If nothing else, I am clear about my priorities. After family, it's all food, books, and travel. Travel is a trade off for sure, and not always easy to juggle with school schedules and work responsibilities, but so vital. There's nothing I love more than spending the day in some far-flung locale, walking the local markets, cruising the docks to check out the sea creatures just hauled in from the deep, or buying more bread than we can eat straight from a wood-burning oven. Sometimes, it's hard to come home to the stark and antiseptic grocery stores of America. After a trip, I usually head straight for the farmers' market to reconnect to what's vibrant about our food here, and that eases the transition some. But in between trips, something in me still yearns for the exotic and the unfamiliar. Thanks to a recent invite from my friend Shefaly to walk the aisles of her favorite Indian grocery, I found all I was looking for right here in Austin. We explored fragrant spices, exotic snacks, and crates of intriguing fruits and vegetables. Best of all, she shared ideas for using them all and simple, authentic recipes for later. Intrigued? She'll take you all too next time - click here to reserve your spot on November 7th!
One of my favorite finds was fenugreek - it was available both fresh and dried. Sweet and a little nutty, with hints of maple and celery, you'll want to use it in marinades and curries all day long. I tossed some dried leaves in a recipe for flatbread and was instantly transported - no plane ticket required.
adapted from Anjore's Tikka Masala and Roti class recipe (click here to sign up for her next one!)
2 c all purpose flour (+ extra as needed)
2 c whole wheat flour (+ extra as needed)
1/2 T salt
4 T dried fenugreek (kasoori methi)
2 c water
3 T melted ghee or coconut oil
Place the flour, salt, and fenugreek in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and blend briefly. Add water and ghee or coconut oil and begin mixing. With the mixer running, add flour as needed until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is no longer sticky. Continue mixing for 2-3 minutes, then turn out onto a floured board. Knead by hand until dough feels smooth, then divide into about 12 balls about the size of a small satsuma (you might get a few more or less depending on how much flour you added). Leave them on the floured board or countertop to rest, covered with a dishtowel for at least 20 minutes. When you are ready to roll them out and cook, heat a large, heavy skillet over high heat until smoking (cast iron is best). Begin rolling flatbreads - you want them about 1/8-1/4" thick. As you roll, place them on the skillet, and cook until they are slightly puffed and blistered in spots, then flip and cook the other side. Continue rolling and cooking until all are done, then brush with melted butter, sprinkle with additional fenugreek leaves and serve.