While I was in Vegas this year, I spent a lot of time at the Rio sweating whoever was playing a tournament at the WSOP. Toward the end of the trip, that was Jay, during the Main Event. They only had an hour and a half break for dinner, so we usually ended up going to the closest and most decent restaurant: which was Gaylord Indian Restaurant. Usually I am really not up for Indian food-it is definitely low on my list of preferred cuisines (although Amanda tells me that will change once I eat good Indian in London), but one item I did love was these cracker rounds with olive oil and cumin seeds they give you when you sit down.
So, naturally, when I was home and settled back in NY, I wanted to try to make something similar. Well, these aren’t THAT similar, but they are better. The flatbread has whole cracked cumin seeds, which gives it that distinctive nutty taste, and chickpeas, which adds some protein and moistens the texture. I found the recipe toward the end of Jamie Oliver’s The Naked Chef Takes Off. They are so easy to make and this recipe makes a big enough batch to have leftovers for a couple of days! I served these hot with a bunch of dips and tapas (Warm Spinach-feta, olive tapenade, tabbouleh, and curried lentils: Recipes to come!!!)
Moroccan Chickpea Flatbread
From Jamie Oliver: The Naked Chef Takes Off
1 oz fresh yeast or 3/4 oz active dried yeast (three 1/4 oz packages)
2 tablespoons honey (or sugar)
just over 2 cups tepid water
just over 2lb bread flour (6 to 8 cups)
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, lightly cracked
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, lightly cracked
one 14 oz can of chickpeas, drained and mashed
some extra flour for dusting
Dissolve the yeast and honey (or sugar) in half the tepid water.
In a large bowl, make a pile of the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in all the dissolved yeast mixture. With 4 fingers of one hand, make circular movements from the center moving outward, slowly bringing in more nd more of the flour until all the yeast mixture is soaked up. Then pour the other half of the tepid water into the center and gradually incorporate all the flour to make a moist dough. (Some flours need more water, so don’t hesitate to adjust the quantities.) At this point you should add the cumin, coriander, and chickpeas to the dough.
Kneading! Just rolling, pushing, and folding the dough over and over for 5 minutes. This will develop the gluten and structure of the dough. If any dough sticks to your hands, just rub them with a bit of flour.
Flour both your hands well, and lightly flour the top of the dough. Make it into a roundish shape and place on a baking tray. Deeply score the dough with a knife–allowing it to relax and rise with ease. Leave it to rise until it’s doubled in size, preferably in a warm, moist environment for the quickest rise (cover it with plastic wrap to speed things up). This process improves the flavor and texture of the dough and takes around 40 minutes, depending on the conditions.
When the dough has doubled in size you need to punch the air out of it by bashing it around for a minute. Divide your bath of dough into 10-12 pieces. Roll out each of these to 1/4 inch thick and gently pull out into a slightly irregular oval shape. Cook 1 or 2 at a time, depending on the size of your oven, directly on the rack of a preheated oven at 450°. They take about 4 minutes to cook and puff up quite a bit. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes before serving.