Pita Bread

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This is the second recipe in the Lebanese cuisine theme. It is the classic and most popular dish – the pita. The Pita is a leavened bread made with all purpose flour. It can either be cooked on the stove top or baked in the oven. Having tried both methods, I definitely recommend baking it. The pita puffs up beautifully in the oven and the layers are well formed. It easily gives way to making a pita pocket to put the stuffing in. The pita cooked on the stove top looks well done while the baked one would leave you in doubt as to its doneness. But do not worry, if it puffs up well, it is done well.

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When you make it on a stove top you have to ensure that the skillet is very hot to cook the pita but at the same time not too hot to spoil it. You have to be very careful and vigilant to turn it over at the right time and yet it is not a guarantee that the pita would puff largely instead of small little pockets like a regular roti. But when you bake it, all you need to do is set the temperature and watch while the magic is performed. I also loved the taste of the baked version as against the stovetop version.

You can use the pita with the classic falafel or for a vegetable sandwich. If you have any leftover pitas, simply toast them with butter and garlic and be amazed.

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Recipe from here

Makes 8 pitas

WHAT WE NEED

All purpose flour                       2 1/2 – 3 cups 

Active dry / Instant yeast         2 tsp

Warm water                               1 cup

Salt                                               2 tsp

Olive oil (optional)                    2 tsp
WHAT TO DO

  • Mix the water and yeast in a large bowl and set aside for 2-3 minutes
  • Add 2 1/2 cups of flour, salt and oil to the water and yeast
  • Mix all the ingredients together to form the dough
  • Dust the counter top with some flour and transfer the dough to the counter top
  • Knead the dough well for 7-8 minutes and add some flour if needed to make a smooth and pliable dough
  • Grease the bowl with some olive oil and transfer the dough to it
  • Turn it around in the bowl so that all sides of the dough are well oiled
  • Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel or cling wrap and set aside till the dough doubles
  • It can take around 1-2 hours depending on the climate
  • If needed, the dough can be refrigerated at this point and used to make the pita at a later time
  • Once the dough is doubled, divide it into 8 parts and shape each of them into a ball

If cooking on the stovetop

  • Heat the skillet till it is very hot
  • Take each ball of dough and roll it into a 3″ thick circle
  • Transfer the rolled out dough to the skillet and cook for 30 seconds
  • Turn the pita over and cook for a minute or so till the pita puffs up well
  • Take it off the heat 
  • Repeat the same procedure till all 8 pitas are made
  • Enjoy with some falafel and salad!

If baking 

  • Preheat the oven to 230C
  • Roll out each dough ball to a 3″ thick circlular pita
  • Transfer the rolled out dough (as many as can be fitted comfortably) to the baking tray
  • Bake for 3-4 minutes till the pita puffs up
  • Take it out of the oven
  • Repeat the same procedure till all the pitas are baked
  • Enjoy it with some falafel and hummus

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 This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, Lebanese Cuisine’.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM

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Falafel

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My theme for this week is Lebanese cuisine. Of course, the first few dishes that come to mind are pita bread, hummus and falafel. I was wondering if it would be too cliche to make these dishes for this theme but then I figured it is unbelievable that I still don’t have these classic recipes on my blog. So I am posting recipes for three ingredients in a pita sandwich – falafel, pita bread and labneh. Get them together and it will be pure bliss. Even the husband, who does not experiment much with food, loved this. So you surely don’t need a bigger proof of the deliciousness of this awesome meal.

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Falafel is a nice balance between guilt and pleasure. It is a chickpea based dish and so good on the protein front but at the same time, it is deep fried and makes you a little guilty if you are trying to eat healthy / lose weight. You can bake them too but this is the first time I am making these and so I did not want to risk that with the family. I am researching on getting an equally delicious baked version and will update this post soon in that regard. My recipe, as usual, is more spicy and has curry powder instead of paprika and cayenne to make it more favorable to the husband and daughter. Now, on to the recipe –

Makes 20-25 falafels

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Chickpeas                 1/2 cup

Onion, small            1

Garlic cloves            2

Coriander leaves    2-3 sprigs

Green chilly             1

Curry powder          1 tsp

Red chilly powder   1/2 tsp

Sesame seeds           2 tsp

Cumin seeds             1 tsp

Salt

Oil for deep frying

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Soak the chickpeas in a large bowl of water and set it aside for around 6 hours or overnight
  • Drain the water from the chickpeas
  • Take all the ingredients, except oil, in a food processor or blender and blend it to a thick paste
  • If you find it tough to blend then add few teaspoons of water but ensure that the thick paste is formed after blending
  • Heat the oil for deep frying
  • Transfer the paste to a bowl and pinch out some dough the size of a small lemon
  • Roll the piece of dough into a small ball and set it aside
  • Continue to form small balls with the rest of the dough
  • Once the oil is sufficiently heated, drop few balls of dough into it and reduce the flame to low
  • Fry till they turn golden brown
  • Repeat the same procedure to fry all the dough balls
  • Enjoy it with pita and hummus / labneh!

For a pita sandwich, divide a pita bread into two and open each half into a pocket. Apply some labneh or hummus inside the pita and fill it with falafel, tomato and cucumber slices.

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, Lebanese Cuisine.

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Crispy Garlic Pita Toasts

  

I couldn’t finish all my pita bread in those sandwiches I made and the ominous warning on the packet of using the bread within 24 hours  had me worried. What to do? What to do? That’s when, coincidentally, I chanced upon this recipe – the perfect solution to all my pita problems. Crispy pita toasts with garlic flavour. I was in bread heaven.

  

The lovely part was that it was quick and easy and made with all the ingredients I had readily available, not to mention the daughter loved it. Blissful day!

So here goes –

WHAT WE NEED

Pita Bread                               2

Olive oil                                    1 tbsp

Salt

Pepper                      

Garlic cloves                           2-3

Cheddar cheese, grated      1-2 tbsp
WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Cut pita bread into quarters
  • Brush them with olive oil
  • Finely chop the garlic and top the pita bread 
  • Add salt and pepper
  • Sprinkle the grated cheese on top
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes till the pitas are crispy and golden brown
  • Enjoy with any dip of your choice!


  

NOTES

  1. The cheese is optional but I used it because that would make it easier to give it to my daughter.
  2. You can also add paprika with salt and pepper


This is part of the
Bake-a-thon 2015 


 

Vegetable stuffed Pita Sandwiches

   

I love pita bread and this recipe here is one of my regular ones. Technically there is no recipe. I just add what I like and what I have on hand and the sandwich is ready, which is what a sandwich is all about. So this is usually a Friday dinner since grocery shopping is Saturday and I am left with bits and pieces of various vegetables. No one veggie is enough for an entire meal but together they work very well.
 

In this particular one, I have used French beans (which now grow in my garden and will henceforth be part of all my mixed veg dishes), baby corn, cherry tomatoes, onions and spring onions. To this I added some cayenne pepper, cumin seeds, ajwain and salt. I mixed some sour cream (which was leaping to its expiry date) and mayonnaise in equal parts and added some yellow mustard and onion powder for some flavour. Some cheddar cheese needed to be finished and so they were added too. Voila! 

So here goes my recipe –

WHAT WE NEED

Pita bread                               3

Onion                                       1, large

French beans                         8-10

Baby corn                                6-8

Cherry tomatoes                   10-12

Spring onions                         A handful and then some for garnish

Olive Oil                                   1 1/2 tbsp

Cumin seeds                           1/2 tsp

Ajwain                                       1/4 tsp

Cayenne pepper powder      1/2 – 1 tsp

Salt

Sour cream                               1 1/2 tbsp

Mayonnaise                              1 1/2 tbsp

Yellow mustard                       1/2 tsp

Onion powder                           1 tsp

Cheddar cheese, grated         3-4 tbsp

WHAT TO DO

  • Finely chop the onions, spring onions, beans, baby corn
  • Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves.
  • Heat some oil and add cumin seeds and ajwain
  • Add the onions and spring onions and sauté
  • Once the onions are translucent add the beans and baby corns
  • When the beans are half cooked, add the cherry tomatoes and mix well.
  • Add salt and cook covered on medium heat for around 10 minutes.
  • Open the lid regularly and sauté the vegetables.
  • Switch off the gas and set it aside.
  • In a small bowl, take the sour cream, mayonnaise, mustard and onion powder and mix well to combine.
  • Preheat the oven to 190C
  • Cut the pita breads into halves so that they resemble a semi circle.
  • Slowly pry open each bread half so as to be able to stuff it.
  • Apply the sour cream mix and then add the vegetables
  • Take care to ensure that the bread doesn’t break.
  • Once all the bread halves are stuffed, put them on a baking tray and spread the cheese on top.
  • Bake for 5 minutes or till the cheese melts.
  • Take it out, garnish with spring onion greens and serve warm.
  • Enjoy!

  

  
NOTES

  1. I wanted to have the pitas toasted and so I baked them for ten minutes. If you are doing the same, bake for 5 minutes and then add the grated cheese and bake for another 5 minutes.

 

This is my post for the Blogging Marathon hosted by Srivalli under the theme – Stuffed dishes. 
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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for other marathoners doing this BM.