Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lipyoshka and Ham & Cheese Pockets from Scratch

Let me introduce you to my nemesis. My arch enemy. My love. My weakness. To us, its heaven. Its lovely. Its delicious. Its even beautiful with its flowery center. But because it goes straight to your hips and its impossible to stop eating it, its the devil in disguise. Its evil.

Its all so confusing, isn't it?

For those of you that do not live in Tajikistan, let me introduce you to lipyoshka (as its known in Russian) or non (as its called in Tajik). Its a traditional bread made in a hot tandir oven. I'll do a post soon on how its made, sold and revered.

This implement is used to make the decorative flower in the center. I believe it allows the round bread to cook evenly without an undercooked center.

In our household, it is an after school tradition to buy one or two lipyoshka on the way home for an afternoon snack. The only way it makes its way home untouched is if its finger-burning hot straight out of the oven. In that case, its delicately tossed back and forth from one hand to the next until I can toss it onto the passenger seat next to me.

Its a communal bread, meant to be broken by hand. Let Sparkly Girl #1 show you how its done! [Please ignore the wonky frames in the background. They've been like that since 1998].

And consumed.

This day I bought one lipyoshka and one "testa", or dough. Uncooked lipyoshka.

The promise that this bag holds for me on a busy day is endless. When dinnertime is fast approaching and not a thing is prepared, this is my Go-To ingredient. Many a pizza has been made with this dough.

Once heaved onto your work surface, knead it a few times into a smooth ball and let it rest for 20 minutes.

Now you can take this in a multitude of directions. Think monkey bread. Think dinner rolls. Think foccacia. Think bread sticks.

After a quick assessment of the contents of a near-empty fridge, I decided to take the ham-and-cheese hot pocket route. I thinly sliced some mozzarella and some fine looking ham.

I divided the dough into four pieces and formed those into dough balls.

Then I rolled each dough ball into a sort of circle, about 6 - 8 inches in diameter.

Then I stacked some ham and cheese in the center.

I folded the narrow sides in, like a burrito.

Then brought the sides in and pinched tightly to seal.

I placed the stuffed dough balls seam side down on a non-stick silpat mat covered cookie sheet and hunted for a warm spot in our cold house. The plug in radiator works just fine.

Cover them with a kitchen towel and let them rise again. This took about 30 minutes. Look, I think that's a female hot pocket on the left.

Then I tossed them into a 350 oven for about 20 minutes until they looked like this.

The girls devoured them. Sparkly Girl #2 ate one for lunch the next day as well and upon consuming the first one she immediately asked for another.

Not bad for a last minute kids' dinner!


John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

Where did you get ham? Those look delicious.

A Broad Living Abroad said...

John - I got the ham at Paikar earlier in the week. It's the real deal -- not the super salty pressed turkey "ham". Makes a huge difference.

John said...

At Paikar? Will have to try this week...