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Recipes from home

Refugee Hafeza’s delicious Afghan Bolani recipe

Earlier this year the IRC in Greece hosted cooking workshops for refugee and local women living on the Greek island of Lesvos. Some of the women who took part talked to us about their experience and shared the recipe of the dish they shared with the group. Hafeza shares her recipe for Afghan Bolani. 

Photo: Stefania Mizara/IRC

26-year-old Hafeza has been living in Greece for four years after fleeing Afghanistan. Hafeza lives with her two children in Mytilini on the island of Lesvos. 63% of the refugees and asylum-seekers on Lesvos are from Afghanistan which is experiencing an escalating political and humanitarian crisis.

“My mother taught me the recipe. When she was in the kitchen I went to check what she was doing. I asked her what she was cooking, and she told me “Bolani” and then she taught me how to make it.” Hafeza told us. 

 It's delicious and I like it a lot.

Follow the recipe to learn how to make Afghan Bolani.


  • 500g Plain Flour 
  • Pinch of Salt 
  • 1 and a half teaspoons of dried yeast 
  • Spices - chilli powder and/or chilli flakes 
  • 2 tablespoons of Oil
  • 5 medium potatoes
  • 100g/10 spring onions 
  • Handful of parsley
  • 250g water
  • Oil for frying
  • Greek Yoghurt
Ingredients for Afghan Bolani

This Afghan Bolani recipe serves approximately 6 people.

Photo: Stefania Mizara/IRC


  • Mix flour, yeast, salt, and oil in a bowl, add water until the dough comes together in a ball. Knead the dough with your hand until it is firm then the bowl in cellophane and leave to one side.
  • Boil the potatoes. When they are boiled, rinse them in cold water so they cool down. Then peel the potatoes with your hands.
Hafeza cooking with another woman.

The workshops were held in Nan restaurant in Mytilini on the island of Lesvos.

Photo: Stefania Mizara/IRC
  • Using a spoon, mush up the potatoes in a bowl, adding in the chopped up fresh onions. Season the potatoes and onions with pepper and spices.
  • Get your dough and break off a ball. About the size of two handfuls. Flatten the ball slightly so it's a flat circular shape. Add a spoonful of the potato mix to the middle of the dough. Use fingers to flatten it down/spread it out but leave a gap around the edge of the dough.
  • Fold the dough in half over itself covering the potato in the middle. Do this again until you've used up all the ingredients and dough.
4 women stood around chatting and cooking in nan restaurant.

"The refugee women were excited to have a proper kitchen with all the utensils to cook in and learning about Greek ingredients and food. The local women were also impressed by the combination of spices, intricate techniques and flavours from the refugee women’s cooking." Said Martha Roussou, Senior Advocacy Manage for the IRC.

Photo: Stefania Mizara/IRC
  • Heat up a frying pan of oil. When hot, add the dough parcel to the pan. It should be covered in oil (Be careful as it will be very hot!). Fry both sides of the Bolani until it is brown and crispy (like the photo below).
  • When cooked, use tongs or folks to remove the Bolani from the pan and rest on pieces of kitchen towel to help soak the excess oil.
  • Serve with Greek yoghurt and enjoy!
Afghan Bolani

Recipes from home

This recipe is part of our Recipes from Home series. These recipes have been shared by refugee and Greek women who took part in the IRC’s cooking workshops held at Nan restaurant on the Island of Lesvos in Greece. The aim of the workshops is to bring together local and refugee women, to promote common experiences and mutual understanding through the universal language of food. 

The cooking workshops were supported by the Western Union Foundation.