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Monday, April 7, 2014

Jingalov Hats (Lavash bread stuffed with herbs) – a Specialty from Artsakh (Karabagh)





Rustic-looking Jingalov Hats
After reading a recipe for Jingalov (Djingialov) Hats in the AGBU cookbook, “Flavors with History – Armenian Cuisine”, I thought it might be interesting to try. It’s another Lenten-appropriate (vegan) recipe, and a reminder that it’s springtime. 

With the bounty of fresh herbs currently available in our local farmers’ markets, gathering the necessary filling ingredients was no problem.

One source suggested using 20 different herbs, another said as many as 40 could be added to this bread. 
20? 40? Really?? Well, I suppose you could, but that sounds like herbal overkill to me.

Creativity is key. Mix-and-match your favorite herbs; there are no set rules with this recipe. Use what’s available in your area, and what herbs you enjoy.

Wanting to be able to taste the individual herbs with each bite, I limited my herb selection to 5 - mint, tarragon, cilantro, thyme, and sage.  (I understand that I violated a rule in this “no rules” recipe, by adding thyme to the mix. What can I say?)

To learn more about Jingalov Hats, read what my friend, LenaTachdjian, has to say on this subject.

For the record, it is highly recommended to eat jingalov hats while sipping a good red wine.

A Warning about Making the Dough
Dough scraper and extra flour
It is imperative that the dough is rolled out as thinly as humanly possible without having it adhere to the work surface. Keep a bowl of extra flour (bench flour) and a dough or bench scraper handy. You’ll be glad you did!
If the dough tears, and undoubtedly it will, don’t panic. Just pinch it with your floured fingers to repair any holes.

Cooking Techniques
Technically, it's best to cook this on a tonir, but since we don’t own one, and never will, I used a 12-inch non-stick skillet coated with vegetable spray, and prepared it on the stove top. One source recommended cooking this on a preheated, inverted wok over a gas stove. So, if you have a wok – and - a gas stove, that could be an option.


Jingalov Hats (Djingialov Hats)
Yields 4 loaves

Fresh Herbs
Herb Filling:
Fresh herb assortment to yield about 3 cups – or more (Ex: mint, parsley, cilantro, sage, thyme, rosemary, oregano, savory, dill, etc.)
A light sprinkling of Kosher salt
Drizzle of olive oil
Herb Directions:
1. Wash and spin-dry or towel-dry the herbs.
2. Coarsely chop the herb assortment, and sprinkle with salt to taste, but don’t over-do it. Add a drizzle of olive oil. Mix together.
3. Set aside until ready to use.

Dough Balls

Dough Ingredients:
3 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup water
Dough Directions:
1. Mix together flour, salt, oil and water to form a dough. If the dough seems too dry, add a bit more water. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour at a time.
2. Knead until dough is smooth.
3. Divide dough into 4 equal-sized balls.
4. On a very well-floured work surface, roll each ball into a very thin circle or rectangle – as though you were making lavash. The shape tends to be more rustic than uniform.

NOTE: If the dough is rolled too thick or if it isn't cooked long enough, the inner part will be doughy. This is a tricky balance that requires practice.
Rolled dough with herb filling

Assembling and Cooking Directions:
1. Place enough of the herb filling to almost cover one of the circles. Do not spread it all the way to the edge of the dough.
2. Fold the dough over the herb mixture, pinching the dough closed. Gently re-roll the dough to secure the herbs into the dough.
3. Coat a large non-stick skillet with vegetable spray, and bring to a medium to medium-high heat.
4. Place filled dough in skillet and cook on until brown spots appear on the dough’s surface. Carefully flip and cook on the second side. 
 

                                               
Herbs encased in dough


Stove top cooking method
To Serve: As an appetizer, cut into portions, and eat with your hands – OR - eat the entire piece yourself.
Don’t forget the red wine!

2 comments:

  1. dear Lena Tachdjian,
    the jingalov hats is never cooked in tonir. have you heard about SAJ???? it's like a bulging tray, on the fire. so as you have prepared it on a non-stick pen, it's wonderful.
    the people of Artsakh used to put HONACHIR (dried Cornus) or GSOKHUR (Berberis vulgaris) in it. you can add some sumak instead of them to give some sour taste.

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  2. Dear Lena,
    thank you for adding "Jingyalov hats" to the cooking book!
    I am from Artsakh and live in Washington DC. You blog helped me to explain to my colleagues how I made it myself. I made my own Jingyalov hats for the first time yesterday and it turned out rather well.
    I have seen my mom and my grandmas cooking it many times, but I have never tried it myself.
    For the greens I used spinach, chervil, kale, chard (green part of red beets), cilantro, sorrel, green and yellow onions. And instead of "saj" which is usually made from cast iron I used my big cast iron pan.

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