Kolchay shor is a classic Afghan salty butter flaky biscuit enjoyed with tea. It’s characterized by that combination of a salty and butter flavor, the flaky falling apart texture of the biscuit, and the nigella seeds sprinkled on top.
Kolchay shor is a classic snack in my household, its the ying to the yang of a good cup of sheer chai and one cannot be had without the other.
As a Midwestern gal, I also grew up with a deep fondness of soft pretzels. My hometown in Ohio is made up of a large community of German, Polish, and Ukrainian immigrants. As such, many of the foods I grew up with from pretzels to pierogis have become classic Midwest staples adapted from those communities. I may not have enjoyed them with sheer chai, but soft pretzels were a staple I adored and tried every iteration of wherever I could get my hands on them.
Making them into an Afghan American fusion was a dream, as it married two of my food loves, two sides of my home into one, a dish that not only presented a culinary challenge to create, but in its creation felt like there was one spot where my two feet can rest at once together. As a third culture kid, life often feels like having one foot in one place and the other in a totally different one. The creation of this pretzel is a deeply meaningful one for me, letting me feel at once whole, rested, and in a space where my two feet can meet and sit side by side.
Kolchay Shor Pretzel Recipe
Makes 4 pretzels
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp yeast
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup warm milk
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 cup warm water
1 tsp salt
mix yeast and warm water, set aside for 10 minutes until it becomes foamy
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom in a large mixing bowl.
Cut frozen butter into pea sized crumbles and combine gently into flour mix.
Add milk and yeast water to batter.
Knead dough until well combined.
Set dough into a large greased bowl, cover with Saran Wrap for 1-2 hours to rest.
Remove dough from bowl and cut into 4 equal sized pieces. Roll each separately into a 15-20 inch rope. Take the ends and draw them together so the dough forms a circle. Twist the ends, then bring them towards yourself and press them down into a pretzel shape.
Place pretzels onto a greased baking sheet.
Whisk one egg in a bowl, and brush the entire tops of the pretzel with egg. Sprinkle Nigella seeds all over the pretzels (optional: can add some kosher salt to sprinkle)
Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Noshejaan!