I’m just about to turn off my computer and pack it into my suitcase. I’m heading off to Mangrove Mountain to teach a couple of cookery seminars at the Satyananda Ashram. The kitchen staff there are eager to learn a few things culinary.
Before I head to Sydney’s Central Station for the ride to Gosford, I thought I’d share this latest correspondence.
K from Australia writes:
Hi Kurma, Great site. Do you have recipe available for Buckwheat flatbreads? Chapattis? Rotis, please? I can’t have gluten. I want to make some for my elderly parents, how long would they store? Can you freeze if necessary? Buckwheat, oil, salt and water? Would that turn out ok?
Hello K, I do have a recipe for buckwheat chapatis. They are gluten-free. As far as freezing and storing: Well, fresh is best, but I guess they will last in the fridge if stored properly, and they may freeze.
Here’s the recipe. By the way, they are very hard to roll out, having no gluten. Patience and a deft hand is required.
And no, oil is not required in the dough. The secret is mashed potato. Here we go:
Buckwheat is not technically a grain, but it lends itself to breads and pancakes as it behaves like a grain. In India and elsewhere, on the grain-free Vaisnava fasting day of Ekadasi, buckwheat, as well as other pseudo-grains, like chestnut flour and tapioca flour, are used in a variety of versatile ways. If you like the taste of buckwheat, you’ll love these tender versions of India’s most popular flatbread, the chapati.
Buckwheat contains no gluten, so those of you who can’t eat wheat will find this recipe appealing. As far as equipment is concerned, you’ll need at least one non-stick frypan, (two or three are better), a rolling pin, a smooth surface for rolling, and some kitchen tongs. Makes 10 large chapatis.
2 cups buckwheat flour, about 250g
½ teaspoon salt
300g peeled potatoes, about 3 medium-sized potatoes, cut into large pieces
3 tablespoons water
a good quantity of extra buckwheat flour for dusting and rolling
melted butter or ghee (optional, for spreading over the chapatis after they’ve been cooked)
Combine the buckwheat flour and salt in a large bowl.
Boil the potatoes in sufficient water until they are very soft. Remove, drain and mash them. Measure the quantity of mashed potatoes. You will need 1 cup. Place the measured quantity of mashed potatoes in a large metal sieve over a large kitchen bowl. Push and rub the potato through the sieve and collect it in the bowl.
Pre-heat the large non-stick frying pan, or pans over moderate heat. Combine the warm mashed potato with the buckwheat flour. Add the water a little at a time to form a soft, but not sticky dough. Turn the dough onto a clean, smooth working surface, sprinkled with buckwheat flour. Turn and knead the dough for one or two minutes.
Pinch off 10 even-sized lumps of dough and form them into smooth balls, pressing and kneading them gently into thick patties. Dredge a patty of dough in flour and place it on the flour-strewn surface. Carefully roll it with a dry, flour-sprinkled rolling pin to a fairly thin, even, smooth disc about 15 cm (6 inches) in diameter. If it sticks to the pin, re-roll it and apply more flour. A little care needs to be taken here since the dough contains no gluten and is very delicate.
Very carefully pick up the disc of dough and quickly transfer it to the frying pan. Slip it onto the hot pan, taking care to avoid wrinkling it. Cook it for about 1 minute on the first side. The top of the bread should start to show small bubbles, or it may even fully puff up in the pan – even better!
Turn it over, being careful not to tear it, and cook it on the reverse side. When a few dark spots appear on the underside, lift the chapati with kitchen tongs to about 5cm over a full flame, if you are using gas. If using an electric stove, you’ll need to sit a cake cooling rack above, but not touching, the element. The chapati should swell into a puffy balloon.
Cook it until it shows a few more darker spots, then place it in a bowl or basket covered with a clean cloth, and continue cooking the rest of the chapatis. When they are cooked and stacked, you may like to butter them. Serve buckwheat chapatis hot, or keep them warm, well covered, in a pre-heated warm oven for up to half an hour.