alternate routes

February 8th, 2015

I spent the afternoon plotting an overland journey around the world in eighty days, based on Jules Verne’s adventure novel from 1873. The biggest challenge is getting from Cairo to Bombay by way of Suez without stepping foot or toe into Saudi Arabia and that’s when my plotting hit the wall. An escorted trip to northern India might be more practical, but not nearly so thrilling.

In the meantime, I can eat the way Verne’s character, Phileas Fogg, might have done, on and off slow trains and slower freighters and the place to begin is with an unleavened flatbread called Paratha, whose pedigree dates from Vedic Sanskrit.  Housewives and boat cooks of South Asia make this fresh every morning.

To accompany the Paratha, a ground nut and pepper paste from Syria and perhaps a new version of Hummus with the addition of roasted garlic and Feta cheese wouldn’t go amiss. Some crunchy baked chick peas, fresh crudité, and a generous drizzle of olive oil adorn the plate and I am in for an adventure.

Paratha, Hummus, and Muhammara

Related Recipes

Coriander Paratha

Really fun to make!

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ – ¾ cup spring water

In a food processor, fitted with a steel blade, pulse the dry ingredients several times. Add the cilantro, olive oil and water and process until dough comes together in a ball. Move the dough to a bowl and cover for 15 minutes.

Divide the dough into 6-8 equal sized balls. Roll each on a lightly floured surface to approximately 7 inches in diameter.  Cover as needed with plastic wrap to prevent them drying out.

Heat a cast iron griddle or skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Lightly brush a Paratha with olive oil and cook it, oiled side down, until blistered with brown spots. Brush top surface with olive oil and flip to cook the other side. Wrap cooked Paratha in a tea towel and serve immediately.

Muhammara

Serve with homemade Paratha or other flatbreads.

For 1 ¼ cups:

  • 1 cup roasted red peppers, homemade or jarred
  • ¾ cup walnuts, lightly toasted
  • ¼ fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin seed
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, roasted
  • Chopped flat leaf parsley and pomegranate arils, for garnish

In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process all ingredients except olive oil. When mixture is blended, drizzle in the olive oil while the motor is running. Refrigerate for a few hours prior to serving.

Roasted Garlic and Feta Hummus

For 2 1/2 cups:

  • 2 cups chickpeas, cooked and cooled
  • ¼ cup Feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons spring water
  • 2 roasted garlic cloves, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Chopped flat leaf parsley, roasted chick peas, drizzle of olive oil, for garnish

In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process all ingredients except olive oil. When mixture is blended, drizzle in the olive oil while the motor is running. Refrigerate for a few hours prior to serving.

Copyright © Katherine Stetson, all rights reserved.