Qurutob, also known as bread salad, is a traditional Tajik dish prepared by soaking the qurut (dried cheese balls) in water. The salty liquid is used as the base. Strips of fatir, a kind of flatbread, are then placed over the top.
Toppings may include vegetables such as onions, tomatoes or cucumbers. Served across several big plates, ideal for sharing, Qurutob is often garnished with herbs or spices such as chili peppers.
Qurutob is considered to be the national dish of Tajikistan, along with Plov.
Origin & Cultural Significance
Qurutob was traditionally widely consumed in the south of Tajikistan but then spread across several other areas of the country in more recent years. The story behind the creation is not entirely clear, other than that it originated in the south until the fall of the Soviet Union.
Tajik Qurutob Recipe
For the fatir (1 bread)
- Flour - 4 cups
- Water - 1 cup
- Salt - 1 tsp
- butter (softened) - 1½ cup
For the qurutob
- Greek yogurt - 22 oz
- Water - ½ cup
- Salt - 2 tsp
- Tomatoes (diced) - 3
- Onions (chopped) - 2
- Spring onions (thinly sliced) - 2
- Cilantro (chopped) - ½ bunch
- Vegetable oil
- Begin by combining flour, water and salt in a medium bowl. Mix using your fingers. Keep in mind that you don’t knead the dough more than needed.
- Next, shape the dough into a ball. Flatten it and cover it with plastic wrap.
- Put the dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour. If possible, keep it in for 2-3 hours.
- Now, it’s time to preheat the oven to 160 °C.
- Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out into a rectangle. Make sure to do it on a floured work surface.
- Brush the dough with butter, followed by a sprinkle of flour.
- Prepare five rectangular strips.
- Roll the first strip to make a "snail".
- Once done, place it on the second band and carefully roll the first one into the second.
- Repeat the procedure with the other dough strips to get a big "snail" shape.
- Next, keep the dough laid out horizontally on a baking sheet. Make sure it is lined with parchment paper.
- It’s time to flatten the dough into an approximately 2-cm thick circle.
- Conventionally, symbols are made on the dough using an instrument known as a “chakich.” However, one can also use a meat tenderizer or a fork.
- Allow the fatir to bake until it’s golden. This may take around 40 minutes.
- Begin by placing a saucepan over a medium flame and heating the Greek yogurt and water in it. Next, add salt.
- Mix constantly for about 30 minutes.
- The outcome should yield around ⅔ of the original weight of yogurt.
- Take a skillet and sauté onions in hot oil until they become translucent. This should take you around 8 minutes.
- In the meantime, take a large bowl and begin placing small pieces of fatir bread in it.
- Top with yoghurt and the onion cooked in hot oil.
- Throw some spring onions, tomatoes and cilantro on top.
- Serve immediately.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1228Total Fat: 75gSaturated Fat: 44gTrans Fat: 3gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 191mgSodium: 2363mgCarbohydrates: 110gFiber: 5gSugar: 10gProtein: 31g
Photo credit: Ibrahim Rustamov