Recipe by Mary the Disturbed Stick Woman
This is a northern Indian-style flatbread, easy to make, very tasty, and a great accompaniment to a curry. It's adapted from the Rajasthani Salt and Spice Bread from "Flatbreads and Flavors" (Alvord and Duguid), with some small changes to create a healthier recipe. Preparation time includes 1 hour for the dough to rest.
- 2 cups atta flour
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Directions See How It's Made
- Place the atta flour in a medium bowl and make a well in the center.
- Add the water and stir until a soft dough forms.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth.
- Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let stand 1/2 to 1 hour so that the dough can relax.
- Toast the cumin seeds in a heavy skillet, stirring until they start to brown and smell good.
- Remove the cumin, grind in a mortar or spice mill, and set aside.
- In the same fashion, toast and grind the black pepper and set aside.
- Split the dough into eight pieces by rolling it out into an oblong, then cutting it in halves, then quarters, then eighths.
- Take one piece of dough, roll out into a circle about six inches in diameter, and spread lightly with some of the olive oil.
- Sprinkle the bread round with a pinch of the cumin, peppercorns, salt, and chopped cilantro (use 1/8 of each) on the bread.
- Roll the bread up into a cylinder, then roll the cylinder up like a snail shell, and then roll out once more into a circle.
- Toast the bread on a heated, lightly oiled griddle for 1-2 minutes a side or until lightly toasted.
- Repeat with the remaining bread.
- Keep the toasted breads on a plate or basket, covered with a clean dishtowel to keep them warm until serving.
- To freeze the breads before cooking, stack the bread rounds with a piece of waxed paper between each pair, then wrap in foil or place in a freezer bag.
- Ingredient note: Atta flour is a semi-refined flour made from durum wheat. It has some of the bran removed, but isn't all the way processed like the all-purpose white flour you find in an American supermarket. According to one source I found, there are different grades of Indian flour -- the one with the least bran removed is atta, then there's sooji, then there's maida which seems almost like a cake flour, very finely milled. Other sources say that atta has only the husk removed and that it's wholemeal, and it also seems that it varies from brand to brand -- for example, Sujatha brand is supposedly wholemeal, Golden Temple brand contains some maida. You can get atta at Indian or many Asian groceries, sold in bags just like all-purpose flour in a supermarket, or you can get it mailorder from somewhere like namaste.com, or another suggestion I haven't tried is to substitute Red Mill 100% whole wheat flour. You can also use all-purpose flour, which is what the recipe I adapted from calls for, but if you can get the atta I think you'll like it better.