For lunch today, I had one of my favorite savory pastries, delicious qutab. Every time I am in Baku, I order it when I eat out, and make it with my mother at home. That is how much I like qutab.
Different variations of qutab, served both as an appetizer and main dish, are popular in Azerbaijan and the neighboring countries. The filling for qutab can be both vegetarian, made with pumpkin, herbs or/and cheese, and non-vegetarian, made with ground meat.
In this recipe, the filling is made with herbs and onions. If you would like to add some protein to your qutab, substitute 1 cup of soft cheese for 1 cup of herbs.
Prep: 40 min Cook: 20 min Total: 1 hr
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 cups water
extra flour for dusting
1 medium onions, 1 cup, chopped
1/4 cup butter
1 cup dill, chopped
1 cups cilantro, chopped
1 cup spring onions, chopped
1/2 cup nettle or mint, chopped
1 cup spinach, chopped
salt to taste
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup yogurt or sour cream
1 tbsp sumac (optional)
In a large bowl mix the flour, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the center, and slowly pour in water. Add more water if needed. Knead the dough for 10 minutes until it becomes pliable. The dough is going to be stiff. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
Melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the onions and saute until translucent for 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix the herbs and salt. Then, add in the onions.
After letting the dough rest, shape it into a log and cut into 10 equal parts. Roll these pieces into balls.
Remove 1 ball at a time from underneath the plastic wrap. Place it on a lightly floured surface and pat down. Roll into 1 mm thick 8 inch circle. The thinner you roll it, the better the outcome. With a tip of your finger dipped into water, wet the edges of one half of the circle.
Place 1/3 cup of the filling on that half. Fold the other half over, and lightly press on it to release the air. Then, press on the edges to seal the qutab.
Place the pastry on a preheated griddle or non-stick frying pan. Cook over medium heat flipping it over several times for about 2 minute on each side until golden patches start to appear.
Place it on a platter, and brush the top side with melted butter. Repeat the process with the rest of the dough balls. Stack qutabs on top of each other.
Serve hot with sumac and yogurt.