Friday, June 1, 2012

Azerbaijan - the kutaby

On Sunday, I had only one thing planned - cooking Azerbaijani food with my family. I had imagined us all in the kitchen leisurely rolling meatballs, threading kebabs, kneading dough and chopping salads.

But some days just end up topsy turvy. After some unexpected (but lovely) distractions, we didn't get home until after 4pm. I had no intention of not cooking our feast, so it was all hands on deck. The whole family did end up in the kitchen together; rolling meatballs, threading kebabs, kneading dough and chopping salads. It just wasn't as leisurely as I had hoped.

The kutaby was the last thing that was prepared, honestly, it was touch and go - would it ready in time? (really, who did not read that you had to knead the dough to 15 minutes and then rest it for 30?) By delegating some easy jobs to my little helpers, we managed to get all of the food on the table at the same time.

This was not something I have made before and preparing it was rushed. Having said that, the flavours were delicious, maybe not to everyone's taste, but to me - yum! My problem with this recipe was the pancake. It was far from pancake-like and didn't look like the picture. I had eaten something similar when I had backpacked through Turkey, the texture had been soft like a flatbread, this is what I had expected. Maybe it is not suppose to be pancake-like?? These were more like an empanada pastry and puffed up in the oven - not like the picture!

Oh! I found that the dough processed in the food processor was very soft and I had to work in quite a bit of extra flour while kneading it on the bench. Could this have been the problem? next time I will add 1/4 of cup of water and then more if needed. I wonder could this make a difference?

I have written the recipe here and I think will play around with it a bit. Like I said, the flavours were yum.

If you have any kutaby tips I would love to hear from you.


Stuffed Pancake

makes 4

for the pancakes

• 1 cup flour
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon butter (melted)
• 1 egg (beaten)
• 1/2 cup water

• beaten egg or water for sealing

For the stuffing

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/4 cup shallots (finely chopped)
• 2⁄3 cup spinach (roughly chopped)
• 2⁄3 cup sorrel (roughly chopped) - if unavailable, use more spinach plus 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
• 1 1/2 tablespoons coriander leaves (finely chopped)
• 1 1/2 tablespoons dill (finely chopped)
• 1 tablespoon dried sour plum paste (lavashana) - if unavailable use 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
• salt and pepper to taste

to serve

• 1/2 cup yoghurt

Preheat oven to 190 degrees. Lightly oil a baking tray. Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan and gently cook the onions for a minute. Add the remaining filling ingredients and cook until well wilted. Remove from heat and stir in the sour plum paste (lemon juice). Season to taste.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, mix flour, salt, butter, egg, and water to make a soft dough. Remove dough. Knead on a floured surface for 10–15 minutes, or until dough is shiny and elastic. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Roll the pastry out to 3 mm thickness. Cut out four circles, about 15cm in diameter. Spread the filling on one half of the circle and fold in half. Seal the edges with a bit of beaten egg. Gently place the kutaby on the baking tray and brush with more egg. Bake for about 25–30 minutes, or until brown. Arrange in a warmed dish and serve with yoghurt for dipping.

This kutaby recipe is from here

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Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to hear what's happening in your kitchen. If you've tried one of my recipes, I'd like to know what you thought? Do you have some advice to make it better? Did you find a mistake? Perhaps it is a new favourite in your home?

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