Armenian Jingalov: A Rising Plant-Based Star

It must be the law of attraction! No doubts.

Last December, I was badly craving Armenian Jingalov hats (a paper-thin bread filled with an assortment of greens), only to wake up the next day to find at our doorstep a Christmas gift sent from a dear Armenian-American couple.

The Christmas gift was “Lavash”, a new epic cookbook that adeptly showcases the rich legacy of Armenian cuisine. The evocative recipes (including the one of Jongalov) and captivating photos artfully brought my days in Armenia back to life.

Less than a year ago,  I was relocated along with our trailing family from Armenia due to my husband’s completion of his three-year overseas tour with the State Department. It was an exceptional tour where we witnessed a historic velvet revolution that toppled a rotten regime and enforced people’s iron will against corruption and nepotism.

Just three weeks after I received the “Lavash” book, The food section at the New York Times celebrated Jingalov in a well-earned laudatory article.

Yesterday it was about time to summon my courage to make my first homemade Jingalov.  The step-by-step recipe in the Lavash book rendered the experience of a piece of cake.

I strongly recommend trying this dish in your kitchen.  If you can crack your egg, you can make Zingalov hands down.

The dough is so easy, and it is just made of three basic ingredients, water, flour, and salt. The filling is an assortment of fresh greens (between ten to twelve different types of herbs) seasoned with pepper, salt, lemon juice, paprika, and drizzled with olive oil.

Due to the fact that the indigenous greens of Armenia don’t exist in Singapore (my current station), I currently live, I picked what I found available in the local market and I was pleasantly surprised with my choices.  You can hardly go wrong with Zingalov, its a fairly forgiving recipe.

A Mix of Fresh Beet Leaves, Spinach, Cilantro, Parsley, Dill, and Spring Onions

keen to keep the authenticity of the dish at bay, my tweaks were pretty subtle.  I added some sumac to the filling (which is not an Armenian pantry ingredient) to bring out the earthy flavors of the spinach and beet leaves and cut throught the plain dough.  In an attempt to make it guilt-free, I mixed whole wheat flour with white flour.

A bottle of Kataro, a fine Armenian wine is all you need next to this healthy snack.

If you have Armenian family or friends, please share this story and follow my IG for more photos from my overseas kitchen.


Jingalov Hats: The Rising Plant-Based Star

 

Recipe adapted from “Lavash” book 

Serves 4 people

INGREDIENTS

For the Dough 

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 warm water
  • a pinch of salt

Filling 

  • 2 cup spinach,
  • 2 cup beet leaves
  • 2 cups swiss chard
  • 1 cup parsley
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 cup dill
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • one clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Half lemon, juiced
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sumac
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • a dash of cayenne (optional)

DIRECTIONS 

  1. Make the dough.  Sift the flours and salt together into a deep mixing bowl, add the water gradually while mixing in the water, until the dough come together. Sprinkle some flour on the counter. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and start kneading it unit a smooth ball is formed. massage it with some olive oil and place it in deep bowel and let it rest for 30 min to one hour.
  2. Prepare the greens.  Mix the greens with spring onions, spices, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and spices.
  3. Assemble the Jingalov.  Divide the dough balls into four equal portions.  Flatten and roll out each dough ball to form a disk of  1/4 in thickness. Fold the two sides of the disk and pinch them together to form what looks like what is described in the “Lavash” book as “deflated football”.
  4. Place a 1/4 cup of the filling in the middle of each disk, pinch the ends together. Pressure with your hand to make sure that the seam is sealed and the center is wider than the ends (see the photo above).
  5. On a hot cast iron pan, place each Jingalov heat until it is slightly charred.
  6. Serve it hot, off the griddle.

NOTES:

  • If you wish for a crispy shell, roll out the dough until it is 1/8 of an inch.

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Former diplomat | Travel & Food Writer | Stauch advocate of Culinary Diplomacy. Find more here: https://cheznermine.com/about/

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