The Food Desert Project: Bolani Kadu (Persian Pumpkin Turnovers)

The Food Desert Project: Bolani Kadu (Persian Pumpkin Turnovers)

Whenever autumn rolls around, I stockpile cans of pumpkin puree – not the “pumpkin pie filling” that has who knows what added, but the plain stuff.  I love baking with it, and for Halloween breakfast I’d made pumpkin muffins and added a jam swirl to the batter, which used 1 cup of pumpkin.  Terrific.

Of course that left me with – according to the Libby’s website – an annoying 3/4 cup of pumpkin.  If you apply the buy-enough-hotdogs-to-fill-the-buns theory, I’d have to multiply my recipe by 7 to come out even.  This offends the thrifty Scottish eighth of me soo deeply that I set out into the internets to find a better solution.

We tend to think of both purees and pumpkins as part of dessert, but there are many uses for canned pumpkin – most often, this time of year you will find it as a base for pumpkin soup.  Considering my penchant for turnovers and hand-pies (Ahem.Cough.Err.. Harrumph) it is no wonder that my friend’s excellent suggestion of Bolani Kadu immediately caught my eye, especially considering how relatively simple they are.

I am fairly certain that food deserts don’t offer eggroll skins or wonton wrappers…but, for the record, apparently Afgan mothers have been known to use flour tortillas glued with a bit of raw flour and water – and after I’d made them from scratch, I realize this is a viable shortcut…but I’m all about the hands-on, so here’s my scratch version:

To make the dough, I followed this recipe, so I won’t reprint it here, except to note that I would add a tablespoon of oil rather than a teaspoon, and a full teaspoon of salt.  Following the instructions, I kneaded the ingredients with my KitchenAid for 10 minutes, and let it rest for 1 hour.

After I had completed the kneading, I combined the following:

2 tablespoons white wine
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1/2 tablespoon chili flakes
1/4 tsp granulated onion
1/8 tsp granulated garlic (or jarred garlic)
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt

010Mix these together, microwave for 30 seconds and set aside for the remainder of the hour the dough is resting.  When the dough is rested, combine the wine mixture with the pumpkin (Remember? The 3/4 cup of pumpkin puree that started this whole post?) and divide the mixture into four parts.

Divide the dough into four balls.  Using a rolling pin, roll each ball out into a flat circle – about the circumference of your frying pan.  If you are having difficulty getting the stiff dough to roll thin, after your initial pass, roll it all the way around the rolling pin and roll pin and dough together with heavy pressure.

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Trim as necessary.  Dab water on the outside edge of half the circle, and spread the half with the pumpkin mixture, taking care to keep it away from your wet edge.  Fold the bolani in half, creating a semicircle, and press down on the edge to seal it.

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Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil or other oil in a frying pan.  When the oil smokes (you will need to carefully regulate the heat, olive oil has a low smoke point) slide in the bolani.  Fry for about 2-3 minutes on each side, until your bolani is bubbly, crispy, and golden brown.  Cut into wedges and serve!  Nutrition information.


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