Roti–Indian Flatbread

I love bread! It is a horrible and honest answer, but since I was a child I have enjoyed bread of any kind. I was excited to have found a recipe for what I had thought was naan. However, I was surprisingly excited to understand the differences between naan and what I found to have made, roti. The following describes the subtle differences:

Naan or Nan is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread. It is popular in West, Central and South Asia. In Iran, from which the word ultimately originated, nān does not carry any special significance, as it is merely the everyday word for any kind of bread. Naan in other parts of South Asia usually refers to a specific kind of thick flatbread. Generally, it resembles pita and, like pita bread, is usually leavened with yeast or with bread starter. Naan is cooked in a tandoor, from which tandoori cooking takes its name. This distinguishes it from roti, which is usually cooked on a flat or slightly concave iron griddle called a tava. Typically, it will be served hot and brushed with ghee or butter. It can be used to scoop other foods, or served stuffed with
a filling.

roitindianflatbread

Roti is generally an Indian bread, made from stoneground wholemeal flour, traditionally known as atta flour, that originated and is consumed in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. It is also consumed in parts of South Africa, the southern Caribbean–particularly in Trinidad and Tobago–Guyana and Fiji. Its defining characteristic is that it is unleavened. Indian naan bread, by contrast, is a yeast-leavened bread. Roti and its thinner variant, known as chapati, are integral to Indian and Pakistani cuisine

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. I used whole-wheat flour.
  2. I used more than the amount of water suggested.
  3. You want to create dough that is firm but a cohesive piece.
  4. I mixed the dough in my Kitchen Aide mixer, then I kneaded it to incorporate the missed flour and lost pieces.
  5. I was able to divide my dough into nine balls, probably 12 had I made them evenly sized.
  6. Be sure to roll them thinly. Thicker pieces will leave a doughy texture when cooked.
  7. After rolling them, place them on a cookie sheet layering them with paper towels to keep them from sticking.
  8. Be sure to not over flour them because the flour residue will stick to the naan during the cooking process and be left afterwards. No one likes raw flour.
  9. Heat the skillet, without oil or Pam, on high.rotiindianflatbread2
  10. The dough will begin to bubble with air pockets within 30 seconds. Flip the bread immediately to reduce the chance of burning the bread and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
  11. The tops of the naan will be freckled with brown cook spots.
  12. Oil only the top of the naan. Because the bread is thin, the oil will be absorbed on both sides.

Understanding my love for Indian dishes, I am thrilled to understand both the difference between naan and roti and having found a recipe that allow for a traditional bread to accompany my future exotic dishes. Paired with a curried quinoa stew or as a side to a tikka masala, the roti is simple and easy to make. You can even add peanut butter and enjoy as is, like my mother. Hurry though because with friends and family there might not be any left
for you.

Leave a comment with your favorite Indian recipes. Follow my Pinterest for more recipes. Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.

Curried Quinoa Stew

curriedquinoastew

Quinoa is thriving in the new year. People, like myself, are enjoying the seed that offers vast amount of protein per carbohydrate. It can run close in comparison to the textures of couscous or pearl barley and works as a gluten free, nutritional powerhouse. The addition of quinoa to stews works perfectly because the seed grows and cooks in a liquid base. So, jumping on the quinoa bandwagon, the curried quinoa stew delivers on all notes.

curriedquinoastew2

Curry, is the generic English term primarily employed in Western culture to denote a wide variety of dishes whose origins are Southern and Southeastern Asian cuisines, as well as New World cuisines influenced by them such as Trinidadian, Mauritian or Fijian. In originaltraditional cuisines, the precise selection of spices for each dish is a matter of national or regional cultural tradition, religious practice and, to some extent, family preference. Curry powder, a commercially prepared mixture of spices, is largely a Western notion, dating to the 18th century. Such mixtures are commonly thought to have first been prepared by Indian merchants for sale to members of the British Colonial government and army returning to Britain. Curries may be either wet or dry. Wet curries contain significant amounts of sauce or gravy based on yogurt, coconut milk, legume purée (dal) or stock. Dry curries are cooked with very little liquid that is allowed to evaporate, leaving the other ingredients coated with the spice mixture. The main spices found in most South Asian curry powders are turmeric, coriander and cumin; a wide range of additional spices may be included depending on the geographic region.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. I used baby carrots in place of chopping a large carrot.
  2. Using fresh ginger is essential in curry related meals. It adds depth and a more authentic taste to the dish.
  3. I made my own curry powder. It is an equal mixture of turmeric, ground cumin, coriander and cayenne (optional).
  4. I used tomato sauce. I do not care for tomatoes and the sauce thickens the stew without leaving chunks.
  5. You can use vegetable broth for a vegetarian dish.
  6. I used white kidney beans in place of black beans. It was by random chance that I mixed the two cans up; however, I feel the kidney beans work better to balance the dish whereas black beans would overpower the flavors.
  7. The nut buttes add a depth of flavor to the dish and a creaminess to the soup. Also, it provides a hint of the end color.
  8. I nixed the cilantro because I do not care for the minty Mexican spice.
  9. Use a fair amount of spinach because it will wilt in the stew. Tearing it can be essential in dispersing the spinach evenly without spinach balls.
  10. I liked to cook my dish in my dutch oven. It works equally to a large pot, but the spices and flavors of curry will sink into the soul of your dutch oven: YUM!
  11. After adding the quinoa, stir the dish occasionally to keep it from burning. You will begin to notice that the stew becomes thicker as the quinoa absorbs the liquid while
    being tossed.
  12. Similar to the quinoa chili I have created in the past, you could substitute the carrots with sweet potatoes. Keep in mind that your nutritional information would then change as well since carrots are low in calories.

I have a knack for enjoying Indian dishes. Curry’s potent flavors and aroma are one of my favorite spices to work with. It can transform dishes into wonderful meals. I enjoy that curries and Indian dishes incorporate a vast amount of spices: meaning I can obtain flavor without calories. From the nuttiness of the peanut butter to the protein of the quinoa, my stomach was dancing after enjoying the meal. Eaten on a cold winter night or for an Indian flared party, the dish will wow friends and family alike.

Leave a comment with your favorite Indian recipes. Follow my Pinterest for more recipes. Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.

Coconut Souffle

coconutsouffle2Soufflés are temperamental and extremely difficult in their own way.  Theoutcome is all in the egg whites.  They have to be whipped to perfection in order to master the soufflé.  Eggs are the key ingredient for the lightness and airiness of a soufflé.  Improperly beaten egg whites (both under- and over-beaten) aren’t aerated adequately, and as a result, the final product is dense, flat, and a disappointment.  However, the taste is still there, so don’t be too dishearten by this coconut soufflé.

Many times, making a soufflé takes many attempts to gain perfection.  Keep in mind that the fresher the eggs the better they are at being whipped; keep the egg whites and yellows as separate as possible; keep beating until you have stiff, shiny peaks.  Increase the speed of the beaters slowly.  Signs that you have overbeaten your eggs are a dry and curdled look with liquid weeping from the sides.  While the eggs can still be used, they will affect the overall look of your soufflé making it denser.

Some other tips to keep in mind:

  1. I would add the coconut extract to the batter to keep it from making your dry ingredients stick in clumps.
  2. I would add more of the coconut extract than required for a more coconut flavor.
  3. I used Stevia; however, its light texture does not work well in this recipe and it has a diet aftertaste.  You’re already breaking the calorie count with this recipe so go for the real stuff.  If you are concerned, use ½ the amount of sugar with Truvia.  Truvia is sweeter and zero calorie than regular sugar.coconutsouffle
  4. The third rack in the oven is important.  It allows the tops to puff and brown along with the dessert to be cook all the way through.
  5. When mixing in the egg whites to the batter, do so gently.  Again you don’t want to overbeat your egg whites and mush them into nothing.
  6. You can toast coconut in the oven to dust on top of the finished soufflé.
  7. I would suggest adding whipped topping to give the dessert a yummy creaminess.
  8. You can use other sized ramekins, just remember to adjust the cooking times.  I used 7oz ramekins and it took about 20 minutes to cook thoroughly.
  9. The soufflés are finished when you have a puffed top and golden crust.

Challenge yourself with making a soufflé of your own.  There are many types of flavors that can be added to please any taste buds.  Remember that white soufflés are not as sweet as darker, chocolate soufflés.  Check back soon to hear about my chocolate soufflé tips for those once a month cravings.

Leave a comment below with how your egg whites work.  Be sure to follow my Pinterest.  Check back again next Wednesday for more tips from the cooking bug.

Cauliflower Pizza

cauliflowerpizza2

When it comes to pizza, cauliflower is the last thing from my mind.  I picture a large pepper, onion and pepperoni pizza oozing of cheese and a crisp, chewy, garlic bread crust.  However, once you go cauliflower you’ll never go back.  A few weeks back, I tried cauliflower as a substitution to tortillas.  This cheesy, cauliflower pizza seems to follow in those steps.

While it can’t replace your greasy, heart attack pizza, it can provide a healthier meal and delicious flavors.  Keep in mind that like many dishes with cauliflower, it can have a more grainy texture that might take some getting used to.  With a layer of sauce and a sprinkle of cheese, you can extinguish your pizza fix in a healthier setting.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Remember that ricing the cauliflower means using as little of the stems as possible and making it in a more moldable form.  Be sure to wipe down the sides a few times during this process.
  2. Once riced, microwave it in order to get more of the liquid strained from the cauliflower.
  3. I used a paper towel and drained the liquid in batches.  Let the cauliflower cool before handling or your hands will get burned.
  4. I sprayed the parchment paper with Pam instead of olive oil to cut the calories and make it healthier.
  5. Using a pizza stone works best because it will not burn as easily, but a cookie sheet works just as well.
  6. Use your hand to pat out the crust and make sure that it is evenly spread around in the shape you want.  It should be easily moldable like Moonsand but not goopy like putty.cauliflowerpizza
  7. I cooked the crust for 15-20 minutes adding more time for a crispier center.
  8. We used a Boboli sauce because it has a sweetness to it, and NO other sauce can
    beat it.
  9. I used a mixture of 3 types of cheese on top: Manchego, Gruyere and Fontina. They compliment each other very well and are mild yet tasty.  We used 2 oz of each, but I recommend next time using 1 oz.
  10. Because we are using so many cheeses there was a thin layer of grease.  If you don’t want the grease, just dab it lightly with a napkin.
  11. I recommend not using peppers and tomatoes because these vegetables release water in the cooking process making the
    crust soggy.
I split the pizza into 8 slices raining in about 230 calories per slice.  With that count and a veggie bottom, I am in heaven.  Now you can enjoy a healthier, tasty version of pizza.  The recipe allows for gluten free, Paleo (using their own toppings) and vegetarians to dig in and enjoy.  This pizza recipe allows for me to indulge in my pizza cravings without killing my calories.  One piece of a regular pizza ranges 300-400 calories while this one kicks that in half.
Leave a comment with your thoughts on cauliflower.  Be sure to follow my Pinterest.  Check back next Wednesday for more treats and tips from The Cooking Bug.