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
250g whole-wheat flour
1 tbsp cumin seeds
4 handfuls of spinach leaves
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.