Serves 2 to 4

Crisp shards of flatbread give crunch to this dish, which lies somewhere between a Greek salad and Levantine fattoush. Typically, it is served in Tajikistan on a large communal wooden platter, along with a hot, flaky, Tajik flatbread called non for everyone to scoop up the salty cheese and fresh vegetables. [Ed. note: This version is made with pita, but any flatbread -- naan, focaccia, non -- will do.] 

More authentically, Tajiks make a cheese from yogurt simmered with salt until thickened to warm curds, but feta makes a good substitute.


The dressing

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt

The salad

  • 2 pita breads
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded using a spoon, and sliced
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • a small bunch of cilantro, leaves chopped
  • a small bunch of dill fronds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese

The non

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fast-action
  • Dried yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon superfine sugar
  • sunflower oil or melted lard
  • 1/2 teaspoon black onion seeds


The dressing

1. Mix the lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, and ground coriander in a bowl.

2. Gradually whisk in the olive oil until well-blended. Season with salt.

The salad

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Split open the pita breads into four halves and cut these into thin triangles. Brush with the olive oil.

3. Toast in the oven for about 10 minutes until golden. They will crisp as they cool.

4. Put the tomatoes, cucumber, and scallions in a large serving dish, and mix with the dressing and herbs.

5. Crumble over the feta, then add the pita shards. Toss once and serve immediately with hot non.

The non

1. Put the flour in a large bowl, add the dried yeast to one side, and the salt and sugar to the other.

2. Make a well in the center, pour in 1/2 cup of cold water, and mix thoroughly. If it feels stiff, add a little more water to make a sticky dough.

3. Turn onto an oiled surface and knead for 10 minutes until the tackiness has gone and the dough is silky soft and smooth.

4. Form into a ball and put in an oiled bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for about 2 hours, or until at least doubled in size.

5. Knock the air out of the dough and form it into a domed round. Sit it on a floured wooden board lined with a piece of parchment paper and cover again with the kitchen towel. Let prove for another 45 minutes, or until doubled in size again.

6. Preheat the oven to 475°F, or as hot as it will go, and put a pizza stone or baking sheet in to heat up. It needs to get really hot before you bake the non.

7. Make an indentation in the middle of the bread by pressing with the heel of your hand, leaving a doughnut-shaped ring around the edge.

8. Pierce a pattern in the middle using a non bread stamp or the tines of a fork.

9. Brush the top with oil or lard and sprinkle with the onion seeds. Trim the excess parchment from the sides of the bread.

10. Put a handful of ice cubes on the bottom of the oven. This will create steam.

11. Use the board to lift the bread to the oven and carefully slide it (still on the parchment paper) onto the preheated stone or pan. Bake for 15 minutes. The top should be golden and the loaf should sound hollow when tapped underneath.

From Samarkand: Recipes & Stories From Central Asia and the Caucasus, © 2016 by Caroline Eden and Eleanor Ford. Reproduced by permission of Kyle Books. All rights reserved.