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The Memory Dish - Easy flatbreads inspired by Jordan

Friday 7 March 2014

Welcome to the first post in a new series called 'The Memory Dish'. Each week, I'll feature a recipe inspired from my travels, from far flung locations to a wee local cafe. Whether it's a great cocktail from a memorable bar, or something to dazzle at dinner, rest assured it will be tasty, fun and simple. Trust me - I'm not one for a complicated show in the kitchen. So with no further ado, welcome to the first Memory Dish!  

Every meal I had in Jordan was preceded by a table of flatbreads, hummous, abbouleh and fattoush. Each time they appeared, I would try to stop myself from going to town on the chewy warm flatbreads, thusly filling myself up before I even got started.

But each time, without fail, I would dig in with such careless abandon that I scarcely cared about the meal to follow. I regret nothing. I could happily sit for hours, scooping up various gloops with a torn shred of bread, gradually working my way through a pile of the things. So what better way to kick off the Memory Dish than with a super simple recipe to recreate them at home.

There are various recipes for authentic Taboon flatbreads, involving rising, kneading and spices.

I have gone for the easy route, adapting a recipe from reliable kitchen hero Jamie Oliver. I have mainly done this because by gum, it's the quickest damn way to make flatbreads. They're also delicious. The yoghurt adds a fluffiness and a hint of tang lacking in simpler no-knead recipes, and my own spice mix gives it a little something extra.

I prefer a mix of wholemeal and white flours, which is what I've included below. But experiment with all other types, by all means. The first time I made these, I used a combination of stoneground wholemeal and plain white flour. It worked well, but was a little dense, which is why I made the switch to self raising white flour. I also added a few spices in, to get more of a Middle Eastern flavour. Of course, if your accompanying dish is spicy, you needn't bother.

I serve these with hummous, but they're also great with baba ganoush and tzatziki.

Jordan Flatbreads
Adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe

250g flour (I used 150g white self raising and 100g stoneground wholemeal) plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
5 coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 scant teaspoon baking powder
250g natural yoghurt

1. Sieve your flours into a bowl.

2. In a pestle and mortar, smash your salt with the spices.

3. Mix your spiced salt into the flours and give it a good stir.

4. Add in your yoghurt, and mix with a wooden spoon until you have a rough dough. Then give it a bit of a knead, until you're left with a smooth dough. You'll probably need to add some extra flour in, but this doesn't take long at all.

5. When you're ready to eat, roll the dough into a sausage and cut into 6 discs. Roll each one into a thin circle. Jamie says the same size as a side plate, which I got a little confused by. You probably won't. I would say roll it as thin as you can without making holes. Do be sure that it's of an even thickness, though, or your cooking times will vary.

6. Heat a non stick frying pan or a griddle pan until it's smoking. When it's ready, pop a flatbread in there and cook for a couple of minutes, until it starts to rise and bubble. Then flip it over and cook on the other side. Mine took around 3 minutes a side - I waited until there was a charred black line from the Bette Griddler to know it was ready.

8. Enjoy! These are best served fresh and warm, but they do keep quite well, unlike other flatbreads. Just pop them into a toaster or a low oven to heat them up.

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