A few days ago, it was the feast day of St Barbara, which is widely celebrated in Georgia, and the food of the day is Lobiani.
Lobiani is found in every bakery in Tbilisi. It is standard fare, filling, nutritious and cheap. It’s been ages since I made Lobiani, so it was a good reason to make some. This is my version, with some modifications.
First, I made Lobio, the bean stew.
With a pestle and mortar, crush 3 cloves of garlic, 1 tsp blue fenugreek (use fennel seeds if you can’t find blue fenugreek), half an onion, one bunch of coriander leaves, pinch of dried coriander and 3 bay leaves.
Fry the other half of the onion, finely chopped. Save the oil.
Then drain 2 cans of kidney beans. Reserve the liquid.
Add the drained beans to the spices and mash them up. Add the fried onion and the oil that it was fried in.
Transfer everything, including the reserved water from the beans, into an earthenware pot (if possible) and simmer on low heat for 30-60 minutes, until the mixture is creamy and fragrant.
You can eat this on its own (I did). I used the other portion to make Lobiani.
Heat the oven to 180 degrees.
Add 800 grams of flour, 25 grams of yeast, half tsp salt and 1 egg to a mixing bowl. Mix until you get a dough ball. Leave to rise for an hour or so in the mixing bowl with a clean tea towel covering it.
When the dough had risen, divide it into four balls. Roll each ball out in t circle (large as possible), and spoon in the Lobio mixture. Bring the edges together to close the dough up.
Roll it gently so that it flattens but not to the extent that the Lobio squishes out.
Scour with a knife (important) so that the steam from the Lobio can escape.
Brush with butter and bake in a medium oven until lightly browned. Brush on more butter to stop the bread going hard (good trick!)
Slice up and serve. It also tastes good cold! Perfect for picnics or midmorning snacks 🙂