“Did you eat jingalov hats?” That’s the first question anyone in Yerevan asked us when we said we had visited Artsakh. If they had known earlier, they may have asked us to bring back a box of these beloved flatbreads from the bazaar in Stepanakert, the small republic’s capital city.
These breads—hats in Armenian—look like flat footballs and are filled to the brim with herbs and greens. Some bakers claim they use more than twenty types of greens to achieve optimal flavor. This is easier in the spring, when foraged herbs—some of them rarely seen outside of Armenia—pad the numbers. By November, the number dwindles to “merely” a dozen herbs and greens. To get the best mix from what’s available near you, see Jingalov Hats Herbs and Greens (below).
When making jingalov hats, mix the dough first and let it rest while you finely chop all of the greens and herbs. It’s best to wash the greens the day before or earlier the day of so they are dry when you are ready to chop them, making it easier to slice them as thinly as possible (this helps them cook quickly inside the flatbread as you griddle it). By the time you’re done chopping, the dough will be ready to portion. For cooking the hats, Artsakh cooks prefer a cast-iron saj, but a large griddle that covers two burners works just as well. If you have extra dough from making Lavash, you can use it in place of the dough called for here for a slightly puffier version. And if you run out of greens, roll out the extra dough and griddle it as if it were lavash.
Slice thick stem ends separately and very thinly.
Slice herb stems with leaves, only removing stems if tough.
When necessary, slice thick stem ends separately and very thinly.