summary: recipe for Chapatis, based on a recipe in “A Taste of India” by Madhur Jaffery; cooking on an electric stove, including a how-to video; a Bread Baking Babes project; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)
I know; we JUST made Indian flatbread! But this one is different – not nearly as rich.
I have the honour of being the host kitchen for this January. And I really wanted to choose bread that is made with just flour, water and salt. Heaven knows that we need to have something plain and simple after all our excesses over the holidays….
The foods of my childhood can still be found in Delhi: many more have been layered on. Morning still start in a haze of familiar smoke sent skyward by millions of stoves and cookers. […] Chapatis, delicate wholewheat breads, are slapped on to cast-iron griddles – tavas. These chapatis will be buttered lovingly, stacked, and then together with the vegetables and a piece of green mango pickle, ensconced inside the compartments of a million tiffin-carriers.
– Madhur Jaffrey, A Taste of India, p. 20
Recently, we have been thrilled with the chapatis we’ve been making. And while making chapatis for some people who make chapatis almost every day might be a little humdrum, for us, the thrill has not lessened. Not even remotely.
Eons ago, when we visited India and were staying with friends, T suggested that I should be showed how to make chapatis. We were all very excited. And when we got home, I tried and tried to replicate the bread. Finally (and I can’t remember where I got the idea), we had major success – because I used very hot water to mix the dough.
The BBBabes are travelling to Bangladesh and while there, making ghee and mawa (aka khoya). Well… most of the BBBabes are making ghee. One of us is lazy and is simply using melted butter.
My motto is: Always put off for tomorrow what could easily be done today.
And suddenly, tomorrow has arrived!! I don’t know why it takes me by surprise every time. (Sigh… late again.)
This month the BBBabes have been making Bakharkhani. Or is it Bhakarkhani? Or maybe it’s Bakar khani?! Or perhaps Baqerkhani. That’s the beauty of translating a Bangladeshi word into Western spelling. There are so many permutations!
However it’s spelled, it’s generally agreed that the actual bread is wonderful. And some people claim that it’s a healthy snack too!
SOME HEALTH FACTS RELATED TO BAKARKHANI
It is a healthy dish, which contains some good nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
The other day, we were surprised to see that green beans were priced at around $2/lb (yes, I know; Canada supposedly went metric eons ago. But, don’t get me started that most stores have not managed to make the switch…). Other vegetables were also priced on the high side even though we are celebrating Thanksgiving and the local harvest.
But we love green beans (so does the furry black fiend) so we bought some anyway.
And then as we were paying, we remembered that California is undergoing a drought. And so is Central America.
So. The next time you gasp in horror that your garden tomatoes didn’t do so well because it didn’t rain as much as you thought it would when you went away on holiday, it would be a good idea to do a reality check.
Here’s what drought really means:
Central America is seeing one of the worst droughts in decades. Images in the media are filled with stunted corn crops, parched land, and starving cattle. The El Niño affect has meant that rains came late and insufficiently. […] In a region where subsistence farmers depend on their harvest for both their family’s food and for income, this means that many families don’t have enough to eat until they can produce the next harvest.”
One of those things was the “beetroot thoran” from Kerala on page 72. When we read about stir-frying beets with curry leaves and coconut, we knew we had to try it!
Because I can’t stop buying beet tops (j’adore stir-fried beet-tops!), we always have beets lying around in the bottom of the vegetable bin in the fridge. But we don’t always have curry leaf on hand. Continue reading →
The other day, we rode to Indiatown to stock up on spices. And T announced that we needed anardana.
We needed what?!
He repeated, “Anardana. It was in the SAVEUR100. It sounds good. Don’t you remember?”
I know that I’ve claimed that I read SAVEUR cover to cover. But nope. I had no recollection of anardana.
So, when we got home, I riffled through the magazine and there it was:
In northern India and Pakistan, burgundy-colored anardana — ground sundried pomegranate seed — is stirred into stewed chickpeas, incorporated into meat rubs, and sprinkled atop myriad dishes for a burst of mouthwatering piquancy.
–Anardana, SAVEUR100, page 46, Issue #153, January 2013
And as I was reading about anardana, T looked through our several cookbooks to see if we had any recipes that called for anardana for a vegetarian dish that would go with lentils and flatbread for lunch. Continue reading →
Like so many others, we are trying to reduce our meat intake. And we often choose to make vegetarian dinners.
But our vegetarian dishes are not watery and bland. Or trying to mimic meat. Or tasteless and grey. They’re vibrant with many different flavours and textures.
The other night, as we were indulging ourselves with the most spectacular feast of rice, dahl, fried eggplant, aloo posta with green beans, and stir-fried cabbage, we couldn’t help but admit that if we decided to become exclusively vegetarian, we would probably be making just about everything Indian-style. Continue reading →