Jingalov Hats (Flatbreads Filled with Greens)
Source: Kate Leahy, John Lee, and Ara Zada, Lavash
“Hats” is bread in Armenian, and this particular “hats” is a flatbread filled with greens, many of which are foraged and some only grow in Transcaucasia. We learned how to make it while researching recipes for our book Lavash—nearly everyone we met in Armenia told us we had to visit Artsakh (also known as Nagorno Karabakh) to try jingalov hats for ourselves. There, we met the women in the central Stepanakert market who sell it in stacks for people to take home. Last fall, a war broke out over the territory, and families fled, relocating in Armenia. There, they’re now working with new greens to continue the tradition of this bread. In Yerevan, the capital city, people form long lines to place their orders.
To make the flatbread, you will need a heaping eight cups of chopped greens, so it’s a great recipe to make when you have a lot of greens on hand and don’t know what to do with them all. We recommend washing all the greens and letting them dry ahead of time to make the chopping easier. When it’s time to make the bread, first mix the dough and let it rest while you chop the greens. Aim for a combination of neutral or earthy greens, sour greens, and herbs. Neutral greens include beet greens, chard, collards, or spinach. Herbs include anything from chervil, cilantro, dill, and parsley. Sour greens can be anything from dandelion greens, to sorrel and watercress. If you run out of greens, you have a couple of options: roll out the extra dough and griddle it to make unleavened lavash.
2/3 cup [140 ml] water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups [210 g] all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
8 cups [440 g] sliced greens and herbs such as:
4 cups neutral greens, such as beet greens, chard, or spinach
2 cups fragrant herbs, such as dill, cilantro, tarragon, flat-leaf parsley, and chervil
2 cups sour greens and herbs, such as sorrel, dandelion greens, watercress, and radish greens
3 green onions, sliced (white and green parts)
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons [22 ml] sunflower oil or other neutral oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Make the dough: In a large bowl, combine the water and salt. Add the flour, one cup at a time, mixing with your hands to incorporate. Knead briefly in the bowl. (It’s okay if it’s slightly sticky at this point.)
Dust a work surface with flour. Turn the dough out onto the surface and knead until the dough is still starting to become smooth, about 4 minutes. Roll the dough into a ball, put in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, and let it rest while you chop the greens and herbs. It will soften and become smoother as it rests.
After at least 20 minutes (or up to an hour), place the dough on the floured surface and divide into 4 equal pieces. Cupping your hand over each piece, roll into balls.
Mix the filling: Mix of the greens with paprika, salt, red pepper flakes, oil, and lemon juice, mixing well with a spoon or your hands to ensure everything is seasoned.
Shape the jingalov hats: Lightly dust the counter. Pat a ball of dough into a round. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a thin circle about 8 inches [20 cm] in diameter.
Place 2 cups of the filling to the center of the dough circle. Pick up two sides of the circle and pinch them together over the center of the filling almost like sealing pie crust. Continue to pinch the edges together from top to bottom so that the middle is wide and the ends form points. When you get to the end, tuck in the tip so it’s sealed but ensure that there are greens through to tip.
Firmly press the seam with the edge of your hand to ensure the dough is sealed. Turn over and flatten the dough with the palm of your hand so that it resembles a deflated football. It should be between 1/4- to 1/2-inch [6- to 12-mm] thick. If thicker, roll with a rolling pin to flatten.
Cook the jingalov hats: Heat a 20-inch [50-cm] cast-iron griddle or pan over medium-high heat. Put the fill dough, seam-side down, in the center. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes until it is evenly brown. Flip over and continue to cook on the remaining side for another 2 minutes. If the dough still seems a little pale or raw, adjust the heat to medium-high and continue to cook the flatbread, flipping it over now and again so it cooks evenly. While the first flatbread cooks, start rolling out the dough for the second jingalov hats.
Using a spatula, transfer the cooked flatbread to a serving platter and serve warm or at room temperature. Alternatively, cool completely and freeze, reheating from frozen in a hot oven for several minutes until hot.
Recipe used with permission from Lavash: The Bread that Launched 1000 Meals, plus Salads, Stews, and other Recipes from Armenia, by Kate Leahy, John Lee, and Ara Zada. Photo by John Lee.