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Spinach to the rescue

Monday, November 8, 2010

Spinach roti
I had spent two days trying to counter the effects of indulging on Nov 5. I visited relatives on Deepavali day and at one house, I was force-fed mutton varuval. It was very good curry, but it was also very rich and the aunty kept spooning more on to my plate as I finished the last mouthful.

I’ve had to be very careful with my food intake in the past couple of weeks because I need to be fit and healthy. Tomorrow I leave for Sydney to take a course and sit for an exam and I cannot fall ill. To refuse the delicious, but artery-clogging dishes served would have been an insult – and too much of a hassle to explain why I could eat only a little of it.

After that day, I just felt very heavy and sluggish and so all I had allowed myself to eat were fruits (nice!) and cereal (not so great). But last night, I had had enough.

So out came the flour and whatever I could find in the fridge. It seemed that I had everything for an Indian flat bread. Delicious and an opportunity to continue with the Deepavali theme.

I make chappati all the time. It uses few ingredients, is easy to make, and cooks quickly. I usually make it plain or with the simple addition of some fennel or cumin seeds, to eat with curry or chutney. This time, I didn't have anything to go with the bread and I wasn't keen on turning the spinach I had into a side dish, so I decided to just throw the vegetable into the mix. Hence, spinach roti.

The rolling method I detail below isn't necessary but it does help create a flaky, puffy roti. This method is used for Chinese spring onion pancakes, as well as Indian paratha, so I decided to give it a try.

The yoghurt makes the bread soft. If you add a little bit more of it as well as some instant yeast to the dough mix (plus some sugar), you could easily turn this roti into naan.

Makes 5-6

Spinach leaves from 1 bunch, cleaned (water still clinging to the leaves)
1 cup atta (or wholemeal) flour
1 cup bread flour
½ teaspoon salt
Large pinch of fennel, cumin, or onion seeds
Pinch of chilli powder
5-6 curry leaves, shredded
1 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons yoghurt
¾-1 cup hot water
Oil or ghee for brushing and frying
  • Place spinach leaves in a large pan over medium heat. Cover and steam until lightly wilted. Remove from pan, squeeze out excess water and chop finely.
  • Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix in chopped spinach, ghee and yoghurt. Add water gradually until mixture forms a soft, sticky dough. Knead for 5 minutes, then cover bowl and set aside for 30 minutes.
  • Divide dough into 5 or 6 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out into a thin circle. Brush the top with a little oil/ghee and roll up like a Swiss roll. Twist the length of dough into a loose spiral, flatten and roll out again into a 2mm-thick circle.
1&2: Roll out, spread with ghee and roll up like a Swiss roll; 3: Twist into a spiral; 4: Press to help the roti puff up
  • Heat a griddle over high heat, put in a little oil/ghee and rub the base lightly with a scrunched up paper towel so that the whole surface is greased. Place the roti into the hot griddle and press with a spatula or clean kitchen cloth. When air pockets start to form, flip the roti; there should be brown spots all over the surface.* Cook the other side.
  • Remove and keep warm while you cook the rest of the roti.
  • Fold into halves or triangles and serve with a curry or chutney.
* The heat should be kept on medium high so that the roti cooks quickly and puffs up. But if you're getting black spots instead of brown, then you know it's too hot!

1 comment:

  1. I have tried the chinese pancakes and it was lovely..will give this a try when I cook curry next. Looks delicious! Thanks for sharing:)


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