Mint Parathas

Mint paratha - final

This week LSH and I were eating out at a friend’s. She had a curry evening planned and so she asked me to bring bread (with wine obviously!). I was surprised by this – last time I took Indian breads they looked more like crispbreads than naans. So having been given a second chance I was keen to impress. So alongside the Missi Roti and some pistachio naan breads I made this flatbread. It’s a simple recipe,although it does involve a bit of “bread origami”, and is just a bit different with its flaky texture and flecks of mint.

Mint paratha - fan

Take 225g of chappatti flour (or a mix of 50:50 plain and wholemeal) and put in a bowl. Grind 1 tsp of dried mint into a powder and add to the flour along with a handful of roughly chopped fresh mint leaves. Mix together with a pinch of salt and then mix in 140ml of warm water. Put to one side for about an hour.

Divide into 6 balls. Take one and roll it out thinly into a rectangle. Brush with melted butter and then fan or pleat together. Then coil it into a snail.

Mint paratha - coil

Roll the coil out into a circle before dry frying on a medium heat for a couple of minutes each side. Repeat with the rest of the bread. Serve warm with your favourite curry.


Love Baking Bread Magazine – Kamut Pitta Bread

Kamut pitta bread - slices

It’s back! The latest edition of Love Baking Bread is in newsagents now and already the pages of my copy are covered in flour and oil. I’ve reviewed the previous edition of this and have made a few breads from its pages (with varying degrees of success).

Richard Bertinet and Paul Hollywood are still there but this time there is no Gino D’Acampo which is a shame as I thought that his recipes were some of the most appealing. Instead we have the Hairy Bikers, John Whaite and Ruth Clements making their debut, so if you fancy trying their recipes before investing in the book this is one way to do it.

There are a few flatbreads in this month’s edition including a Kamut pitta bread. We’re completely out of pitta breads and it’s something that I’ve never had a go at making. But I had half a bag of kamut flour lurking in the back of the cupboard so I thought that I’d give this one a go.

You can find the recipe here on the Dove Farm website but I did make a couple of changes. I started this late morning thinking that “it’s a flatbread, it won’t need long”. Then I saw that it was supposed to take 4-6 hours to rise! This was going to end up being tea rather than lunch….

So I had a rethink.  Paul Hollywood’s “normal” pitta bread only takes about an hour and I didn’t think that you needed long to develop flavour in a flat bread (particularly as I planned to dip it into vast quantities of taramasalata!). But kamut is lower in gluten so I guessed that this was the reason that it needed such a long rising time. I’ve previously made a kamut loaf using a Richard Bertinet recipe where the dough was 3/5 kamut flour to 2/5 white bread flour. So I did the same here and used 300g of kamut and 200g white bread flour.

After about 1 and a half hours it had comfortably doubled in volume so I dusted the worktop with fine semolina. I divided the dough into 10 pieces rolling each out to about 3-5mm thick before baking as per the recipe.

Kamut pitta bread

I think that they worked pretty well. They certainly puffed up well in the oven and didn’t take any longer to bake. They had a slight golden colour from the kamut that looked really appealing but these were ready in less than half the time. Frankly I think that life is too short to wait that long for a pitta bread no matter how nice the final result may be!


Kamut pitta breads

Curry Night In

Flat BreadsSaturday night is rapidly turning into homemade curry night – with homemade breads of course. You’d think that naan breads would be relatively easy but there are so many variations about that trying to find the “right” recipe was proving easier said than done (a recent recipe produced crispbreads rather than naans…). I was looking for something more robust and flavoursome and felt that yeast rather than baking powder was the way to go.

So I gave another Hairy Bikers’ recipe a go – a naan bread with oomph and lots of flavour with the addition of fennel and poppy seeds kneaded into it. Possibly a little too much on the “bready” side ( I think I needed to make them a little thinner) but good for mopping up the spicy sauce of my tikka masala (plus they freeze well as well). You can find the recipe on the BBC website.

But I’d also spotted a recipe for Missi Roti in Food and Travel magazine . Described as a “simple, rustic chickpea bread from Rajasthan” it sounded (and looked) delicious and definitely not the sort of thing I can get from my local curry house (unless your local is the Cinnamon Kitchen in London which is where this recipe comes from).

Close up of Missi Roti

Why have one bread when you can have two….! So I set to work mixing gram and white flour together with onions, coriander, chilli, turmeric and ajowan seeds. I added more water to the mix as it seemed a little dry to me and used red chillies rather than the green in the recipe and it worked pretty well. Its certainly an attractive bread and one of the more unusual Indian breads I’ve tried.

I suspect that curry nights are going to be a regular occasion from now on so any suggestions for breads to go with them will be gratefully received.

Easter Baking

The run up to Easter has been cold this year. Whilst the snow has (finally!) gone from our back garden, the weather is still too cold to make a start on usual Easter gardening tasks. So more baking it is.

After teacakes on Good Friday, Saturday saw the baking of a cheese and bacon bread as requested by my LSH. He was making chicken tagine for dinner so I decided to make some North African flatbreads to accompany it.

Farid Zadi’s Algerian flatbreads with their spicy flavour looked just the thing. Unfortunately the recipe was from an American site so a bit of translating was needed. The original recipe can be found here. My “briticised” and two person friendly version is below.

Algerian flatbreads

These reminded me of the parathas that we get in our local curry house so I’m tempted to change the spice base to turn them into an Indian flatbread to accompany our curry in future. I think that adding a bit more cumin with a pinch of chilli powder and omitting the paprika should do it.

Algerian Flatbreads (makes 6)

Mix 110g white bread flour and 115g sieved whole meal flour in a bowl with 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tbsp of olive oil.

Add about 140ml of water a bit at a time until you get a soft sticky dough (you may need more or less depending on your flour).

Turn out onto a lightly floured worktop and knead for about 5-10 mins until its smooth and silky. Form into a ball and put into a clean bowl covered in 1tbsp olive oil. Cover and leave for an hour or so (mine was left for nearly 2 with no ill effects).

Mix 1/2 tsp each of ground cumin, paprika and turmeric with 2tbsp olive oil. Stir well until it forms a thick oily paste.

Divide the dough into 6 ( mine weighed about 65g each) .

Lightly flour the worktop and roll out each piece into a thin rectangle about 1 or 2 mm thick. Brush the surface with a thin later of the spiced oil (use about 1tsp per piece). Then roll up tightly and form into a spiral. Repeat.

Lightly flour again and then roll out each spiral into about a 10cm round (or whatever fits your frying pan). I stacked mine separated with baking parchment which made it easier to then flip them into the frying pan.

Heat a frying pan on about a medium heat and dry fry each bread for 2min each side until its puffed and golden.