I broke the jinx.
For a long while now, I’ve been trying my hand at trying out new dishes at home. I’m not a great cook, just a decent one who can feed people. But there are times, specially around the time Masterchef is aired, that I have this tingling inside me. Though nowhere close to the contestants in terms of skill or knowledge (There was a round where two contestants had to identify certain edible items. I got just 2 right 😦 . I had no clue that stuff like “peepli” or “Thai Dragon fruit” existed 😦 ). Anyhow, back to the topic.
So there I was, trying out pastas and chicken noodles and rasam, with limited success. Either I ended up eating the whole stuff myself or giving it away to the maid. I suspect she took pity on me and dumped it in the trash bin of her house, knowing well that I was reluctant to throw it in mine 😦 . As for the twins, they usually turned up their noses as soon as the first whiff hit them. Eating my experiments was out of question. They aren’t very aware of the mother-child bond right now, I guess. Probably in another couple or more decades they might understand my plight!!
One fine day, I planned to make brown-bread at home. Checked out a recipe from the internet, God Bless, and set out to do the needful. After 45 minutes of preparation, just as I was ready to dunk myself into the batter of misery (The batter turned out far thinner than expected), I had a “Whoa” moment!! Why the hell hadn’t I tried this out yet?? I was obviously talking about fermented wheat dough, which, instead of being unsuccessfully baked, was ready for another makeover. The Tandoori-Roti!!
So what if I didn’t have a tandoor or coals. I had the tools of 21st century to bail me out, namely, a gas stove and an iron tawa 🙂 (Please ignore the insinuation that the ‘tawa’ belongs to the 21st century!!) . Things looked cheery and bright, except for the batter which was very limp. A big dollop of dry flour quickly sorted that out. Whew 🙄 !!
Anyhow, here’s my recipe for the perfect home-made tandoori roti. Try it at your own risk.
Soak half a teaspoon of dry yeast in warm milk . Add a spoon of sugar . Yeast luuurrrvvve sugar. You miss the sugar, then Mr.Y refuses to rise to the occasion.
Take some wheat flour. Add salt as per taste. Add the warm-milk-infused-with-yeast-and-sugar solution. Add water. Mix. Add more water. Mix. Add dry flour to balance the extra water. Add water to soften the now-toughened dough. Add more flour to get the stickiness out of the way. There, you are either ready with the dough for the rotis or you are ready to fling the soddy mass at this post. If its the former, read on.
Keep the dough covered for an hour or longer depending on the weather. The end result is that the dough should look twice its original size. Pick up that sticky mass and bash it back into the dish. Repeat a few times to get the dough back to its original size (pretty barmy, if you ask me….whats the point of getting the yeast to blow bubbles inside the dough when you eventually plan to bang them out! But hey, I didn’t make them rules 😐 ) . Make small balls of the dough.
Heat the tawa on a high flame till its HOT!!. Roll out a small ball of dough using dry flour, in the regular way one does for chapatis. Dip your fingers in a bowl of water and lightly smear the water across the top of the rolled out dough. It will look like this :-
Pick up the flattened dough carefully and invert it in such a way that the damp side hits the tawa. The dampness will make the roti cling on to the tawa for its dear life. The yeast will make the dough bubble up like this :-
Your roti will look creepy at this stage. More like it caught a pox or something. Ignore. Turn a blind eye to its faults. You will see its true beauty soon enough. Once the bubbling up and subsided, you flex your wrist, check for the carpal-tunnel and when not found, use the tongs to firmly grasp the tawa and flip it upside down over the burner flame. It should look something like this :-
Now this looks easy, but if you do find that carpal-tunnel, its best you leave this activity as a bad joke right now! Don’t tell me that I didn’t warn you 😐
Anyhow, move the tawa around a bit so that the heat cooks the roti in the right places. Ideally, with some good quality iron tawa, the roti would fall off the tawa and into the flame when its done. But since my roti is still stuck up there, it is evident that I compromised on quality when I bought that thing 😦 . I set the tawa right again and used a knife to pry the roti away. The finished good looked like this :-
Put a dollop of butter or ghee on the roti and serve hot. Since me and the kids were half dead with hunger by the time I completed the rotis, no snaps are available of the said butter-and-ghee-doused-rotis. We devoured them. The twins LOVED it. We made tandoori rotis for lunch, dinner, the next day’s lunch AND the next day’s dinner. We are kind of sick of it right now…..but at least my children willingly ate something and even asked for seconds. That was reason enough for celebration 🙂 .
So the next day I made honey and spicy baked chicken marinated in curd and ginger-garlic paste.
The maid agreed to take it all away. I wonder why she went about clucking her tongue each time she saw me 😐
Frankly speaking, it was easier than I thought and tastier than I’d assumed. Do try it out. Everyone who’s had it has liked it. So far 😀
Do let me know how your’s turned out 🙂
Ciao for now !