Taste & Create: Indian Potato-Stuffed Flatbreads

tasteandcreatelogoThis month on Taste & Create I was paired up with Divya Vikram of the blog Dil Se. Though her baked bread recipes seriously tempted me, I thought I might be missing the whole experience if I didn’t trial an Indian recipe from her blog. I decided on the Aloo Paratha recipe, or personal-sized, Indian potato-stuffed flatbreads. Yes, it was still technically bread, but no oven required, bonus!

Though my ratios need to be perfected, this multi-step recipe was surprisingly simple, and it really flowed.  I kneaded the no-yeast bread within a few minutes, set it aside to rest, made the potatoes (while the potatoes were boiling I put the soup on – see next paragraph), rolled the dough out, plopped in the potato, bundled them up, flattened, pan-fried, and viola! A nice, flavorful, whole-grain, and dare I say, adventurous vegetarian meal.

Okay, so mine aren’t quite perfection … yet. But that doesn’t take away from the taste. Though this flatbread making does take practice, you should have some tasty and doable results on the first try.

alooparatha

Divya says that this is an authentic North Indian breakfast, but we decided to have them for lunch, alongside the creamy Lightly Curried Cruciferous Soup from my book, Go Dairy Free. It seemed fitting since both recipes used garam masala, so I could just make one little batch of the quick garam masala spice mix from my book, and I was good to go!  You can use a homemade version such as the one I used, or store-bought if you wish.  

As she mentions, these flatbreads are definitely best hot, but I did read on another site that they freeze well and can be reheated later.  They are certainly unique and full of good flavor. Enjoy!

Indian Potato-Stuffed Flatbreads (Aloo Paratha)
Recipe adapted from Dil Se ..

This recipe is Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Sugar-Free, and relatively Low in Fat

  • 1 Cup Warm Water, plus additional as needed
  • 1 Tablespoon Oil (I used grapeseed), plus a little extra (or a little bit of dairy-free margarine) for pan-frying
  • 3 Cups Whole Wheat Flour, plus additional as needed (use white-wheat or half wheat / half white for a lighter bread, if desired)
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt, divided, or to taste
  • 1 1/4 lbs Potatoes (about 3 medium), cut into 1/2-inch chunks (your choice – I used baby russets, but white, red, or yukon gold will work – no need to peel in my opinion)
  • 1 Teaspoon Garam Masala

Place the warm water and 1 tablespoon of oil in a large bowl. Add in the flour and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and combine, kneading to bring the dough together into a ball. It should be just a little sticky but fairly firm; add more water or flour as needed. Lightly cover the bowl, and set the dough aside while you prepare the potatoes.

Boil the potatoes for about 15 minutes, or until they are fork tender. Drain well and mash them with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and garam masala. Taste test, and season to taste with additional salt and/or pepper as desired (Divya adds a little cilantro, but we are an anti-cilantro household).

Divide the dough into twelve equal portions, and one at a time, roll the dough out into a circle that is about 6 to 7 inches in diameter (use additional flour as needed to prevent sticking). Place a potato ball in the center, and bring up the dough to enclose the potato mixture, pinching the seams at the top to seel (almost like a “purse”). If the potato balls are too large, just take a bit out so that it fits – you may end up with some leftover potato mixture. Turn the ball seam-side down, and gently roll it out (some potato mixture may appear or escape, nothing tragic), until it is fairly thin – maybe 1/4-inch high. Repeat with remaining dough and potato mixture.

Heat a little oil (maybe 1/2 teaspoon) or dairy-free margarine in a skillet over medium heat. Add a couple of the flatbreads and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until it just begins to brown. Flip and cook for another minute or so. Remove to a plate, and repeat with remaining flatbreads, adding more oil to the pan if needed. Consume while hot!

Yields about 12 hearty flatbreads

alooparatha2

Easy Veggie Udon for Ramen Lovers

Earlier this week, I needed something to go with two salmon filets I was baking. Since I was craving some carbs, and it was a little too late to whip up a batch of bread … and I wasn’t patient enough to wait for brown rice to cook, I decided pasta was the way to go. The salmon was marinated in a sesame-soy concoction, generally Asian inspired, so I was excited when I spotted some udon noodles in the cupboard (to keep with the theme of course!).

I literally threw the noodles together with a simple veggie saute I created, and it turned out to be the star of the meal. We both agreed that the noodles had a Ramen-esque flavor, taking us back to the MSG-rich days of our childhoods. Obviously, I used a fair dose of sodium, between the wee bit of soy sauce and those few dashes of salt, but I dare say the dish was pretty healthy overall.

Easy Veggie Udon

After the success of that throw together dish, my cravings lingered on … so much so that I had to attempt a re-creation just two nights later.  Don’t misunderstand, this is a very basic dish, not earth-shattering in creativity by any means. But as mentioned before, it is often the simple flavors that get me most!

I ate this as a meal, it was rather filling, but yes, no “protein.” Sometimes I just crave veggies and carbs. If you want to add some protein, be my guest … meat, eggs, tofu, sliced almonds, chopped peanuts, whatever works for you! Hmm, I didn’t think to sprinkle on some toasted sesame seeds, that might be nice too.

Easy Veggie Udon

This recipe is Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Protein-Free, and Optional Gluten-Free

  • 8 Ounces Udon Noodles (may substitute other noodles in a pinch; for gluten-free I recommend Eden’s all buckwheat soba noodles or rice noodles)
  • 3 Tablespoons Sesame Oil, divided
  • 3 Carrots, peeled into large shreds using a vegetable peeler
  • 3 Large Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 12 Ounces Mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 1 5-Ounce Bag Baby Spinach Leaves
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce or Wheat-Free Tamari, divided
  • 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • Salt to taste (I used around 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon, but I would start with a dash or two and work your way up)
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste or a Few Pinches of Crushed Red Pepper

Cook the noodles according to the package directions.

While those are boiling, heat 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil over medium-low heat (I do a lower heat to protect the flavor of the oil, but you can up it to medium if you are really hungry).

Add the carrots and saute for a few minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms and saute just until the mushrooms begin to soften, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the spinach and 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce, and saute for just a couple of minutes, until those leavese start to wilt.

Turn off the heat, and stir in the noodles, garlic powder, remaining 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, and any add-ins (see below), tossing well to ensure everything is coated with those flavors. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in big bowls.

Add-ins: I steamed 12 oz of broccoli florets (about 7 minutes; until crisp tender) and tossed them in along with the noodles. The second time I made it, I also added about 1/2 lb of steamed baby carrots, merely because I didn’t have any whole carrots to shred. I recommend the peeled or shredded carrots (in the recipe) over the steamed chunks, but personal preference.

Yields 3 meal-sized servings

veggieudon4

Blog Events: I am submitting this recipe for Presto Pasta Nights # 110 being held at Chew on That. It is my first contribution to that blogging event; hopefully more to come!

Mini Mushroom-Parsley Patties

Never one to pass up a good deal, I snatched up an 8-ounce package of button mushrooms that was on for half price yesterday.  It was expiring that day, but at $.86 how could I pass it up!  Though the outsides of the mushrooms were beginning to show their age, the insides were surprisingly firm and white. Still, I thought it would be best to use them immediately while they still had a good amount of life, so I started thinking up mushroom-intensive side dishes to go with our main entrée that night. 

The only thing I could think of off hand was a sautéed mushroom dish I like to make that has a good amount of spice and flavor … but, something new would be better.  It was then that I remembered my desire to make mushroom veggie burgers.  While I didn’t need whole burgers, what about some mini-mushroom patties? …

Mushroom-Parsley Patties

My husband really liked these with our evening entree, though I preferred them the next day (served with poached eggs), after the flavors had some time to sink in.  When preparing, you will find that this makes more of a batter than a firm burger-like consistency, so they should definitely be made on the stove top, lest you risk dropping the entire batch through the slats of your grill!

Mini Mushroom-Parsley Patties

  • 2 Tablespoons plus 1 Teaspoon Medium to High Heat Oil, divided (I used peanut, but another refined oil or avocado oil should work well)
  • 1/3 Cup Minced Onion (¼ of a large one)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 8 ounces Button or Cremini Mushrooms, Finely Diced
  • ½ Cup Nuts or Seeds, Ground (I ground 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds and 1/4 up of almonds together in my spice grinder. I do think almonds or cashews will go best for the flavor combination, but seeds help to keep the cost down and the nutrition up!  Oh yes, and grind only until they reach a coarse powder consistency, before it begins to clump (not a problem with seeds))
  • Scant 1/2 Cup Flour of Choice (I ground just under 1/2 cup of oats in my spice grinder to acheive a flour, but any flour (including gluten-free) should work)
  • 1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
  • ¼ Cup Fresh Parsley, Minced
  • ¾ -1 Teaspoon Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
  • 2 Medium Eggs, lightly beaten (since this was a very moist batter, I think 1 large or extra-large egg would work fine if that is the size you have on hand)

In a large fry pan, heat the 1 teaspoon of oil over medium-low heat.  Add the onions and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they begin to soften.  Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute more.  Place the onions and garlic in a medium-sized bowl, along with the remaining ingredients.  Stir until everything is well combined. 

Returning to your fry pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat.  You want it hot, but not too hot, so be careful.  If you can handle the batter, feel free to shape it into nice round 2 to 3 inch patties.  If not, simply drop large spoonfuls of the batter onto the fry pan, flattening them to create patties with the back of your spatula.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until nicely browned and cooked through.

Yields about a dozen small patties