Khychiny (Russian cheese and potato flatbread)

    2 hours

    Delicious pan-cooked flatbreads with a cheese and potato filling. This is traditional Balkarian recipe from the Caucasus mountains, in the Elbrus region. They are best eaten dipped into garlic and dill sauce (see footnote). Traditionally the cheese is homemade, it is soft fresh cheese. You can substitute it with fresh mozzarella, farmer's cheese or Mexican fresh cheeses.

    9 people made this

    Serves: 12 

    • 1kg potatoes
    • 250ml buttermilk
    • 250ml water, room temperature
    • 675g plain flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1kg soft fresh cheese, such as mozzarella
    • 100g melted butter

    Prep:1hr  ›  Cook:1hr  ›  Ready in:2hr 

    1. Boil potatoes in their skins, till tender, 20 minutes.
    2. In the meantime, make the dough: combine the buttermilk, water, flour and salt. Whisk with fork, and when the dough thickens, you can start kneading by hand. Knead it for at least 10 minutes, applying all your strength. The better you knead, the less effort you will need to put into rolling. Cover and let rest for at least 30 minutes.
    3. For the filling: Peel and mash the boiled potatoes. Shred cheese or pass through a meat grinder (this works best). Test for the level of saltiness. If the cheese is too bland, you can add a little salt to taste.
    4. Divide the filling into 12 round balls and cover. Divide the dough into 12 parts and cover too. The filling balls will be larger in size than the dough balls.
    5. Stretch a piece of dough into small flat circle. Place the filling ball in the centre. Pull up the edges and secure. You should have a ball encased in dough.
    6. Heat up a heavy-bottomed frying pan, cast iron is best. No oil or grease please. Melt the butter for brushing on and place next to the plate on which you'll stack khychiny.
    7. Generously sprinkle your work surface with flour. Start to carefully and gently roll out a ball. The dough will be hard to work with at first, but will give in at some point, just remember not to press too hard with the rolling pin, or it will rip. You should get it to about 5mm thickness.
    8. If your khychiny breaks a little, don't despair, you can fry it the way it is. It will still be tasty. You'll get better at it. This is a real art.
    9. Place rolled-out khychiny on a well-heated pan on medium heat. Fry until golden-brown spots appear. Khychiny may inflate into a bubble. That's fine. Simply pierce with a knife and it will deflate. Turn over and cook on the other side. Transfer to a plate. Roll out another khychin. While it's cooking, generously brush the first one with butter. This is what will make them yummy! Don't be stingy with butter! Roll out the next one.
    10. Stack khychiny. When ready, cut the whole stack into 8 slices.

    Serving suggestion

    Goes great with the following sauce: plain yoghurt, crushed garlic, salt and chopped fresh dill.

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