Monday, 4 August 2008

Nettle and Cumin Paratha

The old curry fix was required at the weekend. Sometimes I can go weeks without a hit of them familiar spices that always seem to soothe and satisfy me. And then something tells me that it is time and like a slave to Indian cuisine, I'm knocking up one of my tongue tingling curries.

I'm a big fan of Indian breads. They don't bloat me out as much as Western breads, probably due to the lack of yeast. They are also so simple to make and knock the socks off the commercially available Indian breads. Take a paratha, which is basically flour and water mixed into dough, rolled into a flatbread and dry fried. Nothing could be simpler, and it is also a basis for experimenting. Add roasted spices, stuff it with meats, fish or fresh herbs and you get a meal in a bread.

I'm still on a nettle fix, grabbing a few here and there before they soon turn tough, bitter and crystallised. A few blanched leaves with dry roasted cumin and added to the basic dough mixture produced a bread with a difference. The perfect accompaniment to any curry.

Nettle and Cumin Paratha

Makes 4

250g whole-wheat flour
1 tbsp cumin seeds
4 handfuls of spinach leaves
100ml milk
Salt and pepper
A little melted butter

1 - Pick and wash the nettles, then place into a hot pan. Wilt for 2 minutes, remove and squeeze out the water through a colander or sieve. Cool then finely chop.
2 - Put the cumin seeds into a frying pan and dry fry for 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Remove and place into a bowl with the flour and chopped nettles. Season with a little salt and pepper.
3 - Gradually pour in the milk, stirring with a wooden spoon until it combines to a stiff dough. Lightly knead then separate into 4 balls.
4 - On a floured surface, roll out the dough with your hands into a sausage shape. Then coil this around into a circle. Roll this out to a circle the size of a dinner plate. Then roll back up into a sausage and repeat 2 further times. Finish off with a circle, but not too thin.
5 - Brush one side of the paratha with a little melted butter. Place into a dry frying pan and cook for 1 minute, before turning, brushing with butter and cooking for a further minute. Keep cooking and flipping until the bread is golden brown and puffed up.
6 - Wrap in a tea towel and repeat with the rest of the dough.


Rosie said...

Hi David lovely to view again al your mouth watering creations!

I love the sound of your bread! I've never cooked or baked with nettles before, but I'm intrigued now having read recipes that use them.

Rosie x

Jeena said...

Wow a nettle and cumin paratha!

It sounds a little crazy to us Brits eating nettle; like your older post said we think of getting stung. But logically speaking it is no different than making spinach paratha is it?

I do love your blog because of how interesting you make traditional British food sound and what you cook up with those ingredients we have all but forgotten about.

I have not tried nettle yet but I imagine it tastes great with cumin in your delicious paratha. :-)

Lizzie said...

I love parathas, thanks for posting your recipe.

Jan said...

I've never had paratha, but this sounds delish.

If it ever cools down enough here to even contemplate a curry, I'm definitely going to give these a go. Thanks, David.

Lisa said...

Ah, parathas! I'm a big fan of Indian flatbreads. Your use of nettles is intriguing.

Types of Can Openers said...

I like paratha with chutney.
Thanks David for sharing such a nice recipe.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

I like Indian breads for much the same reason as you, David.

And I love the idea of incorporating nettles into your paratha mix!

Gavan Murphy aka The Healthy Irishman said...

A good English staple, curry. Many a friday night was spent in London with a curry and beer as you well know. Never had a nettle paratha though. Must see if my local curry house can indulge me.
Nice one.

David Hall said...

Rosie - great to hear from you, where have you been?!

Jeena - thank you so much!

Lizzie - glad you are a paratha fan

Jan - give it a go

Lisa - it adds a 'sting' to the bread eh?

TOCO - great way to eat it with chutney, one of my faves too

FOS - Thanks!

Gavan - I doubt you will get your local curry house to make one with nettles, but try spinach instead

Sam Sotiropoulos said...

David, thanks for the paratha recipe, I too am a huge fan of Indian foods and of course Indian breads, esp. Naan. I will definitely try your paratha recipe with my next vindallo curry. :)

Holler said...

These sound great David, I will have to try them.