Sunday, December 30, 2007

Bread - and a bonus recipe

A question about wholemeal tortillas on Raechelle's blog got me thinking about the different kinds of bread there are, and which ones are better in terms of nutritional value. Everyone loves a wrap, but our options are pretty limited. Wholemeal tortillas seem to be a common thing in the US, but I've never been able to find them here, so I've had to come up with substitutes. Sometimes I just use white tortillas, sometimes I use the corn ones, but I'm always on the lookout to see what else is available.

I've tried multigrain wraps - I don't recommend them unless you're keen to break a tooth - gluten-free wraps (yikes! tough as old boots!) and all kinds of mountain breads. None of them has really worked well. The one thing I've found that's sensational, and not bad in terms of ingredients, is wholemeal chapatis. They're soft and roll up easily, and I usually find them at Safeway. I can't think of the brand though.....

There's a recipe for them here. I haven't tried it but it sounds simple.

As an alternative with quite a lot of flavour, one of my favourite Indian foods that's easy to make at home is besan flour bread. We got the recipe years ago from an old Women's Weekly cook book, and it's one of my favourites:

1 cup besan flour[1]
2 cups atta flour[2]
1-2 tbs vegetable oil
2 small fresh green chillies, seeded and chopped (optional)
¼ cup chopped coriander leaves
4 spring onions, chopped
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 cup water (approx.)

Sift flours into a large bowl, add oil and mix through with fingertips till well combined – the mix should be slightly crumbly. Stir in all other ingredients except water and mix well. Stir in enough water to make ingredients cling together. Knead dough gently on a floured surface until smooth. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Divide into 12 portions, roll out on lightly floured surface to rounds about 16cm in diameter.

Heat a non-stick frying pan and spray with cooking spray. Cook bread rounds over medium heat until golden brown underneath, turn and brown the other side. Repeat until all rounds are cooked.

You could try using different herbs, seeds and spices for variety.

Note: this recipe actually uses ghee, but to make it a little healthier, I’ve substituted vegetable oil. You may need to experiment a little with the quantity of oil.

[1] Besan flour is made from ground chick peas and is available at Indian grocers and some health food stores. You may even find it at Coles in the health food section. It has a nutty flavour - if you like chick peas, you'll love this!
[2] Atta flour is commonly used in Asian cooking, so should be available at Asian or Indian grocers. If you’re unable to get it, substitute plain flour.

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