Asia seems to be filled with different types of fried flat bread. There’s chapati, roti, naan and Tibetan bread, then head elsewhere and there’re tortillas, pita bread and probably a host of others we’ve never heard of. Some of these are so similar to one another it’s often hard to tell the difference and essentially they all come down to a very basic recipe, which we’ll use this week. These types of flat bread are fantastic as they are so versatile; use them to go with curries, make kebabs to soak up those Orientation brewskis, or top it with bacon and fried eggs on a Sunday morning.
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
1) Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
2) Add the water slowly, making sure that the whole mixture is covered, to form a soft dough.
3) Either in the bowl or on a bench, knead the dough until it doesn’t stick to your fingers. You may knead to add a little extra flour for this. The dough should be smooth and flexible.
4) Separate the dough into golf ball-sized portions.
5) Cover the dough and leave in a warm place for at least half an hour.
6) Roll each dough ball out into circles about 3mm high.
7) Heat a frying pan with a little oil and cook each side for about 20s or until the first sign of bubbles.
Makes about a dozen.
I love dicing up some carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, capsicums, red onions and tuna to place in the middle of the bread, then folding it up like you see them do it on a Saturday night at Hadi Gari. Just like that you have your own kebab for a fraction of the price, and you don’t even have to go Courtney Place or Cuba St for it! Don’t stick to my filling though, use whatever you like best, or whatever is left in the fridge. Great for a bit of al fresco dining while we have some decent weather in Wellington, or use it later in the year when cooking curries in those colder months. Flat bread is a great side dish for dipping in and soaking up those sauces. For good naan bread, add a tsp of yeast to the water and let it dissolve. Also add a Tbs of milk, a beaten egg, and an 1/8 of a cup of melted butter when mixing at step 2. Follow the rest of the recipe but let the dough rest for at least an hour. Cook for about 2 min or until golden on each side.
For Tibetan Bread, add a small bit of melted butter to the recipe in step 1. Make the dough balls larger and then when rolling out make them thicker, about 7 or 8mm. Turn the heat down on the frying pan to medium-low and cook for about 15min, turning the dough over regularly. It should turn out quite firm and is generally well fried and dripping with oil. Haven’t quite perfected the recipe, I think there must be something special in the flour they use at those high altitudes. Anyway, Tibetan bread is good for topping with baked beans and eggs.