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.

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Broccolini Chicken Pizza

brocollinipizza

It was not until recently that I became obsessed with adding greens onto my pizza. I grew up with pizza consisting of cheese, pepperoni and sauce–no deterring from the norm. However, greens add a nutritional note to your dishes without unnecessary calories and pair well with a variety of ingredients. For instance, broccolini chicken pizza is a sweet and savory combination. The sweet, citrus ricotta paired with the vibrant greens and mouthwatering chicken brings heavenly flavors to my tummy. The recipe shows me that greens and creativity bring delicious meals to the table.

Broccolini is a green vegetable similar to broccoli but with smaller florets and longer, thinner stalks. It is a hybrid of broccoli and kai-lan, Chinese broccoli, developed by the Sakata Seed Company of Yokohama, Japan. Broccolini is also known as asparation, asparations, bimi, broccoletti, broccolette and tenderstem. The entire vegetable is consumable, including theoccasional yellow flower. Common cooking methods include sauteeing, steaming, boiling and stir-frying. Its flavor is sweet, with notes of both broccoli and asparagus, although it is not closely related to the latter. Nutritionally, it is high in vitamin C and contains vitamin A, calcium and iron.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. I used broccolini. It is one of my favorite vegetables, but it can be hard to find in grocery stores. Take advantage while you can!
  2. I nixed the lemon zest because I had bottled lemon juice only. The zest helps the acidity and adds a fresh note to the pizza.
  3. I used a pre-made crust and adjusted the cooking times; however, soon after I found out that Trader Joe’s has whole-wheat pizza dough. (Shout out to Charlie Mai for letting me know it existed!)brocollinipizza2
  4. I suggest nixing the oil in half. I felt the oiled pizza crust made it soggy and was unnecessary fat in your diet. Save those calories for something you really want–like dessert…heehee.
  5. Ricotta is thick and grainy. Mixing it with lemon juice helps soften the cheese, and it becomes similar in texture to pesto.
  6. I cleaned my chicken breast of the fatty deposits and chopped them evenly. You need the pieces small enough to cook through without overcooking your broccolini.
  7. Pile the toppings onto the crust; I had enough topping to make two pizzas.
  8. Baking the pizza with the toppings facilitates the process of creating an adhesion between ingredients and melting the ricotta.
  9. I suggest cooking the chicken until just about done on the stovetop. This method will allow the chicken to continue cooking while preparing the pizza and again in the oven without overcooking it creating a dry, juiceless texture.

The topping alone contains vast amounts of flavor. Adding those flavors to the top of a delicious bread and we have a winner. The pizza adds a variety to your daily routine. You can still enjoy the normalcy of pizza with a twist. Incorporating broccolini onto circular bread is a great way to trick little ones, or yourself, into eating their greens.

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