To whomsoever it may concern:
(Whomsoever is a very strange word. Have I said this before?)
Hi! I’m an Indian from the state of Goa. I don’t know if you’ve ever been, let alone heard of the place but that’s where I come from. I urge you to look it up. Let Google be your friend.
Growing up, I knew nothing about the rest of the India we were a part of. Bombay? Okay maybe just Bombay. Our trips there were restricted to hanging around more Goans and eating at the Catholic Gymkhana. I always find it strange how that happens. How we follow familiarity and hang around it like women in restrooms. Well, there we were.
My taste and knowledge about food is a big, big product of this “innocence”. Us Goans with our Indo-Portuguese tastebuds (Goa was a Portuguese colony unlike the rest of India), somehow felt superior to everybody else. It was always about the xit-kodi (rice and curry) and rava-fried fish. If there was anything “alternative”, one could only assume that we were humoring ourselves for a special occasion. Mama makes butter chicken occasionally and though it tastes amazing, it’s not a childhood memory.
So you can bet that if I’m asked about “Indian food” (which Americans ask a lot!), I wouldn’t know where to start. It’s not like they teach it to us in school! The short answer is: “Yes, it’s spicy but not always.” The long answer is with all of us n00bs. We’re the “next generation” that acknowledges the existence of all the food that’s begging to be sampled around every corner. While we cling to our roots, we know it’s not long before we let go. Back and forth, back and forth.
There’s no such thing as Indian food. It’s all about what you learn from those four walls in your parents’ kitchen. And then, it’s about what you choose to make of it.
My idea of “fusion”, these can also be called spinach chapatis since I ingeniously used atta flour (durum wheat) to make it. I have a recipe! Hooray.
- 2-3 cups spinach, stalks removed
- 1 cup atta
- 1 tsp oil
- 1/3 cup water
- Salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp)
Bring a saucepan with 3-4 cups of water to a boil and throw in the spinach leaves for 3 minutes or until they wilt. Drain, cool and then chop the leaves roughly and set it aside. But tell it you’ll be back in case it feels lonely.
Now we’re at my favourite part: Flour power!
Mix the salt into the flour. Don’t just dump it in. Mix, mix, MIX! I wasn’t yelling, I swear. Put it the oil and mix some more. Then add a bit of the water and the not-so-lonely and reassured spinach and mix it again. As you add more of the water and knead, you’ll see the ingredients form into a dough. That’s a good thing. If it’s too sticky, add a little flour. As long as the flour-water ratio is in harmony, there’s nothing that can go wrong. Unless you drop it. Five-second rule aint savin’ ya.
Put the dough in plastic wrap or in a covered bowl, let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes and go take a shower.
Once you’re a clean machine, it’s time to work the dough for about a minute or two. Elbow grease people! Form the dough into little round balls (mine came up to five) and roll them into round shaped tortillas.
To cook them, put a pan on medium heat and let the pan get hot. Grease it with butter and slide in one of the rolled-out dough balls. Once you see the top of the tortilla/chapati rise a bit, flip it over. It should have a brown colour in patches over the green. Again, watch for the puffing up so you know when it’s done. This should take approximately 3-4 minutes (on each side) for the first one. With the pan getting hotter, the cooking time could shorten by a bit so watch the proceedings closely.
The best part? It’s done!
Add your favourite filling, roll it and smoke it.