This is another recipe that caught my eye in Jacques Pepin's More Fast Food My Way. Not being a baker, the thought of being able to make a quick bread on the stove was intriguing. There is a good natural foods store that I sometimes stop at on the way to or from work that has a deli counter and kitchen that makes great, healthy food to go so I sometimes buy something for a quick and easy lunch or dinner, like their Indian Dahl. Slightly spicy and full of lentils, carrots and cauliflower, it seemed like the perfect accompaniment for the bread.
Jacques notes that he had sampled a version of this bread in a Tibetan restaurant. He also notes that "The dough is similar to that for Irish soda bread, but cooks in a non-stick skillet. You can add scallions, fresh or dried herbs, chopped mushrooms or other vegetables to the dough for a variation".
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp salt
1 cup water, plus about 2 Tbsp more for steaming the bread
1 Tbsp olive oil
Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the 1 cup water and mix together with a sturdy rubber spatula to create a thick gooey dough. Spread the oil in a cold 12-inch nonstick skillet. Add the dough to the skillet. Dip the spatula into the oil in the skillet and use it to press on the dough to flatten it in the skillet. (The oil will prevent the dough from sticking to the spatula). Add the 2 Tbsp water to create a bit of steam and get the bread cooking. Cover and place over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. The water should be gone and the dough should be frying at this point. Reduce the heat and, using a fork, turn the bread over. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes. Uncover and set aside to cool a little bit in the skillet. Cut into wedges and serve.
Results: Easy to make and good, it has an interesting texture reminding me a bit of Paratha, an Indian flatbread. It had a very mild taste and it could have used a bit more salt, but it paired nicely with the spiciness of the dahl. I will make it again, this time adding some different herbs or mushrooms for some more flavor and variety.