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May 29, 2014

Recipe: Potato and garlic chive stuffed Bolani

So many people we know were involved with the opening of Kutchi Deli Parwana on Ebenezer Place that we got jealous. So, to make ourselves feel more important, we lured chef Sayed away from his kitchen for a grey morning session of flatbread cooking on a public BBQ.

  • Chefs: Sayed Ayaz Asna with a helping hand from Fatema Ayubi
  • Words: Farrin Foster
  • Pictures and art direction: Brendan Homan

“Last night Fatema, she said to me, ‘you know we are cooking on the BBQ tomorrow’,” says Sayed Ayaz Asna as he methodically kneads dough on the benchtop of an Elder Park BBQ. 

“I thought – that’s pretty good,” Sayed raises his eyebrows and a kind, sarcastic smile plays across his face. “Oh, I said to her, cooking Afghan food on the BBQ. I hope that works out.”

He laughs, which is certainly something he does a lot, and keeps kneading the dough.

Sayed is a new(ish) brother to the five sisters of the Ayubi family – owners of new Ebenezer Place eatery Kutchi Deli Parwana and Parwana Afghan Kitchen on Henley Beach Road. After falling in love with one of the Ayubi sisters, Sayed moved from Afghanistan to Australia and eventually married into the family, which also meant marrying into the restaurant business.

Chef Sayed Ayaz Asna

Chef Sayed Ayaz Asna

His sister-in-law, Fatema Ayubi, stands alongside him at the BBQ chopping radishes for the side salad. “My Mum was a teacher and my Dad was a lawyer and we all studied different things,” she says, explaining the unconventional road the family took to becoming restaurateurs. Her parents weren’t hospitality veterans before they opened Parwana, nor was Sayed originally a chef, but cooking runs deep in their blood.

“Cooking has been in the family for a long time,” says Sayed, who would help his own mother in the kitchen when he was young. “My mother-in-law learnt from a royal chef because her father was army staff – second in charge to a defence minister – so it’s been in the family, we’re always cooking something.”

Parwana has been a mammoth success. Since it was opened by Fatema’s parents Zelmai and Farida in 2009, word of the modest suburban restaurant’s excellent food has travelled far and wide across South Australia. The recently-opened Kutchi Deli on Ebenezer Place is a lunchtime follow-up that concentrates on easy-to-eat, street-style Afghani food to suit busy city workers.

easy-to-eat, street-style Afghani food

Bolani: easy-to-eat, street-style Afghani food

Kutchi has been spearheaded by the younger generation of the Ayubi clan. As concerned as they are with the substance of the menu (very), CityMag also sees a true passion for aesthetics in Kutchi’s development. The Kutchi crew boast a long list of collaborators that takes in some CityMag favourites like Studio Gram and Tristan Kerr. Sayed tells how he charmed his father back in Afghanistan to collect 300 local soft drink cans so he could decorate the shopfront. And Fatema chronicles the family’s long and affectionate involvement with Adelaide design doyen James Brown of Mash.

“James was one of our regular clients, he helped us with the interior and the new branding and logo for Parwana,” says Fatema. “We really love his work – his style is absolutely what we love. He helped us with that and we wanted to continue the same theme and branding so we got him involved with Kutchi. We’re going to have the James Brown suite!”

These flatbreads are made all over Afghanistan, but the ones Sayed remembers best were made by his Aunt, who would spend hours preparing them for her family.

The flatbreads Sayed is making – called boloni – won’t be a regular menu item at Kutchi, but are likely to pop up every now and again as a special. They’re made all over Afghanistan by street vendors, but the ones Sayed remembers best were cooked by his Aunt who would spend two or three hours a day preparing the bolani for her large family.

Fatema's amazing side salad

Fatema’s amazing side salad

Sayed sometimes makes them at Parwana – huge versions in a large, shallow cast iron pan – to feed the hungry staff. Stuffed with anything from minced lamb to what Fatema calls “Aussie fillings” like mushroom and fetta, they disappear in minutes. As he flips one over on the BBQ to reveal a perfect, evenly-browned side, Sayed comments that he’s recently discovered traditional Greek cuisine has a similar dish.

“Afghan food, it’s a cuisine that throughout its history has had all these different people from different cultures come through, so we have at the restaurant some steamed dumplings that are similar to those from an Asian background,” he says.

Perhaps we at CityMag haven’t been adventurous enough with our eating, but as we bite into our first bolani, juice from the Parwana chutney piled on top running down our wrists, it tastes like nothing we’ve ever tried. And very good. Even with the healthy dose of scepticism he brought with him today, Sayed has had no trouble conquering this BBQ.



Bolani stuffed with garlic chives or potato

Kneading the Bolani dough

Kneading the Bolani dough


* 5 cups plain flour

* 1–2 cups warm water

* 1 teaspoon salt

* 1 teaspoon yeast

* 2 teaspoons canola oil


For potato filling

* 6 small potatoes

* 1 teaspoon salt

* 1 teaspoon dry coriander

* black pepper

* fresh green chilli


For chive filling

* 2 bunches fresh chive

* 1 teaspoon salt

* 1 teaspoon dry coriander

* black pepper

* fresh green chilli

potato filled Bolani

Potato filled Bolani

Chive filled Bolani

Chive filled Bolani


For potato filling:

Boil peeled potatoes and mash.

Season with salt and dry coriander.

Add black pepper and fresh green chilli to taste.
For chive filling:

Finely chop fresh chives, season with salt and dry coriander.

Add black pepper and fresh green chilli to taste.

Crisp and golden

Crisp and golden

For the Bolani:

Knead the mixture till consistency is firm. Leave the dough aside to rise for a minimum of one hour.

Divide into 10 separate balls of dough. Flatten out to dinner plate size with a rolling pin. Place the filling on half of the flattened dough, and flip over remaining dough. Knead the edges to seal the bolani to semi circle shape.

Place a spoon of oil on the BBQ surface and heat, place bolanis on hot BBQ top to cook, flipping until both sides are golden brown.

Serve with yoghurt, or relish of choice.


Head along to Kutchi Deli Parwana at 7 Ebenezer Place, Adelaide on weekday lunchtimes to test Sayed’s skills in the kitchen yourself.

And keep an eye out as Fatema develops her own part of the Parwana group with Shirni Parwana – an Afghan sweets catering company based at Felixstow.

The secret recipe salsa adds a finishing touch

The secret recipe salsa adds a finishing touch

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