29 January 2011

Grammar lessons with roti bread

Welcome to English Grammar 301 with roti. Today's lesson is the word had: simple past or past participle of the verb to have.

- Correct: "My friend Rishi-rish and his better-half, Kirsty-rish had me over for supper." This implies that I was invited to the hosts' home to enjoy supper with them.
- Incorrect: "My friend Rishi-rish and his better-half, Kirsty-rish had me for supper." This implies that the hosts are heartless cannibals.

The next lesson in English Grammar 301: knead: to work and press into a mass (usually of dough). Not to be confused with homonym kneed, as in, "That fat man swiped my burger so I kneed him in the gonads".

Correct: "To make roti, you knead the dough gently."
- Incorrect: "To make roti, you knead to punch the dough until your knuckles are sore."

Roti, by the way, is another flat Indian bread made of a semolina or whole wheat flour that (contrary to naan) isn't leavened... instead, the magic happens on your stovetop!

[Rishi-rish kneading the crap out of the roti dough! Actually, don't do that cause you'll get tough roti...]

Rishi-rish was kind enough to share his recipe with me, so I will kindly plug his Elephant Stone music project.

Here's how to knead your own!

Rishi-rish's roti
2 cups (500ml) atta (fine semolina flour, white or whole wheat flour)
3/4 cup (175ml) warm water
1 cup (250ml) extra atta for dusting
Butter or ghee (desi or vegetable)

- Tongs
- A tava or cast iron pan
- An open flame, or if that sounds treacherous to you, a heating element and metal stand over which you can suspend the roti like so:

  1. Add atta into a large mixing bowl, and add a little bit of warm water at a time.
  2. Continue to mix and knead dough until it reaches medium/soft consistency -- not quite bread dough, and definitely thicker than pancake batter.
  3. Cover bowl with a clean dish towel and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Heat a cast iron skillet (tava) on medium heat.
  5. Turn another element to high and place a raised metal stand over the element. This is used for finishing the roti.
  6. Take a golf ball-sized ball of dough and dip it in extra atta.
  7. Flatten the roti into a thin disk with your hands. Keep the unused dough covered. 
  8. Lightly dust a rolling pin with atta and roll out the roti to 10cm diameter. Add a little atta to prevent it from sticking to the rolling surface.
  9. Place roti on tava. When the roti's color darkens, flip it over using tongs and cook the other side.
  10. When air bubbles appear on the roti, grab the roti with tongs or if you're a sadist, with your fingers, flip it over and place on the raised metal stand. 
  11. When roti puffs up, remove from the stand using tongs and place in a plate or basket lined with a clean dish towel. It will unpuff as it cools. 
  12. Rub roti and yourself with butter or ghee.
  13. Repeat for remaining dough until you've finished the dough.  
  14. Eat liberally with your favourite Indian dishes. 

* Er... you might have noticed that I have begun properly casing my entries, starting with this one. I figured if I help enforce the grammar police, then I might as well follow their own stupid rules. 

17 January 2011

the last slice (of sectionable foodstuffs)

over the holidays (btw, happy 2011 to you all), i received criticisms from the complaint department that my blog is boring. i have since terminated that department and critic.

to celebrate his dismissal, i made a celebratory cake (modeled after belle of the bakery's version of the brooklyn brownout)! unfortunately, there wasn't much left by the time we finished celebrating.

[the last remaining piece of brooklyn brownout cake, maybe in the city, but it's long gone now.]

most everyone knows that the last slice of cake, pie or other divisible foodstuffs with nerdy arc lengths is always the most coveted... that the most delicious bite is the one that you can't ever have again... and that a chocolate layer cake will never go to waste1

[brooklyn brownout cake = x^(brownies*ganache) ∫[2* (layers of mocha chocolate cake) / √(brownies*ganache)]

(i think the derivative to that differential is x=cake makes people crazy).

1 watch until the end.