Gosh-e-Feel: Baby Elephant Ears- Fried Pastry in the Afghan Manner

gosh-e-feel elephant ear cookies

I first tried “gossip” when I lived in Rome. No, not that kind. I learned what gossip was in the kindergarten when my ‘husband’, Jamie and I paid Gina for a pound of tomatoes and instead of putting the two plastic yellow coins in the till, she put them in her pocket. And instead of tommies, she handed us bananas. By recess time, everyone knew about the dreadful thing Gina had done to us.

gosh-e-feel elephant ear cookies

But the other kind of “gossip” I tried for the first time in Rome during Carnevale was rectangular and crackly, dusted with icing sugar. And each bite sounded like chatter, just like gossip, which is why it is called chiacchiere by Southern Italians. In celebration of Carnevale, all the pasticceria windows in Rome are full of chiacchiere. I remember on weekends little girls and boys dressed up in their costumes would arrive with their parents to buy the fried goodies. The little ones would watch eagerly as the man behind the counter would carefully place each crisp rectangle on a golden paper tray. But before wrapping paper around it and sealing it with a bow, he’d hand one treat to the children, who would devour the chiacchiere, licking the sugar dust off their lips with each bite.

gosh-e-feel elephant ear cookies

My friends and I loved having these fried treats after lunch with a thimble of dense, inky caffè, at pasticceria Tornatora, near our office. Shattering with each bite, the sugar would spread all over our mouths. And there we would stand, against the bar in our coats and knee-high boots on that lethal sugar-and-caffeine-high, doing some real chiacchiere (gossip) before heading back to our offices. Those were the Roman tail-end-of-winter days I particularly adored. And the sweet, crispy treats reminded me of tea-time at home in Pakistan with my family.

The Afghan kitchen has an equivalent of chiacchiere which we call gosh-e-feel in Dari, for their elephant ear-like shape. We sprinkle them with sugar just like the Italians, but we add another layer of colour, flavour and texture to it with crushed pistachios. They are just the ticket with tea on a cold afternoon…

Or, if you’re like my husband, back from Pakistan and jet lagged, you may want to have one, two, three, five, ah, maybe more, when you’re up at 4am- only to have your wife wake up a few hours later to find that the tray of gosh-e-feel she was supposed to take to work is one-third empty…Ah, bless him…

gosh-e-feel elephant ear cookies

gosh-e-feel elephant ear cookies

gosh-e-feel elephant ear cookies

gosh-e-feel elephant ear cookies

gosh-e-feel elephant ear cookies

gosh-e-feel elephant ear cookies

gosh-e-feel elephant ear cookies

Makes 30-40 7cm treats
You will need a round cookie cutter (size of your choice), a wok or deep fryer and a rolling pin.

Ingredients:
*200g + 50 g flour
*pinch salt
*2 eggs, whisked
*30g butter, melted
*1 heaped teaspoon granulated sugar
*50ml full-fat milk
*neutral oil like corn or sunflower, for deep frying
*caster / icing sugar
*1 tsp cardamom powder or crushed cardamom seeds (optional)
*handful unsalted pistachios, crushed with a rolling pin
*handful edible rose petals, available at Persian or Middle Eastern grocery stores

Preparation:
*Sift the two portions of flour separately.
*Add a pinch of salt to the 200g portion.
*You will keep the remainder of the 50g of flour on reserve whilst you are kneading the dough.
*In a large bowl combine whisked eggs; cooled, melted butter; granulated sugar; and 50ml of milk.
*Add 200g of sifted flour and knead on a floured surface till it comes together and forms a dough.
*If it is seems wet and sticky, slowly add flour from the reserve till it begins to bind well.
*Knead for 10-15 minutes.
*Divide dough into two portions, cover with a teacloth or plastic wrap and allow to rest for 1 hour.
*Roll out first portion on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin till dough is half a centimetre thick.
*With a cookie cutter (size of your choice) cut out circles and pinch/pleat the sides with your thumb and forefinger so the circle resembles the ear of an elephant, as shown in the photo above.
*Place on parchment paper as you shape them and cover with a teacloth.
*Take the leftover scraps from the cookie cutter and knead it into the second portion of dough.
*Repeat the process of rolling out the dough and cutting out circles, as you did for the first portion.
*Place a wok on medium high heat with enough oil for deep frying. Test with a small piece of dough, if it floats freely to the top, the oil is ready.
*Fry the gosh-e-feel 3-4 at a time , 5-10 seconds on each side till golden brown. Keep transferring to a plate lined with parchment paper or paper towels.
*Sprinkle with icing sugar, cardamom powder, crushed pistachios and rose petals.

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Comments

  1. Just to say that this post is awesome!

  2. These sound awesome! I could live just for that moment that you are describing, munching and drinking and gossiping in paradise.

  3. gourmand says:

    Beautiful, beautiful, evocative!! Your descriptions and photos are so vivid and I love the way you weave your stories to create the richest texture. You can notice how moved I am …with superlatives. No really, Spicey, you write and cook so naturally! Please develop your talents into a novel..I Just love this blog.

  4. These look utterly delicious. And what I wouldn’t give for a juicy gossip with you right now, darling girl. xxx

  5. Company, tea and to munch on these… divine. The rose petals and the pistachios give a completely new dimensions to these ears. So pretty.

  6. All of your recipes are just so original and different! I also appreciated your version of the “chiacchiere” which, indeed, we do have in Italy as soon as Carnival approaches. Great one!

  7. These look just lovely, a much more delicate and refined take on what we call “fried dough” around these parts. Just gorgeous with the crushed pistachios and rose petals. – S

  8. These look so good and beautiful. I love the flowers added.
    I definitely want to try this at home. I think I’ll add a little
    cardamom to them…

    Great recipe, I haven’t seen this one before.

    I’m enjoying your blog…

  9. you’re J.K. Rowling’s desi version – bisyaar khushit amad.

  10. @Hannah Very kind of you to say.

    @TasteofBeirut Thank you, Joumana, as always. x s

    @Gourmand Thank you, I hope one day I can do a cookbook with stories of my childhood woven in- a dream. x s

    @MrsTrefusis I miss you, too. And what I wouldn’t give to be able to make these for you over a girly chat. x s

    @Soma Thank you. The pistachios are traditionally a part of this recipe. I had rose petals from the Persian grocery in my pantry, so I decided to use them.

    @Doriana Thank you, I do miss those chiacchiere, nothing can compare.

    @OuiChef Thanks, Steve. Every culture has its version of fried dough- I simply love it. Apparently, in Canada they have something called a Beaver’s Tail, which I am yet to try- like poutine.

    @Ella Thank you- and thank you for mentioning cardamom and reminding me- I had totally forgot to add it on my ingredients list, as it is part of the recipe.

    @Rabya Thank you for your lovely words :)

  11. This is so pretty, with the flowers as garnish. I like how simple the recipe is and how easy it is to whip up from readily staple pantry ingredients. I just found out I can get edible flowers from a gourmet supermarket in Singapore but this is such an incredible savory way of using them.

  12. Absolutely loving the look of these and such gorgeous descriptions(My husband also drives me bonkers with his midnight feasts)

  13. @Pickyin Thank you. The edible flowers from the Persian grocery store are really cheap- I suspect they would be very dear at a gourmet store here in Toronto. Hope you can find them there.

    @Gastrogeek Thanks, Rej. They’re not very healthy though ;)

  14. i can imagine the taste and the incredible texture just by looking at these photos, shayma. i can’t wait to try this.

  15. Can you blame the husband? I know exactly how divine this should taste! One reason I think of why I wake up every day and go to work is the lunch time I get to spend with my diverse group of colleagues with great culinary treats.

    P.S. – Your perfectly manicured and polished nails just made me grossly stare at mine!

  16. Two things – this recipe makes me thing of chin-chin….and it looks delicious and fragrant with the toppings. I like how the ears are shaped.

    And I saw a photo of a couple of Afghan ladies and one of them reminded me of you….http://www.afghancooking.net/afghan-cooking-unveiled/2011/04/the-not-so-afghan-birthday-bash.html

    Have a good break

  17. Incredibly pretty, and what a sweet name!

  18. Shumaila Ahmed says:

    Hey

    just saw your website. Love the photos and the recipes. Right up my alley!

    I’ll be back- and often!

  19. Those looks delicious! There is something similar where I am from called Sopapillas and we serve them with honey butter. Divine!

  20. Firdous says:

    Made these yesterday and they were very very nice. The dough was easy to work with. Thanks to you all had a wonderful tea snack. I will be making these again as my kids loved em.

  21. These look pretty, especially decorated w/the petals & ground pistachios…lovely colors. I would love to make these, but I use cups, not grams or ml…

    • @Mia I am so sorry, I don’t work with cups. It is not impossible to convert to cups- for each ingredient you can find the gram or millilitre equivalent in cups or tablespoons- there are loads of converters on the internet. Hope this helps.

  22. Sabreen says:

    These look dangerously moreish…amazing blog, love your descriptions and stories.

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