If there is one recipe I have made more than absolutely any other, it is this flatbread recipe I am about to share with you all. In fact, it is a recipe a number of my foodie friends have tried over the years but of course, I just cannae leave a recipe alone without fiddling and making my own!
Several years back, when Nigella’s website had a forum where foodie folk could interact online and share cooking wisdom all day long, I believe we were chatting about pizza dough and somehow, the conversation turned to flatbreads. Not too wild a leap – pizza dough, one could argue, is a flatbread with its toppings baked on. However, one lass pointed out a recipe she’d found in Sainsbury’s magazine by Jamie Oliver for garlic butter topped flatbreads. Now if that doesn’t get your attention immediately, I’m not quite sure we can be friends! Only joking… a little ;)
It seemed implausible that equal weights of flour and yogurt in could yield what has turned out to be a delicious recipe which appears on certainly my kitchen table a minimum of twice a week. It takes 30 seconds to make the dough, 1-2 minutes to cook and can be modified in endless ways to suit whatever meal you are cooking.
It also can be scaled down to an individual portion or a huge batch. It’s so versatile, I cannot commend it to you enough. The version I’m sharing with you uses wholemeal flour for a nutty touch of a taste and added health benefits and instead of the bread being slashed and slathered with lots of garlic butter, parsley and more salt, is filled with nuts and raisins. Thus making it “Peshwari”, as English takeaway menus inform us.
It’s appropriate for me too as the Great Grandfather of mine whom I never met but believe was the most wonderful man, was from Peshawar. This is as close to “family cooking tradition” as sadly I get which pains me as I’d love to regale you with heartwarming stories of family feasting but alas, I’m not blessed with a family like that. So instead, let’s just enjoy this bread and make our own foodie memories together :)
Having stirred the ingredients together with a spoon in a bowl you could pat out into discs of a size that meets your feeding needs and slap on a dry, stonkingly hot frying pan and be 2 minutes from doughy delight. I use buttermilk these days rather than Greek yogurt (my original choice) to keep the calories down but also because I just adore the taste of buttermilk – it is, at once, both tangy and creamy and is the stuff of foodie dreams for me :)
If however, like me, you feel the need to “pimp” your flatbread, you can blitz some pistachios with some almonds and raisins, a pinch of salt and a small amount of caster sugar in a food processor/hand blender/spice grinder to make a filling. So, on a very well floured work surface, pat out the soft and sticky dough (coat first in a sprinkling of flour to prevent it sticking to your hands) then pat on the filling. Fold up the edges to fully cover it and seal. Next, pat it out to no more than 3/4 to 1 cm thick, meanwhile preheating a large frying pan as hot as it goes.
Then, take a deep breath, pick up your circle of soft, cool dough and slap it onto the bare and shimmering if not smoking pan. Watch as bubbles appear all over its surface as the heat permeates the dough, steam pockets building up to produce a tender, tender soft bread that will mop up whatever saucy little number you have simmering on the stovetop adjacent to it.
My favourites are my friend’s dhal or my aloo gobi but it always accompanies all Indian meals in Casa Blogs. And some Italian ones too (sans filling but with garlic butter and fresh parsley on top oh my, I just had a moment there!). Barely a minute on the first side, then a second or two less on the second and you are ready to lightly brush with butter and serve to a crowd of greedy, marvelling onlookers (“you made bread, in under 5 minutes?!”) or to yourself, just because you are home alone and want your lunch to feel special. I *might* have done that, ten or twenty times *blush* (there are photos on Facebook to prove it too ;) )
When I fill my flatbread, I tend to make one large one and slice him like a pizza to serve. It’s just laziness rather than making tons of little ‘uns and having to fill them separately. That would be very special for a dinner party type meal though. If you were having a lamb curry, this recipe is so what you need to cut the richness of the meat and compliment its sweetness – I always use Maldon salt whenever salt is called for but here, when the ingredients of the bread are so very simple, you have to use the best quality ingredients you can get your hands on. Murray River salt or fleur de sel would be excellent alternatives. Don’t even think of using the rasping, bitter table salt! It gives you a whip and a kiss in entirely the wrong way ;)
One more greed evoking shot before you get your hands on my recipe if you haven’t already twigged what it is already!
Go grab your flour, buttermilk, nuts and raisins, a bowl and wooden spoon then come back here and print off the recipe for the flatbreads below. It will revolutionise the carb portion of all your future lunches and dinners. You’re very welcome.
- 90 g wholemeal flour
- 85 g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Sea salt to taste fat pinch
- 175 g buttermilk
- 1 tbsp whole pistachios
- 1 tbsp ground almonds
- 1 tbsp raisins
- 1/2 tsp caster sugar
- Pinch sea salt
Weigh the flours, salt and baking powder into a bowl then weigh in your buttermilk.
Stir to combine then bring together with the spoon. You can be reasonably rough and it will not lose its tenderness, thanks to the buttermilk!
If not using the filling, just pat out 3/4 to 1 cm thick on a very well floured work surface (the dough will be very sticky until coated in a sprinkling of extra flour), in as many breads as you wish to make - please do please yourself with this recipe.
If filling, blitz all the ingredients in your food processor/hand blender/spice grinder until it becomes a nubbly but delicious gravel - tip into the centre of your flatbread leaving an edge free all around it Pinch up the edges and seal then gently pat out the dough to the 3/4 to 1 cm thickness once more.
Slap onto a dry and very hot frying pan or flat griddle for 1-2 mins each side (peak for medium brown patches on the cooking surface and bubbles on the other).
Use a larger spatula to flip each bread, not your fingers (I've been there and burnt myself - don't be me!).
If making several, wrap in a couple of clean tea towels to keep warm as each cooks, until you have used all your dough.
Optional: brush with soft butter to serve.
Option two: once cooked, spread unfilled flatbreads (i.e. plain ones) with a generous amount of butter, sprinkle with well minced garlic and chopped fresh parsley and serve with Italian meals
This recipe is extremely easy to scale up or down depending on your requirements. I can't encourage you to have a go enough! It works reasonably well with gluten free flour too but of course, it's never quite the same.
Adapted from a recipe idea by Jamie Oliver
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