Jingalov Hats Armenian Flatbread Stuffed with Greens and Feta
The spring is finally here, and the only thing I want to do is cooking with all the fantastic produce that’s in season right now. To be honest, I got a bit over-excited and stocked my fridge with an immense amount of luscious greens and herbs. When I realized I need to utilize all of that crop before it turns into brown mush, the fabulous Jingalov Hats instantly came to mind.
Jingalov Hats is the Armenian flatbread stuffed with herbs and fried on a dry skillet. It’s a very rustic dish that people in Armenia cook in spring and summer when fresh produce is abundant. They even forage for some wild greens such as stinging nettle and saltbush to bring in more flavor to their bread. Using wild herbs sounds lovely, but this time I’ve decided to stick with whatever I had in my fridge, plus adding some non-traditional ingredient – Bulgarian Feta. Because for me, cheese and flatbread is a match made in heaven.
The dough for this pan-fried stuffed bread is yeastless and has only three ingredients: flour, water, and salt. It’s very straightforward to make. The only important thing is to let it rest for about 20 to 30 minutes. This way, the gluten relaxes, and the dough will be much easier to roll. You will fry these flatbreads on a large, dry, hot skillet. No oil is needed. No worries, since the pan is hot and the dough is very dry, it won’t stick.
It’s good to have a variety of herbs with different flavor and texture profiles to keep the taste interesting. For this amount of dough, you will need 4 cups of chopped and tightly packed herbs and greens. When I made my Jingalov Hats I used three groups of greens: 1) pearl lettuce and baby spinach – juicy and fairly neutral in flavor; 2) chopped green onion – for pleasant pungency and texture; 3) qual parts of strong aromatic herbs such as Thai basil, mint, dill, and cilantro. But that’s what I had in the fridge that day. You can use whatever fresh herbs and greens you have. Since the dough is plain and basic, the stuffing is the main flavoring component – the taste will vary depending on which blend of herbs you’ve used.
Note: It’s essential to firmly pinch the seam to seal it securely. Otherwise, the stuffing will be all over your skillet.
I served my Jingalov Hats fresh from the skillet with a bowl of hearty Georgian Lobio and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. A wonderfully delicious mix of cultures!
- 1 1/2 cups all-pupose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 4 cups chopped herbs and greens, firmly packed (spinach, cilantro, parsley, kale, basil, mint, dill etc.)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, I used sunflower
- 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 if using salty feta cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon black ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 7 oz crumbled feta
- Sift the flour into a bowl, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and gradually add water. Start mixing the dough until it comes together. Then dust the working surface with more flour and transfer the dough and knead it with your hands until you get a smooth and elastic dough, about 5 minutes. Shape it into a ball and transfer back to the bowl. Cover with a plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix the chopped herbs with oil, the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, black pepper, and cayenne; set aside.
- If you want larger flatbreads, divide the dough into 3 tennis ball-size pieces. If you want smaller - split into 4 equal parts. Working one ball of dough at a time, roll it into a very thin disk. It should be lavash or tortilla-like thin.
- Evenly spread a generous amount of herbs over the dough, leaving about 1 inch untouched. Top with feta crumbs. Carefully bring two opposite sides of the disk together and pinch them firmly to seal all the way and shape a boat-like flatbread. Gently press it with your palms to flatten. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Heat a large frying pan over medium-high. Lower the heat to medium and fry one Jingalov Hats at a time on a dry skillet, until it get dark brown blisters, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
- Transfer to a platter and repeat with the remaining flatbread.