As is typical of old countries with steep terrain, Afghanistan has a wide number of ethnic groups. Its history of being along the silk road has brought in many outside spices and influences in the urban centers. Afghan breakfast, though, is very simple: roht (bread), apricots, pistachios, and yogurt. It is accompanied with tea flavored with cardamon. Roht is a sweet flat bread made chapati flour sprinkled with sesame and kalonji seeds. Kalonji is a seed from a south Asian flower. It is in the same family as buttercups, and is also called black onion seed or black cumin seed. It is not closely related to onion or cumin. We got out roht recipe from Afghan Food and Cookery.
- 8 oz chapati flour
- 2 oz sugar
- 2 tsp yogurt
- 2 fl oz milk
- 2 oz butter
- 2½ g dry active yeast
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- sesame seeds
- kalonji seeds
- 1 egg, beaten
- Melt the butter.
- Mix the flour, sugar, yogurt, milk, butter, yeast, and baking powder in a bowl.
- Mix in half the egg. Reserve the rest for glazing the bread for baking.
- Knead the mixture until you get a doughy consistency. Add more flour to prevent sticking.
- Let the dough rise for 1 hour in a warm place.
- Preheat the oven to 500°F.
- Roll the dough into a loaf shape 1-2 cm thick.
- Brush the dough with the remaining egg and sprinkle with seeds.
- Place the dough on a lightly oiled baking sheet.
- Bake for 5 minutes at 500°F to brown the bread.
- Reduce oven to 250°F and bake until it is done, about 10-15 minutes.
Results and Discussion
Preparation was very simple and quick other than the bread. The roht has a crumbly, cakey quality with a slightly sweet taste. I think our yeast might have been dead as the bread did not rise as much as we expected. I think it would be fluffier and more cakelike if the rise had worked as planned. Still, it was very tasty. It could easily be served as a light desert or a snack at a coffee shop.
We used straned yogurt (often labeled Greek yogurt), which is thick, creamy and not as sour as the lebna. It serves as a nice base for the sweetness of the apricots and the salt of the pistachios.