Bichak – Afghani Stuffed Savoury and Sweet Pastries

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Bichak is a stuffed baked tricornered appetiser served in Jewish (Kosher), Afghan, Middle Eastern, and Moroccan cuisine. It is often served during tea or coffee hour. Bichak can be stuffed with pumpkin and jam for a sweet taste, or meat and cheese for a savoury addition to a lunch. Bichak are also popular because they can be prepared in large quantities.

Bichak - Afghani Stuffed Savoury and Sweet Pastries

These triangular baked pastries come in both sweet and savoury versions and are perfect as appetizers or with a cup of tea. The main recipe here is for meat (gosht) bichak, but try the pumpkin, cheese or jam versions too.
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Course: Pastries
Cuisine: Afghani
Servings: 40
Author: The Cook

Ingredients

For the dough

  • ¼ cup lukewarm <em>, 45°C</em> water
  • 7 g package active dry yeast
  • cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • cups water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 egg yolks

For meat <em>(gosht)</em> filling

  • 2 - 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 450 g lamb or beef mince
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Mix the lukewarm water and yeast together in a small bowl and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes to activate the yeast.
  • Add 3 cups of the flour and the salt to large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the yeast mixture, 1¼ cups water, beaten egg and oil. Stir with a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients and bring the dough together.
  • Remove the dough to a floured work surface and knead, adding extra flour as needed, until the dough is no longer sticking to your hands and is silky and elastic.
  • Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and set in a warm corner until doubled in size, about 1½ to 2 hours.
  • While the dough is rising, make the meat filling. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high flame. Add the onions and saute until they are cooked down and translucent, 4 or 5 minutes.
  • Add the ground meat and saute, breaking up large chunks, until cooked through, another 6 or 7 minutes. Drain any excess fat, season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.
  • Preheat oven to 175°C. Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface and punch it down with your fists to deflate it. Cut the dough in two and roll the out half the dough into a rectangle about 6 mm thick.
  • Use a cookie cutter or large glass to cut the dough into 7½ - 10 cm rounds. Place 1 or 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture into the middle of a round. Fold the bottom of the dough up over the filling then fold down the top on each side to form a triangle. Pinch the edges together to form a seam and seal in the filling. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
  • Place the bichak on a greased baking sheet. Beat the egg yolks with a little water and and brush the top of each pastry with the egg wash. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the pastries are lightly browned and cooked through.

Notes

Stir some diced, cooked potatoes into the meat filling.
Kadu Bichak (Pumpkin-filled bichak) : Saute a finely chopped onion and 1 teaspoon of ground cumin in 2 or 3 tablespoons of oil until translucent. Stir in 425 g of pumpkin puree and season to taste with salt and pepper. For a sweeter version, eliminate the cumin and add 2 tablespoons of sugar. To use fresh pumpkin, simmer the pumpkin or butternut squash in a little water until it is cooked through, then drain and mash.
Paner Bichak (Cheese-filled bichak) : Beat 450 g of farmer's cheese with 1 egg, 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1 or 2 teaspoon of cinnamon.
Fruit Bichak : For a sweet fruit filling, mix 2 cups of your favorite jam or preserves with ½ cup of breadcrumbs.
Leftover bichak freeze well. Thaw out for 30 minutes, then reheat in a 175°C oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 0g | Calories: 0kcal | Carbohydrates: 0g | Protein: 0g | Fat: 0g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 0mg | Potassium: 0mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 0g | Vitamin A: 0IU | Vitamin C: 0mg | Calcium: 0mg | Iron: 0mg
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