it impossible to understand, what it is all about, unless you are familiar with greens like a professional botanist.
Thus, we have to be content with listing the kinds of greens, that we managed to recognize. That is: coriander, fennel, nettle, beet greens (only leaves without stalks, so as to avoid the flatbreads turning red), sorrel, horse sorrel, spinach. However, any housewife can add to this list her own preferences, except for parsley. There is no place for it here.
Anya adds finely chopped onion, some vegetable oil, sault and pepper into a bowl with herbs. She says, some housewives also add into stuffing some pomegranate seeds and sour lavash made of plums.
The dough is very simple: it includes only water, flour and salt. Having kneaded the dough, Anna leaves it for half an hour, then divides it into pieces and rolls them out. That’s where another danger lies in: the dough should be neither thick not thin so that its surface wouldn’t tear. The green stuffing is laid on half of the rolled out dough and is covered with another half, gently crimping the edges.
Flatbreads are baked on a red-hot pan, on both sides – we don’t have to wait long. As they are baked they smell incredibly tasty and one can smell it even in the yard. The locals easily recognize the smell of a favorite dish, so close and familiar since childhood.
Anya particularly noted that Zhengyalov hats should be served with red wine. Have a nice cooking!