Chilli stuffed paratha (Indian fried bread)

I created this recipe in an attempt to replicate the best meal I had in India (in the few days before I got ill). They were chilli parathas, circular fried flaky breads with fresh chilli slices all the way through them, and I had them for breakfast in Haridwar!

Haridwar is an amazinig vegetarian city in North India and I arrived there in the middle of pilgrimage when it was packed and people were making offerings and chanting by the ganges. I ordered the chilli parathas at a cafe that had no menu, as I saw them being served to somebody else and thought “Yes! That’s what I want to eat!”

I couldn’t find any recipes online for what I’d experienced, so I adapted this plain paratha recipe to make it my own, and added fresh chillis of course.

Makes 4-6 parathas. Continue reading

Sourdough starter made simple – 3 Key principles, and establishing your own starter!

The starter will bubble away as the yeast release Carbon Dioxide.

Since meeting John I have got really into sourdough. He introduced me to the concept, and I dipped into my housemate’s copy of Andrew Whitley’s ‘Bread Matters’ to establish my own starter and learn a basic sourdough loaf recipe. The idea is to allow wild yeast to colonise some flour/water mix, which, once well-established, can be used as a raising agent in cooking. It also has the benefit of adding a distinctive (and delicious) sour flavour to your food.

It’s been more successful (and tasty) than I could have imagined! The sourness (caused lactic bacteria that co-exist with the yeast in your starter), gives things a really unique flavour, that I just can’t get enough of!

Sourdough is really versatile, and now, in just a couple of years, I find I’m dependent on it, even taking it on holiday with me recently so that I didn’t have to miss out on my favourite dishes! Loads of my best recipes use it, for example our yummy vegan pizza, cheeky spiced garlic bread, and ethiopian sour injera pancakes.

As you can expect to keep seeing posts from me that use it, I thought I’d better tell you how to make your own! It’s really much simpler than I was expecting, and after daily attention for a few days at the beginning to get it started, it has been really low maintenance – I keep it in the fridge and only bother to feed it when I’ve used some. I’m really slap-dash with my techniques and quantities, but the yeast seem to be quite happy with this semi-neglectful arrangement and continue to thrive (I suspect it may even make them tougher).

If you’ve been put off by overly-complicated sounding processes in the past please read my method and consider trying again. Wild yeast are fairly simple little microbes and with a few very basic principles you can easily start your own colony! Don’t be intimidated, give it a go.

Three main principles of yeast-keeping are explained here, to enable you to keep your starter going indefinitely with minimal effort, as well as a simple technique to get your starter established.

Continue reading