Happy New Year everyone! I am just back from India, even as I fight jet lag, I am filled with loads of inspiration, as is always the case. The flavors, colors, sounds and sights all call my name and bring me loads and loads of kitchen inspiration. To make sure, I do not loose that inspiration until my next trip, I am planning on daily posts called India 365, so please do follow me on google plus or facebook to cheer me along and I will see where this takes me.
The news channels in India are all filled with the president’s visit and even as I was watching things, I realized that I have actually not discussed how to put together an Indian meal. Certainly, we do not get to plan presidential menus however even when looking to engaging and co-coordinating a simple menu there is a fair amount of planning and process. I will spend the next few weeks taking you throw an essential meal plan. Of course, there are multiple ways you can arrange this table but an essential meal sequence will begin with a bread and rice. Now there is not always room for both, however if the spread is formal a little bit of both is always fun.
Despite all the popularity of naans, the preferred everyday bread of choice is the chapati or tawa roti essentially a wholewheat flat bread. Sure, white flour breads like naan can be found here and there, but the everyday staple is the simple flat bread made with wholewheat flour and water with a touch of salt if desired. The key to this bread is to serve it puffy and hot straight off the griddle. This is a staple in most parts of India and pretty much a religion in northern India, where my husband is from. A special guest is served these hot of the griddle, with the supply being replenished as the meal progresses. It does take a little practice to get the puffy factor just right, however with my step by step guide you should be in business.
My recipe from the Spices and Seasons cookbook is shared here, with a discussion on how to get the bread done just right. Other recipes for breads including a naan bread for the grill is shared here. The purpose of the bread is to scoop up the saucy deliciousness that is usually found in Indian curries, which are an essential part of the meal. With the days still chilly, give these flat breads a try, they are fun with any spicy savory dish of your choice and certainly will add a new dimension to a hot bowl of soup.