Try a Little Tenderness

Franka Philip Dan Lepard roti dal

Here are some brilliant flatbreads filled with spicy dal rolled out with my magic Turkish rolling pin for Short and Tweet over this last weekend. This recipe is by Dan Lepard (P.73 of Short & Sweet, Lentil Filled Flatbreads) with the help of Franka Philip.  Check out Franka Philip’s photos of making these with Dan; she kindly gave us advice on Twitter on how to seal the little pockets of dough around the filling before rolling them out. Twitter is a funny place, I would never have thought I could ask a cook book writer I had never met for help directly but all the ones I have had contact with are extraordinarily kind and positive. Thank you once again Franka!

Franka Philip Dan Lepard roti dal

This dough was really interesting in that the dough is made without yeast or sourdough and is left to age in the fridge. Pooh pooh you might say, what difference would that make?  Well, the flat breads rolled out really easily after their long chill, puffed up in the pan and were incredibly tender to eat, light and just yummy.  If I compare them to these quick flatbreads that I made recently these Trinidadian style roti are way superior in terms of their tenderness and flavour.

Franka Philip Dan Lepard roti dal

I had every conceivable colour of dal in a scruffy box in the cupboard, waiting for me to make dal with, except I only had half the quantity of the red dal I needed for this recipe, so I added some uri dal in, thinking that would be OK. It was in the end, but whereas the red dal cooks fast and goes quite mushy, the uri dal stayed resolutely uncooked for ages and retained its shape, so when you look at the photos you can see the pattern the uri dal made. Still it wasn’t a disaster by any means!

Franka Philip Dan Lepard roti dal

I found it quite fascinating how the spiced and garlicky filling started off dark yellow and then as it cooked again within the confines of the roti turned a wonderful rich amber-red colour. I don’t know quite why it did that, the combination of spice, salt and lentils?

We used our flatbreads to scoop up a spicy pork mince dish that I made up with some ancient freezer aged mince, garlic, ginger, fresh garam marsala, a mild  chilli and a tin of tomatoes (the sort of thing I made as a student, only a bit better than my cooking abilities then)  and a little dark green fresh spinach on the side. All eaten before I thought to take a photo, oops.

Franka Philip Dan Lepard roti dal

I rolled like a demon, a rather slow demon, and B flipped the breads in the pan. The recipe made loads, so we paused half way through our roti making, ate far too much and then I made the last few balls up and put them in the fridge for a further night.

Incidentally, I also learnt that a Tequila Sunrise made with blood orange juice is called a Tequila O Positive. Dad gave me this beautiful glass when I visited him last year, he told me he bought it when he was a student so it has survived a long time.

I slept well after all that hard work, concentrating on the delicate rolling out of these breads. We watched the season finale of Borgen, best thing on TV the last month,  and shared a plate of atmospheric (dark and gloomy Copenhagen)  lemon cardamom (no baking powder this time!) madeleines made from Thane Prince’s recipe here.


Franka Philip Dan Lepard roti dal

Edit: Another oops, I forgot to add this picture in!

Back to the tale of the Tender Ones – The following morning I pulled the remaining balls out of the fridge (36 hours after the dough was originally mixed) and rolled them out in the early morning sunshine and we had them for breakfast topped with egg and bacon and a squirt of tomato ketchup and took sunshine filled photos to share with you.  I was so pleased the sun came out!

Last year we made some alloo parathas  (left) with Mellow Bakers, but they weren’t a patch on these! I will definitely make today’s recipe again. We are going to investigate making thin rolling pins from dowel as I really think it makes it much easier to roll these little quite frail balls of dough out and I would like one that is a bit shorter so I don’t hit stuff off the worktop when I am rolling.

I am getting on much better with this skinny pin than I do with my big rolling pin, or else it is just practice.

PPS Here’s Evidence Matters’s super round up post for this week’s baking. Have a peek and discover some new blogs to read and if you want to join in it’s very easy and all explained over on her blog.

What have you been up to this weekend?

40 thoughts on “Try a Little Tenderness

  1. Misk Cooks

    I’m going to thumb through my copy of Short and Sweet to discover which recipe you used in this post. From the photos, it looks to be more along the lines of what we like (more like a tortilla).

    1. Joanna Post author

      It’s on page 73, lentil stuffed flatbreads, one of the February 5th shortandsweet selection by Evidence Matters along with the Superwraps and the Cornbread. I think it’s also on the Guardian website. Check out Franka’s photos and see Dan in action too :)

      1. Misk Cooks

        Been out most of the day; sorry for delayed thanks for page number. I *will* check out the photos also. I’d wanted to make the cornbread for a second challenge but I ran out of time. I do however want to try these flatbreads as I think they’ll suit us perfectly. Thanks again. :)

        more from Misk…

        Just wanted to quickly say that those photos of Dan are essential viewing for anyone wanting to make these. Very helpful.

        And lastly, I think I must be the only person on this side of the Atlantic with a ball-bearing rolling pin. Everyone seems to use solid wooden dowel looking things – yours in thin and long, Dan’s is thick and short. Did you buy your Turkish rolling pin-rod-thingy in Turkey?

        1. Joanna Post author

          Misk, You can get both sorts of rolling pin here in the UK. my Turkish one was a gift from my neighbour, easy enough to make from hardwood dowel, if you have basic woodworking skills.

  2. Anne

    oh no : why are you sending so many good recipes: I want to do them all but know I might not have the time or energy ! And I really like dal too !!! Anne

    1. Joanna Post author

      Anne – these are soooo good, save it for when you have a bit of time though as they are fiddly the first time you make them, but the sort of thing that is probably easier second time round. If you make them don’t put too much filling in the first ones you try doing and use lots of flour for rolling out

      1. Anne

        Hello, I made these this week and really liked them ! so did the rest of the family. Lovely with a chicken in tomato and coco milk curry and simple basmati rice. To do again !. Anne

        1. Joanna Post author

          Hello Anne! Nice to hear from you, I agree they are a to do again recipe and I have been exploring other similar recipes in one of my favourite books Warm Bread and Honey Cake, which is full of exciting and different flat breads, very inspirational :)

  3. Evidence Matters (@EvidenceMatters)

    What an action-packed baking day. The madeleines are so sophisticated.

    Your roti look delightful. I’ve been wondering about the colour change of the lentils because several of us have remarked on it. The change might be in line with exposure to a different pH environment in the dough but I need to think about it some more.

    Oh, I’m glad we’re not the only ones who end up with freezer ‘aged’ items (thank you so much for that euphemism that I shall now adopt). I vacuum-seal and label my items and put them in an inventory. LOML tends to bung them in the freezer, still in their shop wrappings (or, worse, split into thin sandwich bags without any labels) and makes an intention to update the inventory but doesn’t. For the past few months I’ve been making a deliberate effort to cook my way through these surprises.

    1. Joanna Post author

      I spent hours this morning doing this post, I am so glad you like the madeleine photo. I had great fun doing this one with Brian and I really wouldn’t have done them if not for the challenge, so thank you EM!

      The pork mince had been in the freezer for nearly ten months. We label, sometimes haphazardly. I have written inventories, but they don’t get updated, so gradually swerve away from reality, remaining as a ghost, like a frozen outline of a car pulling away from the kerb in -26 C temperatures in Edmonton, AB.

      I have damsons soaked in alcohol which are about three years old in there somewhere, waiting drunkenly for something or other ;)

  4. Will

    I’m glad you enjoyed them as much as we did!

    In my hurry to get them on the table, I didn’t take in the change of colour, but now you mention it there was a shift wasn’t there? Perhaps cooking with such direct heat in such a thin layer goes some way to explain it? Guess work…

    Also, I’m adding a Tequila O Positive to my cocktail to-drink list… Sounds distinctly yummy.


    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks Will, It was really good to read your post first before I made them and I was quite inspired by your description of your chicken dish on Twitter too :).

      Maybe the colour change will be explained in the round up post ,

  5. Melanie

    Wonderful looking flatbreads!! They look quite large, and could be used like a burrito to fill w/ any number of things. I love your little pan that you made them in. It looks perfect for this sort of job. Not made dal yet. I see the bags of them at specialty stores, but never push myself to buy them. I have used a short, thin fondant rolling pin to roll tortillas before and it works pretty good, but I think a wooden dowl would be a great idea!

    1. Joanna Post author

      The dal you need for this one, Melanie, is the one that is pinky salmon colour, red dal, it cooks very quickly and disintegrates to a mash. They are very inexpensive here and keep for ever in the cupboard in a cool dark dry place. They are nice served as a sort of thick sauce with a little garlic and whole spices fried in oil drizzled over the top. We usually eat it with an Indian meal. I am not a dal expert but there are many different sorts, used in all sorts of dishes.

      Brian has bought some off cuts of hardwood dowel today and is intending to smooth it down and make me a shorter pin. The diameter of the dowel he got was 15 mm.

  6. Just A Smidgen

    What a wonderful festival of baking and cooking you’ve had… I just wish I had a spot at your table! The roti turned out just perfect and would be heaven with dal… If, when, my life slows down I’ll be trying these.. And thank you for the iphone app suggestion.. I’d read about Snapseed somewhere else but forgotten! xo Smidge
    ps I hadn’t heard about the bug in the Ipad “special” format! Thank you!

    1. Joanna Post author

      I could have done with you here to help us eat all the food Barbara! Do try Snapseed, it’s not very expensive, compared to monsters such as Photoshop and is very intuitive to use. I have to resist the urge now to ‘grunge’ and ‘drama’ all my photos. I tend to lighten quite a few of them simply because they are taken indoors with nothing but natural light or the glow of the halogens and they seem to transfer quite darkly to the wordpress format if I don’t bring up the brightness. I’m not terribly clever at photo editing so the programme is just about at my level.

  7. Evidence Matters (@EvidenceMatters)

    It’s good to learn that LOYL is even now setting out to provide you with the rolling pins that you need and desire :)

    I haven’t quite worked through the biochemistry but turmeric does change colour in the presence of acids/alkalis and I think this contributes to the change that many of us noticed.

    Thank you for participating.

    1. Joanna Post author

      He has finished smoothing the rough edges on my wooden sword for Tai Chi form and seems to have found his inner woodworker at the moment ;)

      I loved Carla’s photo of her rolling pin collection in your compilation post and I definitely want to make your cornbread, it all looks wonderful EM! I am sure your biochemistry is spot on. Going back to read what you said again now…

  8. heidiannie

    It all looks so good!
    The madeleines are especially tempting, but your breakfast fare looks like a close second.
    I like the idea of a dowel for rolling- just smoothing edge and not tapering?

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks Heidi! My pin is just like a piece of sanded and varnished dowel with rounded ends, not tapered. I have had a look to see if I took some photos at a demo I saw in October and I have found them for you and added them to Flickr so you can see a professional rolling Turkish pastry/dough for a filled bread called gozleme with one of those pins.

      Make the madeleines ! they’re delicious :)

  9. teawithhazel

    i’m mighty impressed with your dahl flatbreads darl..:)

    love the fact that you still have your dad’s student day glass..that’s really special..

    and by the way joanna the greeks always use a thin rolling pin to roll out phyllo..(i can’t do the link thing, sorted by Zeb!) but the site below shows the type of rolling pin they use..although i’ve seen some that are a lot thinner..

    How to roll out phyllo dough with a rolling pin

    1. Joanna Post author

      He he! I tried to photo the glass, it has birds and animals engraved on it, but the camera refused to focus on it. I will try again one day, or get the man with the large camera to do it.

      Thanks for the link, (the thought of making my own phyllo is scary to say the least, have you done it? I bet you do it all the time ;)

      1. teawithhazel

        ha..even your dog has better computer skills than me! :)

        i’ve only ever made phyllo twice..both times when i was living in greece..but it’s not really that hard joanna..all you just need a really large work area and a few leisurely mother in law used to get up at 5 am to have lunch on the table at midday! :)

        1. Joanna Post author

          I remain to be convinced that Zeb can operate a keyboard ;) You’ve made it twice more than me then. I so admire people who get up at 5 am and set to work like your mother-in-law, I once spent a night with an alarm clock rushing up and down stairs every four hours to feed a panetonne dough but that was extreme geekery and I haven’t repeated it since :D

  10. C

    Wonderful post Joanna – I love all your beautiful photography and intermediate step photographs. It must take so long to put these posts together, but it’s such fun to read them, and imagine looking into your kitchen while you concoct all of these delicious things. I love the look of those atmospheric madeleines too!

    I keep meaning to do the shortandtweet challenges but haven’t managed for a couple of weeks now, but not due to lack of interest. Love (trying to) follow everyone on twitter too – great fun!

    1. Joanna Post author

      That’s really sweet of you, thanks C. Most of these were taken by Brian with his proper camera, he said to credit him as Brian @ Zeb Bakes this time. The thought of trying to roll and flip and take photos was all too much for me. He is lovely to be with in the kitchen and he likes taking photos. I doubt I’d do this blog without him somehow.

      Then I messed around with them for ages trying to learn a bit about this new program and write the post at the same time. Some posts take a long time, others are quite quick. I’m pleased you’re on Twitter too. :)

  11. hotlyspiced

    What fabulous looking flat breads. There would be so many uses for those! Love the images – they tell such a story. And that’s a beautiful glass from your father.

    1. Joanna Post author

      I’m going to try and take a pic of the glass properly, but it defied my attempts to get focus on the engravings, I will have to ask for help. I was so happy when the sun came out, it makes all the difference to photographing bread! Thanks for the lovely comment :)

  12. sallybr

    Oh, you KNOW I’m going to have to make this, as I’m in a flatbread frame of mind lately….

    Loved the pictures, wish I had two or three of these babies in front of me RIGHT NOW!

  13. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    Jo, I love when we’re thinking along the same lines from opposite sides of the world – just last week I asked Pete if he could find me a thin rolling pin. I have a thick wooden straight one which is great, but I think I’ll have more control over a thin one. He’s thinking about a Tasmanian oak dowel, although June, my elderly Hungarian friend across the road, uses a cut-down broom handle.

    I haven’t made flat bread like this before, but I am very very tempted now. I adore them, and will almost always order them in Indian restaurants. Thanks for the photos and instructions, and for testing out the recipe! :)

    1. Joanna Post author

      I was inspired to ask Lovely Neighbour to bring me one back from Turkey last year having watched the demo (see the Flickr pics – sidebar). I interrogated the man in the hat about what went into his dough, had a go and failed to produce anything resembling his breads, so I kept a bit quiet at that point. However, I seem to be slowly getting the hang of it and the thin pin is lighter, so that’s what really makes the difference and it’s easy to see round it… Broom handle would be good, or any close grained hardwood that you can have nice and smooth. I’ve frozen some too, so will see if they survive or go all crunchy ;)

  14. Helen T

    Flatbreads sound delicious,and reasonably easy to do. Would cook them with my 10 year old, she’d enjoy seeing them puff up

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi Helen, they are easier without the filling part to roll out, but if you don’t overfill the middle bit it’s not too bad. You can also use spicy potato to fill the middle or anything you like, providing it is of a fine texture.

      You could also make pitta breads. I recommend this recipe of Dan Lepard’s in the Guardian
      I have also been rereading a lovely book I have called Warm Bread and Honey Cake which has a fine selection of flatbreads too

    1. Joanna Post author

      I am so pleased you like the photos, I felt like I was stealing the sunshine that day and incorporating it in the breads. It’s simple fare but very tasty Emily :)

  15. Choclette

    Jo, these sound so delicious and they look good too of course. I so wanted to join in with this challenge as I very much liked the sound of it, but time (or lack of it) as usual got in the way. I will give them a go at some point though.

    1. Joanna Post author

      If we could make everything we read in each others’ blogs we’d be doing nothing else Choclette ;) Have a lovely weekend!

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