This recipe/variation is based on Zhengyalov Hats, a specialty of Karabakh region in Armenia. My friend wrote about this flat bread in Russian: “It is not another meal or another traditional flatbread recipe with leafy vegetables. Zhengyalov Hats is a symbol.” She quoted: “The main purpose of its preparation is to unite once again to make a family meal together, to talk about all pressing matters, to exchange news.” Teaching this cooking class is my way to pay respect to the symbolic meaning of Zhengyalov Hats.
To make Zhengyalov Hats, unleavened dough is rolled as thin as paper, stuffed with a mixture of 10-20 different varieties of wild and garden chopped greens, and cooked on hot saj. A mix of greens and herbs is crucial to creating well-balanced flavor. Most of the greens should be easy on taste buds, mild — lettuce, spinach, beet leaves, chard, and similar. There should be a moderate amount of greens with pronounced flavor, like pungent green onions and garlic or sour sorrel. It also requires quite a bit of bitter greens, such as dandelion or arugula. Cheese and fried onions are sometimes added.
The dough for the traditional recipe is “poor” — wheat flour, water, and salt. Some cooks like it enriched with fermented dairy products. I like it with whole milk and egg yolk. Either variation is good.
Mix-and-match your favorite herbs. There are no set rules. Use what’s available in your area and what herbs you prefer to your taste.
Mix all the ingredients and knead a soft and smooth dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for 45 minutes or refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Wash, dry, and chop finely all leafy vegetables and herbs. Crumble feta and mix it with greens. Portion the stuffing by making 2" diameter balls.
for shaping and cooking
Dust your working surface with some flour. Shape the dough into a cylinder ~2" diameter.
Divide it into 6 equal portions.
Flatten each portion.
Using a rolling pin, make each portion twice larger in diameter.
Using a rolling pin, make each portion 1/5" (3-4mm) thin, place stuffing in the center, and pinch the edges together to secure it. Make sure there are no air pockets between the dough and the stuffing. Flatten the flatbread with your fingers and roll it thinner. You will see the stuffing through a thin layer of the dough. Watch instructional video How To Shape and Cook Stuffed Flatbread.
Preheat dry frying pan, seasoned cast iron or heavy-bottomed non-stick preferred. Have a stick of butter handy. Cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side. Lightly brush the top of cooked flatbread with butter right after cooking.
Pile cooked flatbread on a serving plate to keep them warm. Enjoy!