Do you want to try pies stuffed with pumpkin? Dagestan’s thin-dough, soft juicy “chudu” will be your favorite.Yulia Mulino
For many years, the rugged culture of the mountains helped to form the cuisine of Dagestan (North Caucasus). The region’s food is nourishing, healthy and easy to make. Chudu is marked by all of these three characteristics.
Chudu is a flat pie with various fillings. There’s no particular recipe, and every housewife has her own secrets. They may be cooked with yeast or simple dough. Chudu is a festive dish made as a sign of respect to guests. You may find various round or half-moon shaped chudu in cafes in Makhachkala (the capital of the region), but the best ones are cooked in small mountain villages. There, people still use wooden stoves which give an extra special flavor to the dish.
The special thing about chudu is that they change during the year. Spring pies are cooked with fresh greens, such as nettle or spring onions. In summer, you may find chudu with early potatoes and cheese. Autumn is the time for pumpkin. And the most nourishing type of chudu, with lamb or beef, is made in winter.
Following the seasonal tradition, I cooked chudu with pumpkin. According to my experience, there are two types of people regarding this vegetable: those who love it and those who don't want to see it at all in their dishes. This recipe will make both groups happy. I think it’s all about the combination of raw grated pumpkin and caramelized onions. Moreover, the butter gives creaminess and sweetness. I used the sort with the most natural taste - butternut pumpkin.
You can add crushed walnuts into the filling; that will make the dish more nutritious and gives an amusing crunchy texture to the tender stuffing. One more interesting thing about these pies is that you fry them on a dry pan, without any oil. When chudu is ready they’re covered with melted butter. Enjoy.
1. To make the dough for chudu, mix flour, salt and water. I used the mixer to knead the dough for about 20 minutes. Long kneading will help it to become elastic. Cover the dough in a plastic film and let sit for 60 minutes.
2. Chop two big onions and fry in a mixture of butter and oil for about 15-20 minutes till soft and golden. Stir continuously.
3. Peel butternut pumpkin and grate. Mix with some salt and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
4. Squeeze out the juice. I do it with my hands.
5. Mix onions and pumpkin. By that time the dough should be ready.
6. Divide the dough into 8 parts and form small balls and cover with a towel.
7. Roll out one ball making a thin oval sheet. Use flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the working space.
8. Place the filling on one part of the sheet and cover.
9. Press the edges with your fingers and cut the rough parts.
10. Fry the pies on a dry pan. Turn to the second side when the bottom will be covered with nicely-brown bubbles. Spread butter all over a hot pie and cover with a plate to keep it warm. Repeat with all other balls, placing new pies on top of the previous one.
11. When all chudu-pies are ready you’ll get a nice pile of flat pies. You may cut them in the middle.
12. Serve chudu warm. Enjoy!
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