About This Komaj Recipe
Originating from Iran, Komaj is a wonderfully soft bun infused with turmeric and cumin and stuffed with dates. Turmeric and cumin are both spices native to the area and are a common staple in Iranian dishes.
These Persian buns have high-calorie ingredients, so eating a piece of it with a glass of milk will keep you full and satiated for hours. They’re a common addition to many dishes at a Persian dinner table or as an accompaniment to a cup of tea mid-afternoon.
The dough made for Komaj is quite firm when kneading and filling the buns. Traditionally, the dough is rolled out and a cookie cutter is used to cut out discs, put in the filling, and then seal it like a patty. However, these often split and become misshapen when baking, which is why I’ve used a more common method of filling buns by hands to ensure the perfect round shape and no leakage!
Although Komaj were typically cut into heart shapes, not everyone has single-use equipment, so it’s becoming more common for them to be made in a simple round or square shape now.
A hearty bread with a very unique flavor profile, these Persian date-filled buns could be the showstopper of your next dinner party!
What You Need for This Komaj Recipe
- Strong White Bread Flour: The best flour for doughs enriched with eggs and butter. Bread flour has a high protein content that allows the dough to lift all those heavy fats into a wonderful fluffy bun.
- Sugar: Not only does sugar do the obvious by adding sweetness, but it also helps feed the yeast during its rise.
- Salt: Salt is crucial in all bakes. It should not be limited to savory dishes as salt will always bring out the flavors in any baked goods.
- Olive Oil: The best oil for blending flavors and lifting them to new realms. It also compliments the cumin seeds beautifully.
- Egg: Whole eggs have two purposes in the dough — the egg yolk adds fat, which makes the recipe more flavorful, and the egg white adds stability and structure to the dough. This is important so the dough doesn’t collapse whilst baking, resulting in a dense bake.
- Milk: Unlike water, milk tenderizes the gluten in the dough without breaking it down. This means your bakes will be incredibly tender and fluffy.
- Turmeric: Adds a beautifully earthy note to the dough as well as that striking sunshine color. Turmeric is also said to improve circulation in the body.
- Cumin Seeds: A little smokiness with a punch of flavor. Toasting these seeds bring out extra smokiness and flavor.
- Dates: Dates are incredibly fudgy and speak volumes on their own. And the blend of butter, dates, and cardamom in this creates a beautiful marriage of flavors.
- Butter: Butter acts as a binder in the filling as well as ensures the dates don’t dry out as they bake.
- Cardamom: Arguably one of the most aromatic spices used globally, cardamom is common in Middle Eastern and Scandinavian cuisine. It adds warmth and a little brightness to the entire bake.
- Dates: If you don’t fancy using fresh dates or they aren’t easily available, you can always substitute the dates for an equal amount of prunes.
- Cumin Seeds: If you’re not a fan of cumin seeds, you can halve the amount and substitute with caraway seeds.
Can I make this ahead of time?
Yes! You can make both the filling and dough ahead of time. Follow the recipe and instead of letting the dough rise at room temperature, pop it into the fridge overnight for a slow prove. The next day, carry on with the recipe and shape it into individual rolls.
Where can I find dates?
Most supermarkets will carry a range of dates. If you can’t find Medjool, you can use other dates that have the stones removed. If you’re struggling to find them in a supermarket, you’re most likely to find them in a produce market or health food shops.
Persian Date Bread with Turmeric and Cumin (Komaj)
A staple in Iranian cuisine and culture, Komaj or Persian Date Bread are adorable little rolls flavored with turmeric and cumin seeds with a fudgy date and cardamom filling. Perfect to accompany dinners and a wonderful sweet treat to be enjoyed with tea in the afternoon.
Yield: 6 buns
How To Make Komaj Step By Step
To toast the cumin seeds, heat a dry skillet over medium heat and tumble in the seeds for 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
In a small saucepan, heat the milk until it reaches room temperature before stirring in the yeast. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes to become lively and a little frothy.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Pour in the yeasted milk along with the olive oil, egg, ground turmeric, and cumin seeds. Knead for 10 minutes until you have a soft dough. Cover and allow to double in size (1 hour approximately).
Meanwhile, chop the dates and combine them with the butter and ground cardamom. Cover and set aside.
Once the dough has proved, knock the air back and divide into 6 equal pieces. Flatten each piece of the dough into a disc between your palms and spoon some of the date filling inside.
Pinch the edges together toward the center to enclose the filling and roll between your palms to create a tight ball. Repeat with the remaining dough before covering and allowing the dough pieces to double in size once more.
Once you’re nearing the end of the second prove, preheat your oven to 400℉. Beat an egg, and using a pastry brush, wash over the tops of the buns and sprinkle with a few extra cumin seeds.
Bake for 12-14 minutes before removing from the oven and allowing the buns to cool on a wire rack. Dust with a little confectioner's sugar and serve!
- These rolls are best eaten on the day of baking, although you can reheat them the next day in a gentle oven for 5-10 minutes.