April 27, 2022
Vegetables are our past, present and future — and incorporating them into doughs and batters has begun to define the way I cook.
At the restaurant, we add grated carrots and beets into roti doughs and muffin batters. At home, every time I cook eggs for breakfast, I throw in any leftover vegetables from dinner the night before — or at the very least, a large handful of herbs. The eggs become a binder for vegetables. Similarly, finishing rice with spinach, watercress or rainbow chard makes the chopped greens so much more palatable.
Recently, seeing the plethora of gorgeous colorful radishes on farm stands at the market, I decided to experiment with a radish roti. Paratha, a rich, layered flatbread stuffed with spiced grated radish (or mooli, as we call it in Hindi) is popular in the northern province of Punjab, India. A roti is a simpler daily bread, and white daikon or bright pink watermelon radishes can easily be substituted for the purple.
Makes 10 to 12 rotis
2 cups roti flour
2 cups grated purple radishes
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ajwain
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
In a large bowl, combine the roti flour with radishes, black pepper, ajwain, and sea salt. Add half a cup of water and using your fingers, mix the dough. Adding a few tablespoons of water at a time, knead the dough until it comes together. If it is too sticky, add a little bit more roti flour. Roll the dough into a large ball with a tablespoon of oil and set it aside for 15 to 20 minutes. Alternately, refrigerate the dough for up to 2 days.
When ready to make rotis, divide the dough into 10 equal-sized balls and roll each ball into a little bit of dry flour. Heat a skillet or a frying pan on a high setting. Using dry roti flour on the surface as needed, roll one roti out to a 5 to 6-inch circle, and place it on the hot skillet. Lower the heat to medium and heat the roti on both sides until completely cooked and tiny brown speckles and dots appear. Remove the roti and smear a bit of olive oil on top before serving. Repeat with the rest of the rotis. Keep them warm in a kitchen towel while preparing the remaining dough. Serve warm.
The fresher the radish, the higher the water content, so remember to add water to the dough carefully.
Rotis can be half-cooked and frozen. Separate each roti with a small piece of parchment paper or foil so they don’t stick together.
The addition of the spice ajwain counters the sometime gas-inducing effects of brassicas, like radish.
December 02, 2022