Every meal needs something to mop up the plate goodies with, besides your tongue. This is it. Indian flatbread, unleavened, beautiful in its soft corny texture and perfect for dippage.
And yes, this is the most challenging recipe featured in Alli's Whizbang Fancy Schmancy Bridal Shower Feast. It takes time, but it flexes your muscles. Much like making doughnuts or homemade hummus or your own fantastic pizza sauce, carefully and precisely measured to be awesome, everyone will think the sun shines out your ass if you make this. They'll be so mesmerized by your talent, you'll get that yacht trip to Acapulco way sooner than you thought. People will be tripping all over themselves to be your friend. They'll spin circles around you and throw confetti in the air and offer you drinks, drinks made with love.
This will make 8 good-sized flatbreads. So there. That should be enough. My double batch got way outta hand.
Let's make the dough. In a large bowl, combine:
3 cups flour (I used half and half wheat/white)
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tbs poppy seeds
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp salt
Stir it up with a spoon, then add:
1 1/2 cups water
Mix to form a soft dough, switching to your hands when you knead to (ha!). Knead the dough on your floured countertop for about 5 minutes or until it's soft and smooth, adding more flour if it gets too sticky. Then, spray a bowl with cooking oil and dump the hunk o' dough straight into it to rest for 10 minutes, covered, while you make the crumb mixture. This rest time will help avert any unnecessary gluten development and will, therefore, help keep your roti tender.
Crumbs are easy. Just mix together the following with a fork until it's...um, crumbly. Behold:
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 tbs canola oil
dash o' salt
Okay. Now you're set and ready to roll, literally. Get yourself a wee cup full of oil and a spoon to help smooth it across the flatbread (or a brush), flour your counter, and dump out the rested dough. Divide it into 8 even-ish balls. Ready? This is the somewhat tedious part, but it's really not so bad. Each ball you roll will go faster and look better than the one before it.
Roll the dough out into a circle. Using the back of the spoon, spread a thin layer of oil across the surface. Now, fold it in half and spread more oil again, this time on the newly-exposed surface. Then, fold that piece in half and spread more oil (you'll learn quickly how much oil it too much).
Gather the ends under one side of the ball and roll it out, again, into a circle. This time, you'll do the same thing, except you'll add a sprinkle of crumbs over each thin layer of oil. So, oil the circle and sprinkle with crumbs, fold it in half, oil and sprinkle, fold it again, oil and sprinkle. Gather the ends again, just like you did before, and roll it out into its final circular shape. Place the flatbread gently on a well-floured plate and turn back to the mess in front of you.
One down. 7 to go.
Be a soldier. Each one is easier, prettier, better-rolled than the others. Make sure you use lots of flour between each uncooked disc, lest you end up with stickage. Boo to that.
Done rolling? Are you glad? Now you get to cook them! In a dry skillet over medium high heat! Wow! Gently place a dough circle into the hot pan and cook for about 3 minutes. The dough will release from the bottom when it's almost there, but will not move prior to that moment (which also means it will tear if you flop it carelessly in the pan and attempt to fix it...nope, you got one chance to get it right). Flip it over and cook the other side. You want it to be browned and slightly bubbled, but not blackened. If your pan is smoking, there's a good chance your bread is burning.
Finally, when your roti comes out of the pan one by one, stack them on top of eachother on cutting board (they shouldn't stick together). Slice them into wedges and serve with a huge Indian feast like this one. Everyone will love you.