We are starting the second week of BM#50, and I will be doing a theme on International Flatbreads. While Indian Flatbreads are one of my favorite themes, as you might have seen on the Roti Melas that I have hosted, I have always hesitated to take upon International Flatbreads. There are so many varieties that one can choose from if only one takes a look. Even after deciding that I would take it up, I was clueless for a long time.
I started working on it this weekend, knowing that I have some interesting recipes shortlisted. I was so surprised to note that there are so many similar recipes, almost the same as our rotis, or the stuffed parathas. The difference could be the method used to cook or the ingredients that are locally available. Plus the factor that as part of Indian cuisine, we rely so much on our spices and a bland, just a creamy stuffing wouldn't appeal to our taste buds.
This is what I concluded after reading up on very similar Unleavened Flatbreads cooked across the globe.
It was in fact so difficult to shortlist just three. As they say, one has to get down to business and so I did. I had to decide which of those appealed to me the most and those that I could makeover during my regular weekend marathons. Like if I am actually doing the marathon on the fixed days, I have ended up cooking most of it together during the weekend, planning all the new dishes for one of the meals. So I ended up selecting Piadina.
Piadina or Piada is a thin Italian flatbread. Very much like our rotis, Piadina is prepared with white flour, lard or olive oil, salt, and water. Since I don't use lard, I opted to use olive oil. Originally in the olden days, this flatbread was cooked on a terracotta dish, in modern cuisine adapts the flat pans or electric griddles as well.
Also, I found that though the original recipe never called for baking soda, the latest recipes found on net use baking soda and I didn't want to take a chance. Of course, this would be very much like our own Indian Rotis. So I wanted to see how the baking soda affects the bread. I adapted mine from here.
After the Piadinas are made, they are served filled with a variety of cheeses, cold meat cuts, and vegetables. It can also have sweet fillings such as jam or Nutella. Naturally, I didn't' want to end up with a Nutella, and having the whole lot disappear! I was planning on serving it with a bed of curried paneer. Having missed the chance to do that, I did with vegetables. It tasted so delicious and you guessed right, so much like ours!
The difference could be felt only when you eat it as such. Else you can everybody say that it's your regular Indian Bread. I know I should have opted for something very different from what we are used to cooking, like maybe focaccia, which has been on my to-do list for the longest ever time. However given the daily grind one finds oneself in, it becomes impossible. I settled to a need to try a new flatbread, old taste in a new form, or was it new taste in an old form!. One thing was, my kids were super thrilled and eagerly waited to taste this, even after their lunch!
Piadina ~ Italian Flat Bread
makes about 4 regular ball size bread.
All purpose flour - 2 cups
Baking soda a pinch
Salt to taste
olive oil - 1 tbsp
Water to kneadHow to make the Piadina Flatbread
Take the flour in a wide bowl, add olive oil, baking soda, salt and mix well.
Then slowly add water and knead to a firm and smooth dough. Divide into equal balls, and rest it for 30 mins.
When you are ready to make the flatbreads, knead each piece of dough briefly and roll out with a rolling pin into 6-inch rounds, 1/8 inch thick.
Heat a flat tawa/griddle on the stovetop over medium heat.
When hot, place one dough disk on the surface, checking the piadina frequently and turning it once halfway through cooking
Prick the disc with a fork to prevent too many air bubbles from forming.
This procedure should produce a flat piadina with its characteristic light and dark spots
Serve with filled with a stuffing of your choice.