THEME: #158 INDIAN FLATBREAD
Sometimes taking a break from blogging and commenting is required. I took a small break last week and though I had carried my computer to Nairobi, I didn’t open it for 5 whole days, not even to check what’s happening on Facebook, Pinterest… ok had to admit couldn’t keep away from Instagram but promise I did not post anything 🙂
Poonam who blogs at Annapurna, suggested the above theme. In a few weeks I’ll be doing a Mega Blogging Marathon on Flatbreads for the Blogging Marathon group. But lets get back on track to this group. Poonam’s blog is full of traditional and not so traditional recipes. She has so much patience to click photos of every step.
As I said I didn’t open Pinterest or Google to search for any flatbreads. I really didn’t need to as I had bookmarked the recipe for taftan a long time ago. I had bookmarked the video clip when I saw it on the internet. It is really unfortunate that when famous chefs show off their cookery skills, the measurements are not correct. Time and again I’ve tried a recipe from this famous chef and it has always failed. The recipe for taftan was no different. While I appreciate that he showed the method, the amount of flour to the liquid was way off. Its fortunate enough that I bake breads often so immediately realized that no way was I going to be able to form a dough with the flour and liquid ratio. I feel bad that if a novice cook tries out this recipe, its going to fail and he/she may not know how to rectify it. So please forgive me if I’m not going to mention my recipe source for this recipe.
What is taftan? Sometimes also known as taftoon or taftun is a flatbread that resembles naan but is lighter, softer and flakier. Its usually baked in a tandoor. Originally from Persia, this bread fast became popular in Pakistan and some parts of India especially Uttar Pradesh. The yeast dough is formed using eggs and milk or milk only. It is usually not rolled with a rolling pin but is patted into a circle using the fingers and the edge or rim is usually left thick. Just before baking it, one can sprinkle it with nigella seeds (kalonji), sesame seeds (tal), aniseeds (valiyari, saunf) or poppy seeds. Sometimes cardamom is added. Not a flatbread for those on a diet as one must use the required amount of ghee to get the flakiness. Sheermal is similar to taftan but sweeter and has saffron and cardamom. Both these breads are ideal to mop up thick gravy based curries.
Check out the recipe for taftan, which we enjoyed for lunch. I used different toppings but you can choose to use one type or several.
3 cups plain flour (all purpose flour)
1 cup warm milk
¼ cup warm water
1 tsp salt
3 tsp sugar
1 tbsp dry active yeast
2 tbsp plain yogurt
3 tbsp ghee (clarified butter) – thick part
extra ghee for smearing, greasing
8 -10 tsp melted ghee
1 tsp nigella seeds (kalonji)
1 tsp sesame seeds (tal)
1 tsp aniseed (valiyari, saunf)
1 tsp poppy seeds (khus khus)
- Add one tsp sugar to the warm water and mix it well.
- Sprinkle the yeast over the water. Cover and let it ferment for 10 minutes.
- In the meantime add flour into a big bowl.
- Add remaining sugar, salt and 2 tbsp of ghee. Rub the ghee into the flour.
- Mix the warm milk and the fermented yeast mixture. Add yogurt and mix well.
- Using this liquid mixture form a soft dough.
- Using the remaining ghee, knead the dough till its soft and smooth.
- Cover the dough with a damp cloth, cling film or a lid and let it ferment till its double the size. This will take about 1½ – 2 hours depending on how warm your kitchen is.
- Deflate the risen dough by kneading it gently. Divide the dough into 8 parts using a knife.
- Roll each part into a ball and let them rest for 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Grease 2 baking trays lightly with ghee or oil.
- Take one part of the dough and place it on the worktop.
- Dip your fingers in the ghee and start patting the dough into a circle of 5-6 inches in diameter. Make sure the rim or edge is thick. Using your fingers make dents in a row.
- Sprinkle the topping, about ½ tsp and pat it gently.
- Place the flattened dough in the prepared tray.
- Repeat steps 12 to 15 with the remaining dough.
- Place the trays in the hot oven and bake taftan for 10-15 minutes till its becomes light brown in colour.
- Remove taftan from the oven, smear it with some liquid ghee and serve immediately.
- You can roll out the dough using a rolling pin. Use your fingers to make the dents.
- The dough should be soft but not sticky.
- Use butter or oil instead of ghee. However, oil will not give it the required taste.
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