Thursday, 5 September 2013

The Earth is Round- The Bread is Flat

Farinata di Ceci Speziata, con Pomodoro, Erbe Miste & Yogurt
Gram Flour Flat Bread with Tomato, Herbs & Yogurt

Yes, the Earth IS round- and all around the world, people make flat bread out of "gram" or "chick pea" flour. In Italy, they call it "Farinata", in France, "Socca" and in India, "Roti"... but whatever they call it and wherever it is made, it is a filling and deliciously satisfying food, that is simple and inexpensive- two of my favorite things! The fact that it is really yummy makes it even better!

One of my favorite snack-foods in Sicily, is "Panelle", which is also made of gram flour, which is boiled up much as one would boil polenta, then poured out to set overnight in the same manner and on the following day, sliced and deep fried... and very delicious! But it is the frying that makes it into something I do not and wouldn't want to indulge in too often- you know me and eating healthy! So this here is a much quicker, much easier, very much healthy and no less delicious version of the same thing... Need I say more? ;-)

My main motivation to make these this evening, to be honest, was because the bag of gram flour I had was almost empty, I had bought a new one on Saturday... and I just wanted to use it up and get it out of the way- just being honest! So the challenge, or the interesting thing about it was finding out how much that last little bit of flour would yield.

I measured 6 heaped tablespoons of gram flour, to which I added 5 tablespoons of plain yogurt, a pinch of salt and pepper, a teaspoon of sesame oil and 4 tablespoons of warm water. I stirred these all together with a wooden spoon until I had a creamy, runny batter, the consistency of a pancake mix. I added a half teaspoon each of powdered ginger and coriander, a squeeze of lemon juice and then left it to rest for between 30 minutes and an hour.

Whilst that was happening, I prepared a mix of herbs to sprinkle on top of the bread later- a handful each of basil, mint, parsley and cilantro. I chopped these very finely and set them to one side and then I diced up a few cherry tomatoes, also to spread on top of the bread later.

After the batter had rested, I heated up a dry, non-stick pan and poured out some of the batter into the middle of the pan. If you look at the picture above, where you can see the way the yogurt has been spread out onto the finished bread, you can see the way that I smoothed the batter out in the frying pan, in a spiral motion from the middle of the pan outwards, simply using the back of a spoon to do so. 

On a high heat, after a minute or so, the batter should set and you should be able to flip it over quite easily. Once I had done that, I continued frying/baking the bread for 3-4 minutes on each side, constantly pressing it down in order to get it to cook thoroughly. Easy!

Once the breads were done, I let them cool a little and then served them up with a spreading of yogurt, a generous sprinkle of the herb mix, plenty of tomato and a good pinch of dried, ground chili on top... mmmh! You can't get much simpler- or delicious than that! 

This was a refreshing and light meal- eaten rolled or folded like a sandwich- but you could also make those rolls, wrap them in cling-film and refrigerate them, and then serve them in slices as appetizers for a party for example. or prepare bite-sized version by stamping out smaller circles with a cookie cutter... the bread is versatile and delicious and bound to please! 

So give it a go! And being as it is so flat, make sure there is enough of it to go around ;-)

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