Boolawnee, or fried leek pastries, are delicious appetizers that come from Afghanistan. They are easy and quick to make, and my family members absolutely loved them. The dough is a simple mix of flour and water. The leek filling only contains leeks, salt, vegetable oil, and chili powder. 5 ingredients for an absolutely scrumptious appetizer? Count me in!
I chose to serve boolawnee— fried leek pastries– as the appetizer to my Afghanistan meal.Originally, I wasn’t planning on serving them, or any other appetizers, to my guests. However, after looking over the menu the day before the meal, I felt that I was missing something. I decided last minute to serve these boolawnee, and I think I definitely made the right call!
My aunt and cousin joined my mom, brother, and I for the kickoff of The Foreign Fork cooking experience. Around 7:30 pm, everyone gathered in my kitchen to talk, laugh, and catch up. As we were chatting, I was cooking the eggplant for the bouranee baunjaun and struggling to get this boolawnee on the table. Luckily, I had prepped the dumplings a few hours before, so once my guests arrived, I just heated up the oil and fried these little guys to perfection.
Once I had a steaming plate of dumplings, I put them out on the table alongside a bowl of chakah (garlicky yogurt sauce). I turned around to give a little TLC to my vegetables cooking on the stove. By the time I turned back around, all 18 of the boolawnee were completely gone. I swear, there’s no bigger compliment that a cook can get.
This recipe was supposed to make enough for 32 boolawnee, but I only ended up being able to get about 22 out of it. First, the amount of dough allowed for only about 28 or so dumplings. Then, because I was trying to make as many dumplings as possible, the dough ended up really thin. Because of this, a lot of the boolawnee broke before they could be cooked.
To remedy this problem, I recommend attempting to make about 22-24 dumplings instead of 32. This way, each dumpling can have more filling and the dough can be a little thicker. Additionally, as you are assembling the dumplings, do so on a dish towel. Assembling the dumplings on the countertop like I did will cause the dough to stick to the surface and rip. The dumplings that I left to rest on dish towels were infinitely more beautiful than the ones I had to peel off of the granite countertop.
I had already pre-made the yogurt sauce for my bouranee baunjaun, so I put a few cups of it out with the pastries. This was a great idea, and everyone loved having the yogurt as a dipping sauce!
With these few tweaks, I’m sure that your boolawnee will be an even BIGGER hit than mine were! Try them out, and let me know in the comments below how it goes.
Boolawnee (Fried Leek Pastries)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup cold water
- 2 leeks, about 3 cups chopped
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- 3 tsp vegetable oil
- vegetable oil for deep frying
Chakah (Garlicky Yogurt Sauce
- 1 cup plain, unflavored yogurt
- 2-3 cloves garlic crushed
- Sift flour and salt together in a large bowl.
- Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour water into the center.
- Mix to a firm dough and knead for 5 minutes until elastic. Wrap in plastic wrap and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
- Cut off and discard most of the green tops from the leeks. Wash remaining portion of leeks thoroughly, making sure to wash between each leaf to remove leftover soil. Chop.
- Add salt and chili powder to leeks and knead by hand to soften leeks. Stir in oil.
- Roll pieces of dough into thin, 4-inch rounds. Fill each circle with even amount of filling. While preparing/assembling each pastry, leave dough on a dish towel so that they do not stick to the counter.
- Fold pastry in half and wet edges with water. Use a finger to press the edges of the pastry together. You can also use a thimble or a fork to press the edges together, but I found that this looked messier than simply using your fingers.
- Heat vegetable oil in a skillet.
- In a separate bowl, combine all chakah ingredients together. Set aside.
- Fry three or four dumplings at a time in hot oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve hot or warm.