I often marvel at some of the creative ways, Indian cuisine introduces protein into vegetarian dishes. One of the most common ingredients is through the use of chickpea flour or besan, in lieu of regular whole wheat or all purpose white flour. It is a kitchen staple in most Indian homes and is used in almost everything from thickening sauces to batters, crepes and breads. Yesterday was a classic winter day, snowy, cold and beautiful. A perfect day to spent fussing around the kitchen and cook, with the added benefits of staying warm and basking in comforting aromas and cook and nurture the family. I also made one of our family staples, something that my children call yellow chapattis (since they have a nice yellow color from the use of turmeric). These golden yellow flatbreads called Missy Roti, are a traditional recipe from the North Indian state of Punjab). Warm and brushed with a fruity olive oil, just before serving in lieu of the clarified butter, you have a healthy and comforting treat that can be a complete meal with some Indian pickles or lentils depending on what you want to eat it with.
yields 8 flatbreads
- 1 inch piece of fresh ginger
- 1 tomato, quatered
- 1 green chili
- ¼ cup of washed cilantro leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 and ½ cup chickpea flour (besan)
- 1 and ¼ cup of all purpose white flour
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil plus extra for cooking and brushing
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- ¾ cup water
- Place the ginger, tomato, green chili in the food processor and process till very well mixed should be almost a paste.
- Add in the cilantro and thyme leaves and pulse a few times.
- Add in the chickpea flour and ¾ cup all purpose flour and turmeric, salt and the olive oil and pulse a few times until the mixture is a crumbly wet mass.
- Remove the mixture into a mixing bowl and add the onion and begin kneading the mixture.
- Add water in small amounts as needed and add additional white flour to form a smooth dough. The chickpea flour has a sticky consistency and therefore white flour is needed to make the mixture manageable. About an additional ½ cup flour is needed to get the right balance.
- Shape into a smooth ball and add 1 teaspoon of oil to make a smooth round.
- Cover and let the dough rest in a warm place for an hour.
- Knead the dough well again before using.
- Break into 8 to 9 lime sized balls.
- Place on a well floured surface and roll the dough out carefully to an even circle.
- Heat a flat pan or skillet for a minute, a good cast iron one is best.
- Place the flatbread on the skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes, it should actually lighten and appear to lose some moisture.
- Turn and cook for another minutes.
- Brush well with olive oil, turn and repeat. The flatbread should puff up and turn darker brown and crisp at spots.
- Repeat this process until all the dough is used up.
- Chickpea Flour