Monday, November 16, 2009

Root Vegetable Flatbreads

A couple weekends ago the fella and I drove to visit my family for the afternoon. While we were waiting on gathering the entire family to have dinner together my mother got out the Vitamix that had been hiding unused in my grandmother's basement for a while. It is an original version from the late sixties with a very vague instruction manual and no lid for the spout on the top. The book suggests using an apple to cover the hole in the top of the mixer while it is in use. Ah the good ole days when seatbelts and kitchen appliances with safety latches were largely over looked.

My mother stood back amused as the fella and I made flour out of everything she handed us. An hour later we had several pound of very finely ground almond flour, lentil flour, chickpea flour, and brown rice flour. At the cost of some raw ingredients and the loss our hearing for the afternoon (chickpeas in a grinder is one of the worst noises you will ever hear) we had enough flour to play with for months. Now I really want a Vitamix, a hand flour grinder, anything to never have to pay the outrageous prices for non gluten flour again.

Now the problem became what to make with something as crazy as lentil flour. All signs pointed to some flatbread Indian type creation. So I modified a flatbread recipe that called for wheat flour by switching in almond and lentil flour. It seemed likely to fail but with enough creativity I made it work. These were okay with the Shahi Paneer for “date night” dinner with the fella the other night but they weren't as great as I was hoping for.

The problem was I made them too thick, trying to roll them out and treat them like the gluteny original recipe would have which lead to a lot of crumbled dough and flatbreads that were raw in the middle. I put the rest of the dough in tin foil in the fridge for the next couple of days trying to figure what to do with it, worried that I wasted my exciting homemade flour on this creation.

While I was trying to figure out what to bring to my wine tasting group I remembered this flatbread dough was waiting to be fried up. I figured that though they weren't that great people might find a couple bites each interesting and it at least wouldn't get thrown away. To my great surprise while cooking them up at the last minute, this time around they were amazing. Turns out allowing the vegetables time to moisten the dough improved the consistency a lot and hand shaping tiny bite sized pieces made them easier to fry and made sure they got cooked all the way through making them chewy but crispy . My recipe worked out really well and I almost would have never known if I wouldn't have been too lazy to make something original to go with my wine.

These went over really well at the tasting. Not sure they are the perfect thing to pair with Malbec but it worked out alright nonetheless. So here is the recipe for all my fellow winos who wondered what was in the weird little fried breads. There are a lot of ingredients but I tried to organize them so you can track down all the related ingredients at the same time rather than running in circles around the kitchen.

Root Vegetable Flatbreads

1/2 cup chickpea flour
1 1/2 cup almond flour
3/4 cup lentil flour

2 cups grated carrot
1/2 cup grated radish or zucchini
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
1 chili, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 egg, whisked well
2 tablespoons yogurt

2 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chili powder

oil for frying

Dry roast the chickpea flour in a frying pan over medium heat until it is fragrant and no longer smells raw. The flour will give off a really nice smell as it cooks letting you know when it's toasted. It will benefit from being shifted through a mesh sieve after toasting so it won't be clumpy. I shifted the other two flours before adding them too the bowl as well.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the oil.

Coat your hands with a thin layer of oil and hand mix the ingredients together until it is a sticky fully integrated dough. You will probably need to add a couple tablespoons water to get the dough to be properly sticky and hold together without crumbling. Keep kneading the ingredients together with your fingers until it is moist enough to form a ball.

Add enough oil to a large frying pan in fry the bread. When the oil is hot enough for frying add more oil to your hands and beginning forming thin cookie sized rounds out of the dough with your fingers. Get them as thin as you possibly can without the dough crumbling. They don't have to be perfectly shaped or a totally uniform thickness.

Fry as many as you can fit in the pan at a time without over crowding them, for about 1 minute on each side or until they just start turning brown. Remove from pan and drain on a plate covered in paper towel.

The dough will keep for a couple days if stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator. This recipe makes enough for two people to nibble on for days so I fried up small batches over the week. The dough actually becomes easier to work with the day after it's mixed up as the grated vegetables give off some moisture so if it is giving you trouble right after combining it, chill it over night and come back to it the next day.

Idea from very not gluten free original recipe at Ecurry blog.

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