Did you know that Armenians don’t eat breakfast, lunch or dinner?
Armenians sit down to “eat bread”. This is how the Armenian language describes every meal. And the bread will be lavash, freshly baked in a clay oven – tonir.
Today we will share with you a recipe, but not lavash – this we will learn in the camp, just like in the photo from last year’s session, but another traditional Armenian flatbread – zhingyalov hats, which means “bread with herbs”.
It is thought that the most delicious and authentic “bread with herbs” is cooked in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). Although zhingyalov hats is similar to qutab, it differs in that this large, thin flatbread is made exclusively with herbs.
The filling includes more than twenty kinds of herbs: kndzmndzuk, paravi port, churchrock, karn akan, simsiman, leaves from mountain violets, green onions, cilantro, beet greens, basil, mountain cilantro, chickweed, spinach, sorrel, dill and many other wild and common herbs.
In addition to its gastronomic value, this dish has another, more sacred meaning. The whole family often takes part in the preparation: someone collects and cuts the herbs, someone kneads and rolls the dough, someone puts in the filling and pinches the edges. It’s not a quick business, so it always becomes an occasion to gather the family, chat, exchange news and spend time together.
So, get the family together and we’ll make “bread with herbs”!
Zhingyalov hats recipe with matsun
- We need to head to the market and get as many seasonal herbs as we can find, one bunch each, (it’s unlikely we’ll find 20 different sorts), but we'll use the right proportions: the majority should be fresh grasses, and herbs with a pronounced taste like cilantro and parsley should be used more sparingly. It’s better to eat while it’s hot, as the flavours of the grasses come out, and, of course, don’t forget to dip it in yoghurt – matsun.
- Knead a dense, elastic dough (1 kg of flour per 600 ml of water) and leave to rest.
- Finely chop the greens, add a little vegetable oil (100 g), salt, pepper to taste.
- Roll out the dough on a baking sheet or pan, spread the filling in the middle and smooth out to the edges.
- Place in the oven or cook on a dry pan on both sides for about 15 minutes.
- When eating, dip it in matsun, sit back and smile from the sheer pleasure of it all.