January 02, 2020
As much as I use and love spices, herbs- especially fresh herbs- add great fragrant bursts of flavor. I’m told growing herbs in containers in Houston is easy and if, like me, you are lucky enough to have a friend/co-worker who brings you weekly armloads of herbs- from rosemary to oregano, thyme and curry leaves- I recommend using them in all kinds of places. They make great tea infusions, rubs for a roast, aromatic additions to curries or, one of my favorites, in bread dough. Rotis, the national bread of India, are almost like tortillas except they are more pliable and always made with finely ground whole-wheat flour. Cook them halfway, line them with parchment or foil and freeze them- then cook over a flame to finish.
Makes 8 to 10 roti
2 cups roti flour + extra to flour working surface
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of ground turmeric
1 cup milk or water
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
Handful herbs to top the rotis (such as oregano, rosemary, mint)
Combine the roti flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric in a bowl. Add milk or water and start kneading by hand, adding as much liquid as is needed until the dough is soft, pliable but not sticky. This dough is very forgiving so if it becomes too soft, add a bit more flour. Finish dough by rolling in olive oil. Cover dough and allow to rest at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.
To make rotis, divide dough into 8 to 10 balls. Dab a bit of water over each ball and press as many herbs leaves as you can. Using dry flour, roll the balls into 6 to 7-inch rounds with a rolling pin.
Cook on a hot dry skillet on bottom side only until cooked through with golden bubbles. When ready to serve, flame the rotis on the herb side or finish on a hot skillet, brush with olive oil and serve immediately or wrap them in a towel until ready to eat.
Roti flour is readily available in Indian and Middle Eastern grocers. The best substitute is whole-wheat pastry flour, which is usually very finely ground.
Incorporating herbs into the flour is another way to add even more herbs to rotis.
To give the roti deeper flavors, replace 2 tablespoons of roti flour with chickpea or millet flour.
December 02, 2022