Lately, I have been thinking about street foods and hand held foods like empanadas, hand pies, samosas, stuffed naans and so many others. Every cuisine seems to have something that involves stuffing dough. This recipe is such a delightful way to eat buns, carry them on your picnics and road trips or just serve for a savory tea time treat with a side of chutney.
This is a vegetarian version but made robust with the black lentils and the caramelized onions add the sweetness and so much flavor. I have a beautiful Harissa paste from a local Lebanese market that worked really well in this recipe.
I have use Spelt but Whole Wheat flour will work perfectly.
For the buns
- 1 cup warm milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 pkg Active Dry Yeast
- 2 cup all purpose flour
- 2 cups spelt flour ( or whole wheat)
- 3 tablespoons butter melted
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the Filling:
- 1 cup black lentils (soaked for an hour)
- 2 large yellow onions
- 1 red onion
- 4 cloves garlic ( grated)
- 2 tbsp harissa paste
- 2 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1 Egg for egg wash
- Sesame seeds
- 1 cup water
- Salt to taste
- Fresh chopped cilantro or parsley
- 1/2 lemon
- Olive oil
For the Buns
- Warm the milk so you can dip a finger in it. About 20 secs in the microwave will do it. Add the yeast and the sugar and set aside until bubbly ( about 10-15 mins)
- Using your mixer bowl and with the mixer on low, add the yeast and then the eggs and melted butter. Start adding the flour a few tablespoons at a time. You can put the mixer on medium and knead the dough for 4-5 mins ( you can also use your hands)
- The dough will be tacky and you can place in a greased bowl, cover with a wrap or lid and let it rise until doubled in size ( I leave it for 2 -3 hours).
For the filling
- Slice the 2 yellow onions and caramelize them in 1/2 cup of olive oil on medium heat. This may take about 30 – 45 mins. You can add 1 tsp of sugar to it or use your favorite method, The onions should be soft and brown. Drain and put aside
- Chop the small red onion and saute in 1 tbsp oil
- Add grated garlic
- Add the soaked and drained lentils
- Add salt, turmeric, coriander, cumin and cayenne and stir together, Add enough water to barely cover the lentils and cook for 20 mins until the lentils are tender and water has evaporated
- Then add in the harissa paste and salt to taste and stir well and cook for 5 mins
- Let the lentils cool and add in the caramelized onions. This should be a mix more on the dry side with some moistness.
- Add cilantro or parsley and squeeze in the juice of 1/2 lemon. Adjust salt if needed
Putting it together:
- When the dough has proofed and has doubled in size punch down the dough and put the dough on the counter in a ball.
- You can make small balls and roll them out with a rolling pin in small squares. You can also Roll out a large piece and use a bowl to cut circles about 5 inches in size
- Spoon 2 -3 tbsp of filling in the center of the circle
- Moisten the edges and roll the edges over all the way round and pinching them together. Lay down on a parchment lined baking tray with the smooth side up.
- When all are done, cover with a damp linen and let rise for another 45 mins.
- Brush the buns with a beaten egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds
- Bake in a 375 degree oven until just golden (about 20 minutes.)
- I served these with a coriander chutney
I am delighted to be hosting Fiesta Friday this week. Do come and visit and share your virtual food!