Starting from scratch. ( Beam me up, Roti ? )

Today my Mum walked all the way over to my work on her lunch break just to bring me some lychees.
‘Because these ones are really yummy and I have too many of them.’
I love my Mum. (and Dad.)

Coincidentally G.F is coming for dinner.
I’ve been wondering throughout the day what I’ll be making.

The lychees helped make my mind up.
Lychees feature heavily in Sth-east Asian cuisine, in salads, drinks and particularly Thai red duck curry.

We’re NOT making that.
We are however making a G.F friendly dahl and because she doesn’t do rice much lately, we’re gonna give roti bread a go.
My new job is near an Indian supermarket so I went on a little excursion.

The lychees have been assigned to a yummy Lassi to accompany instead. ( As it turns out G.F doesn’t like lychees, but Kid and I do. Winning.)


Dahl is any of a variety of curry based on either lentils, peas or other legumes.
Dried mung beans are another example. The lentils or peas are themselves sometimes called dahl.

Yellow Toor Dahl w/ greens beans. Serves 4-6
Spice Blend – 1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds ( these are missing from the photo), 1 cinnamon quill, 12 cardomon pods, 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon black peppercorns all toasted and ground in a mortar and pestle or spice blender then sieved.
Add 1 tablespoon ground turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon ground clove, 1 teaspoon raw sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt. I’ve also added some saffron, it’s not necessary though.
Yellow Toor Beans – 2 cups – dried
Green beans – about 400gm
1 medium brown onion
2 celery sticks
6 garlic cloves
bay leaves – 4 fresh
fresh coriander – about 1/2 a bunch – washed and picked
1 lemon
Spice blend.
Heat a little oil or ghee in a thick based pot. Sweat the onions and celery, then add the garlic and cook until soft. Add the spices and sauté gently until aromatic. Add the toor, stock, coconut cream, bay leaves and a little salt. Add a cup of water too and simmer gently for about 40 mins or until the toor are just soft. Now the green beans go in for about 5 mins. Turn the heat off, add some chopped coriander and lemon juice and let sit until you’re ready to serve.

Roti bread is a flat, unleavened bread made using ( in this instance ) atta flour. Atta is fine ground wholemeal flour with any husk removed via a fine sieving process.
Roti turns up in a few different cuisines, namely sub – continental, Sth East Asian, Sth Pacific and even Sth American.
2 cups Atta flour
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup olive or ghee
Combine the flour, salt and water to form a dough. Move this to a lightly floured bench and knead for a solid ten minutes. Brush with a little oil or ghee and leave to rest for an hour at least.
I didn’t have an hour so mine were good but a little lacklustre.
Pre – heat a solid based pan.
Next cut the dough into 10 even sized portions and roll each one out to about 20cm diameter.
Even is more important than round. Sprinkle a little flour in the pan, if it goes brown, you are ready. Place the rolled out dough in the pan for a couple of minutes either side. It should puff up. Press it back down gently with a tea towel to protect your hand. Remove from the pan and brush liberally with ghee or olive oil. Repeat, stacking them as they come off. Keep them covered with a warm damp cloth until ready to serve.

What Kid Did

Kid helped with a lovely little salad of cucumber (a little salt on your cucumber goes a long way), mint, spring onions, tomato  and lemon.
Roti6Kid made and rolled the roti dough.
I had a moment when I had to go and calm down because they weren’t round OR even.
Really? So what. We’re meant to be having fun here. Right?!
Occupational hazard. Soz Kid. You do a great job.

One thing you learn pretty quickly when you become a head chef is that not everybody is as excited about what you’re doing as you are.

Kid also toasted the spices in a fry pan,  peeled and pipped the lychees for the lassi, which she’d never done before, picked some coriander and set the table. After dinner we all played a geography quiz game at Kid’s insistence.

Pretty sure I won 😉

Lassi- lychees, natural yoghurt, milk. It’s pretty much a smoothie.
It shouldn’t need sweetening if the fruit is ripe.
Otherwise you can add some cardomon and a little salt for a more savoury version.

What Else?
That’s enough, surely.
I’m pretty happy that there’s heaps of dahl left for after work.
Next time I’ll take a little more time with the roti.
Cooking them on electric probably didn’t help.
The salad is a great contrast here, very fresh.
Lentils, mung, or split peas will all work as well here but cooking times may vary.

Thanks for the lychees mum.

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