Last week, I wrote about the Turkish simit that is being carried at Yafa Market and Café, 10703 Park Road (near Black Lion). This week, the shop finally received the long-awaited order of Afghan bread.
Afghan bread, also known as barbarry bread, is similar to breads found in both Iran and Armenia. This ridgeless barbarry, also transliterated as barbari, is not a flat bread like pita, nor crispy like lavash, nor does it have the texture of Indian naan. This supple Afghan bread, made in Virginia, measures 20 inches in length, 8 inches in width, and one half-inch in thickness. Buried in the dimpled top are toasted sesame seeds.
Barbarry is sold in both whole wheat and white spring flour. Other ingredients include yeast and salt (no preservatives). The wheat loaf is decidedly drier than the white. The package directions suggest cutting the bread with scissors into four or five pieces in order to freeze for up to three months. Otherwise, the refrigerator shelf life is about 10 days.
Afghanistan stands at the culinary crossroads of several regional cuisines including the Middle Eastern, Iranian, Indian and Chinese. Clearly, this brand of barbarry is not baked in a clay oven and thus lacks that inherent smoky taste. Even though it's a simple bread, barbarry has more uses than scooping up hummus or wrapping a kabob. This bread is an ideal choice for panini sandwiches. One slab ($2.75) can make at least four hefty sandwiches.
Looking for a food you can't find? Or do you know of other food items unique to the Q.C.? Whether it's regional foods or international, talk to me: firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-522-8334, extension 136.