Vegan Shakarob (Tajik Salad with Fresh Flaky Bread)

By Nisso Rahmonova-Stanley | @shedreamsofthewild

Food Stories is a column in which Best of Vegan community members share recipes from their cultures and personal stories connected to those dishes. Today, Nisso Rahmonova-Stanley of @shedreamsofthewild shares her recipe for Vegan Shakarob – a Tajik salad with fresh flaky bread.

This recipe was featured in Nisso’s profile for the weekly BIPOC Portraits series by Val and Mani Latifi, where they interview vegan creators and shed light on the unique challenges BIPOCs face in making the decision to embrace veganism. Click here to see the full article.

Vegan Shakarob

Shakarob is a delicious Tajik summer dish that is mine and my husband’s all-time favorite. “Shakar” means sweet and “Ob” means water in the Tajik language. This dish is served in a special wooden bowl and eaten with your hands. Shakarob is very filling and usually made right after a big batch of bread is made.

In the old days, it was prepared at dawn and eaten for breakfast to fill people up for long hours of working in the field or shepherding in the mountains. It is made with yogurt, cucumber, tomatoes, onions, and lots of herbs like green onions, cilantro, and dill (optional), and a drizzle of hot butter or oil.

To make Shakarob, you need to make a fresh, flaky bread first. Just describing it makes me feel homesick, reminiscing about the days my sister-in-law would make it for the whole family on weekends—on days bread was made. We would sit around the table and share the whole bowl together, each eating from their side. It makes my heart sing when I see my children eat Shakarob just like I did with my siblings growing up.

Recipe shared with permission from Nisso Rahmonova-Stanley of @shedreamsofthewild.

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Vegan Shakarob

Vegan Shakarob (Tajik Salad with Fresh Flaky Bread)


Ingredients

Scale

For the flaky bread

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 cups flour
  • ½ cup melted vegan butter
  • Black and white sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

For the Shakarob

  • 1 English cucumber, chopped
  • 23 heirloom tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, sliced and washed after slicing
  • 2 cups plain vegan yogurt (plain soy or cashew yogurt work best)
  • 1 cup hot boiled water
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup hot melted vegan butter
  • 1 cup of mixed cilantro and green onions, chopped
  • 12 jalapeño peppers (or any other hot pepper)

Instructions

For the flaky bread

  1. In a bowl combine water, salt, and instant yeast. Add oil and mix. Add flour and knead the dough for about 1-2 minutes. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes. 
  2. Take the dough out of the bowl. Generously sprinkle your table with flour and start rolling the dough out. Roll it into a thin round layer, about ⅛ inch.. Be careful not to tear it. It will turn into a big thin disc. 
  3. Pour melted butter over the thin layer and spread it evenly with a brush. Start rolling it into a long tube. Take one side of the long tube and roll it sideways to make it into a spiral or a rolled snake. Put it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425ºF/220ºC. 
  4. Cover a cookie pan with parchment paper. Place the dough on the cookie pan and with your hands, roll it out to make a round disc 15-20 inches in diameter. With a fork, poke some holes all over the disc. This helps the dough not to rise in the oven. Sprinkle sesame seeds, if using. Bake for 25-30 minutes, depending on your oven.

For the Shakarob

  1. In a bowl mix the yogurt, water, and salt. 
  2. Break the flaky bread into small bite-size pieces. Add bread pieces to the bowl with yogurt. 
  3. Top it with a layer of chopped cucumber, tomatoes, and onion. Pour hot melted butter over the onions and the rest of Shakarob. 
  4. Garnish with a mix of chopped cilantro and green onion. Serve with jalapeño peppers. 

Notes

You can make the flaky bread ahead of time and just warm it up in the oven before you make the Shakarob.

Find more recipes by Nissa on @shedreamsofthewild.

Text, recipe & photography by Nisso Rahmonova-Stanley of @shedreamsofthewild.

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Vegan Shakarob

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