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Bolani With Morgh Kofta and Chutney Sabz (Afghan Stuffed Flatbread With Chicken)

Bolani With Morgh Kofta and Chutney Sabz (Afghan Stuffed Flatbread With Chicken) 6.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Marie Ostrosky for The Washington Post

Dec 9, 2020

This fried stuffed flatbread, called bolani, is best fresh out of the pan. Author Durkhanai Ayubi writes the hand-rolled breads are typically prepared with family and friends and fried on a traditional Afghan flat-iron pan called a tawah.

The bolani can be packed with an assortment of fillings, such as chives and cilantro, mashed spiced potatoes or winter squash. Here, ground chicken and diced onion is mixed with aromatics and just enough ground red pepper to make you reach for the bowl of bright, tangy, herbaceous chutney sabz or cool yogurt.

The dough comes together quickly and needs two brief rises on the countertop before it can be rolled out, stuffed with the morgh kofta and pan fried until golden brown and crisp on the outside. Enjoy the bolani as a snack or a full meal — or with a cup of sweet tea, as Ayubi suggests.

Make Ahead: The dough needs enough time to rise twice, first time for 30 minutes and another for about 10 minutes. This recipe has been updated to adjust the heat level for frying the bolani.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6 servings

  • For the bolani
  • 3 3/4 cups (485 grams) all-purpose flour, or more as necessary
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 milliliters) lukewarm water, or more as necessary
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil, plus more for oiling the bowl and frying
  • For the morgh kofta filling
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pound (454 grams) ground chicken (preferably dark meat)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground red pepper, such as cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • For the chutney sabz
  • 1 large handful fresh mint leaves
  • 1 large handful fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 2 fresh long green chiles, such as serrano, coarsely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Plain yogurt, for serving (optional)


Make the bolani dough: In a medium bowl, stir the flour, salt and yeast to combine. Create a well in the center of the mixture and slowly add enough water to just wet the ingredients, about 1/4 cup (60 milliliters), mixing with your hands in a circular motion to distribute evenly.

While continuing to mix, add the oil, then slowly add the remaining water (you may not need all of it) and knead until the dough is firm. If the dough feels too dry, add a little more water; if it feels too wet, add a bit more flour.

Oil the inside of another medium bowl. Shape the dough into a ball, place it in the bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Set the dough aside to rest for about 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Make the filling: While the dough is resting, in a large skillet over high heat, heat the oil until just shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft and golden, 4 to 6 minutes.

Add the ground chicken, salt, garlic powder, red pepper, coriander and black pepper and stir to combine well. Cook, stirring, until the chicken is cooked through but not overly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a colander set over a bowl and drain any excess oil.

Make the chutney: Rinse the mint and cilantro and put them, along with the chiles and garlic, into a food processor or blender and process into a coarse paste. Add the lime juice, vinegar, water and salt and pulse to just combine.

Return to the dough: Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Divide the dough into 6 equal portions and shape each into a small ball with your hands. Place them on the baking sheet, at least 2 inches apart. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside to rest for 10 minutes, or until they almost double in size.

On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin (or wine bottle), roll out one ball of dough into a circle 5 to 6 inches in diameter. It may take a little practice to roll it into an even circle, but working from the center of the dough outward will help achieve the right shape. Once the dough is rolled out, place about 1/4 cup of the chicken filling on one half of the dough circle and spread it evenly to cover half, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Fold the empty half of the circle over the filling to form a semicircle, firmly press the edges together to seal. (If you find it difficult to seal the seam, lightly wet your fingers and run them around the perimeter of the dough circle, then seal.)

Repeat with the remaining dough and filling until you have six filled and sealed semicircles.

Line a wire rack or baking sheet with paper towels.

In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat, add just enough oil to cover the base of the pan and heat until shimmering.  Working in batches, lift the bolani carefully into the pan and fry, turning once, until golden brown and crisp, about 4 minutes on each side. (Depending on your pan and stovetop, you may need to increase the heat to high and then cut down the frying time by about one minute per side. Keep a close eye on the bolani to keep them from scorching.)

Transfer the bolani to the rack or baking sheet to drain away any extra oil.

Serve hot with the chutney and plain yogurt, if using.

Recipe Source

Adapted from “Parwana: Recipes and Stories from an Afghan Kitchen” by Durkhanai Ayubi (Interlink Books, 2020).

Tested by Matt Brooks.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 487

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 15g 23%

Saturated Fat: 3g 15%

Cholesterol: 65mg 22%

Sodium: 795mg 33%

Total Carbohydrates: 65g 22%

Dietary Fiber: 3g 12%

Sugar: 1g

Protein: 22g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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