Matnakash — The other Armenian Bread
To begin with, we are extremely happy to start off with stories from Lavaash by Saby. Everyday,the restaurant for us is full of possibilities and inspirations waiting to be turned into stories, and we could not have thought of anything other that a beautiful Matnakash. All this while with so many of you writing in to us praising the food and some of you also asking for these amazing recipes.
Everyday, our Chef’s inbox gets one or two odd requests to either share the recipes or invitations to cook/eat with people who are now becoming regulars at Lavaash.
We decided to put forward our stories which are so deeply ingrained into our culture and in Armenia.
Matnakash, despite not being recognised as the intangible world heritage unlike Lavaash(more on this later in another story) is a massively produced bread in Soviet Armenia.
Year 1930 onwards, Soviet Union wanted to facelift the entire idea of Armenian culture and social structure and wished to replace the age old Lavaash with the Matnakash Bread.
Matnakash, in its literal translation means ploughed with fingers. It’s a classic Armenian preparation. Our variation includes mixing of pumpkin and chironjee seeds in the dough as we like to take the idea of ploughed field with seeds. Most of the preparation happens with hands.
We make the dough and then knead it more by hand. Post this we divide the dough and make small log like shapes and put 5 of these on a pattal leaf and then prove it . Proving is putting the dough in a moist and humid environment for it to rise. Once the dough has doubled in size we bake it with pumpkin seeds and chironjee seeds till it’s a beautiful golden brown in colour.
Matnakash bread has a lot of similarities from the likes of pita and style of naan that is famous in the Erstwhile Ottoman Turkey. Once baked it can be preserved for good 2–6 days in controlled environments.
Served best with Prawn Claypot Casserole and Paneer, Spinach and Walnut Kefta, we serve the same with a big dollop of butter to keep it moist, for some it tends to get too crusty.
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