This is a guest post from one of our Delectable Destinations travelers Monica Matheny from theyummylife.com
The flatbread recipe that I share further down in this post was inspired by the amazing food I enjoyed on a cultural and culinary trip to India. I will forever love India and cherish the memories of my 2 weeks in a country that is filled with friendly people, vivid colors, beautiful sights, rich history, and fabulous food. I so look forward to returning there someday.
My India trip took place before the world shut down and international travel came to a halt. My travels and the memorable friendships formed there have been particularly on my mind in the midst of the heartbreaking loss from the health crisis in India that has been dominating the news. The Indian people are resilient, and I know they will get through this difficult time. My heart goes out to them.
A highlight of my India trip was meeting a remarkable group of women and traveling companions from Australia, England, and Canada. I had so much fun with these kindred spirits, and I can’t wait until we can travel together again. Pictured below at the Taj Mahal (seated l-r) Debbie, Angela, Liz; (standing l-r) me, Shawna.
A Tour to Remember!
My India trip was planned and led by Carol Ketelson, owner of Delectable Destinations. This small, intimate tour was as good as it gets, and it’s in no small part due to Carol’s impeccable taste and attention to every detail. Delectable Destinations also has culinary and cultural tours to other places. (I can personally recommend her Italian Amalfi Coast trip–fabulous! I wrote about it here and here.)
Liz Schaffer, founder and editor of the exquisite travel magazine Lodestar Anthology, was among my fellow travelers. Angela Terrell, writer and photographer for the magazine (and Liz’s mum) was with us, too. I felt so fortunate to be able to relive some of our India experiences through the artistry of their words and photos in the India edition of Lodestar Anthology that was published after our trip.
“Land of Many Flatbreads”
I don’t remember a single meal in India that didn’t include some version of flatbread. The variety was astounding. Naan is the most familiar Indian flatbread, but there are so many more varieties. Some were fried and others were cooked over an open flame or browned in a skillet. The flatbreads varied from round to square to teardrop shapes. Some puffed up and some remained flat, some were crispy and others were soft. All were delicious in their own way and were often served with an array of chutneys and dal. My India tour included a hands-on cooking class with Neha At Saffron Palate where we learned to make an Indian meal that included flatbreads–SO much fun!
Here are a few of the many flatbreads I enjoyed throughout my trip:
Naan for 25,000!
Among the most memorable flatbread experiences of the trip was at a Sikh temple in Delhi where 25,000 people are welcomed for free meals every day regardless of their race or religion. We toured their vast kitchens where we saw this group gathered around a giant griddle cooking naan. The dough was mixed, kneaded, and rolled in an adjacent room. It was amazing to see such a huge operation staffed completely by volunteer cooks each day. That’s a lot of flatbread!
A simple flatbread recipe
Moving on to today’s recipe, I’m sharing one of several ways I learned to make flatbread. I adapted this recipe using ingredients that are readily available at home in the States. With no yeast or rising time required, I can whip up a batch of flatbread at the last minute using ingredients that are staples in my kitchen. Yogurt is the only wet ingredient and it gives this flatbread recipe a pleasing texture and flavor.
Step 1. Assemble the ingredients:
whole Greek yogurt
optional: olive oil, ghee or melted butter
Step 2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
Step 3. Add yogurt and use a sturdy rubber spatula to it mix it thoroughly into the dry mixture, smashing the yogurt against the side of the bowl as you mix until it’s fully incorporated. The dough will be thick, stiff, and sticky.
Step 4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and use floured hands to press dough together. Knead for about 1 minute until dough can be formed into a fairly smooth ball.
Step 5. Use a large knife or bench scraper to cut the dough round into 8 even pieces. It’s easiest to get equal portions by cutting it like a pie–first in half, then quarters, then eights.
Step 6. Form each piece into a ball by pulling down the sides and pinching them together on the bottom. Cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest for 15 minutes before rolling.
Step 7. On a lightly floured surface, use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough balls into approx. 7″ circles, 1/8″ thick. Lift dough and re-flour surface as needed to prevent sticking. It’s okay if they aren’t perfectly round. In my cooking classes in India, we used small rolling pins like the ones pictured below. They are very easy to manipulate around the small dough circle. (If you only have a larger rolling pin, that will work, too.)
Step 8. Preheat a skillet or flat griddle on medium heat. (I’m using a cast-iron griddle.) Add 1 rolled dough round to the dry skillet (no oil or butter needed) and cook 1-2 min. until browned on the bottom and bubbles form on the surface. Flip it over and cook for about 1 minute until the bubbles have browned. Repeat with remaining dough rounds. Wipe off the skillet with a damp paper towel if the flour residue on the griddle begins to burn.
Step 9. Transfer the finished flatbread to a plate covered with a skillet lid to keep it warm and pliable. Or, wrap the hot flatbread in a dishtowel. (I use a tortilla warmer–pictured below. It’s perfect for this.) Continue to stack and cover flatbread as it comes off the griddle.
OPTIONAL: As the flatbread comes off the griddle, you can brush it lightly with melted butter, ghee, or olive oil for additional flavor. For garlic flatbread, add minced garlic to the butter or oil before brushing. Fresh herbs can be added, too.
HOW TO STORE AND HEAT LEFTOVER FLATBREAD: Store cooled flatbreads in a plastic bag or sealed container in the refrigerator. To REHEAT, spray both sides lightly with water and place on a hot, dry griddle/skillet for 1-2 minutes on each side. Or, wrap in foil in a 350-degree F oven for 5-10 minutes.
Thanks for the memories!