Monday, January 4, 2010

Wonderful Things to Eat #1 - Roti

I love Indian food. Really really love it. I make it myself, having never discovered anywhere in Gisborne that makes it the way I want - they're most definitely catering to a western palate, which is a bit sad. It does however force me to keep up my addiction to spice blending & experimentation, which is great.

One of the things I love about Indian food is the bread! It's primarily a Northern Indian thing, but I happily make Roti to go with Indian food from any region. In fact I'm quite happy to make Roti to go with Mexican food - food just tastes so good when it's all bundled up in a warm fresh Roti.

I make my roti using strong white baker's flour, it's hard to get hold of proper chappati flour here & wholemeal flour makes hideous crumbly bread. Not good. Roti is an unleavened bread, and the way I make it is much like making playdough! I use a cup or so of flour, and mix in boiling water with a wooden spoon until it all comes together. After that I put it on a floured board & knead it for 10 minutes or so - it feels wonderful & soft & elastic, the boiling water has a pretty big impact on getting the beautiful texture in my experience! You can put in a bit of oil or salt, or some cumin or nigella seeds if you like - they're perfectly good with only flour & water though!

A cup of flour makes enough bread for two people to eat greedily! A tiny bit of dough stretches a long way. I fry the roti in a hot dry frying pan, either a cast iron pan or a cheap but wonderful bread cooking pan I picked up at an Indian food store in Wellington. They puff up & go a gorgeous golden colour. I'm making myself hungry just thinking about them...So easy & fast, if you can make a batch of playdough you can do this! I actually made a batch with a class of year 3 & 4 kids (7/8 year olds) a few years back with great success.


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