Rob loves Indian food.
Because Rob grew up in Australia, he grew up eating Indian food. My mother-in-law is a fan of Indian cuisine, too. It isn’t a surprise that Rob’s a fan of the cuisine.
On the other hand, Indian food wasn’t cooked in my standard American home.
When our dinners were cultural, we ventured south to Mexico. The entire family enjoyed regular taco night. My mother’s enchiladas were a rare treat that I relished.
She made other Americanized ethnic food as well. Vegetable and chicken stir fries served on rice were a favorite. Her homemade lasagna and enchiladas were others.
The first taste
My first experience with Indian food was when my well-traveled uncle Scott came to town. He often treated our family to dinner at a restaurant. It was a thank you for hosting him during his stays in Fargo.
I can’t remember all the restaurants we’ve been to with Scott. We’ve been to a handful of places. But a restaurant called Saffron I remember most.
I admit I don’t remember much. I don’t remember what I ordered. I vaguely recall that the restaurant was brightly colored. I remember my uncle’s order vividly. He ordered a mango drink and a fiery red chicken.
The chicken was remarkable. Seriously, it was vibrant red! And he allowed each of us to taste it.
The most beautiful arrangement of herbs and spices I’d ever experienced assaulted my mouth.
My mouth was assaulted with the most beautiful arrangement of herbs and spices that I’d ever experienced.
I’m sure this restaurant was somewhat Americanized. Chicken at an Indian restaurant doesn’t seem authentic to me. But the intricate flavor of the food impressed my young tongue.
Finding India again
I requested to return to Saffron whenever my parents gave into our pleas to eat out. Yet we never returned.
I gazed at the restaurant every time I drove by it. I never went into Saffron again.
I forgot about Indian food. Sure, the memories floated back every time I drove past the restaurant. But I never asked my mother to cook an Indian-inspired meal. It was outside her abilities.
I’d never made Indian food before, so I didn’t attempt food of the sort either.
When Rob entered my life, so did Indian food.
Not at first, though. He introduced me to different types of vegan food over time. Mono meals. Portabella mushrooms. Hummus. Pure banana smoothies. Eventually, he showed me Indian food.
The first Indian-inspired dish we made together was Dr. McDougall’s Cauliflower Dal.
It was gorgeous. It played right into the same tones that the bright red chicken did all those years ago. It was slightly sweet. Definitely spicy. Quite saucy. And actually healthy. We made it on a regular basis when we lived in Spain.
The cauliflower dal was gorgeous. It was slightly sweet. Definitely spicy. Quite saucy. And actually healthy.
Rob and I began to buy more Indian ingredients and prepare more Indian dishes. We consumed mountains of beans, peas and lentils. We purchased garam masala, cumin and turmeric. We ate rice all the time.
Living in Australia fueled our combined love for Indian cuisine. There were two humble Indian shops within walking distance of our apartment in Broadbeach, Australia. We had a massive Indian store near our home in Brisbane. We stocked up on wholesome Indian staples such as red lentils, split yellow peas, black eyed peas and whole wheat flour.
In fact, our favorite source of antioxidants, amla, is from India. A.k.a. Indian gooseberry.
India in America
Though we’ve moved to the US, we’re still crazy about having regular Indian-inspired meals.
Even if it’s not as convenient.
The closest international store in New Orleans is a 30-minute drive away. Luckily, we don’t have to take public transportation or walk there. That’s what we did in Spain and Australia.
Our International Market supplies mostly Indian staples like our other stores did. However, it sells various foods that aren’t Indian in nature. The majority of the other ethnic foods available are Latin American.
We’ve picked boxes of mangoes at our International Market. We buy our regular supply of flax seeds, amla, 20-pound bags of whole wheat flour and a variety of legumes.
We even purchased a bag of chickpea flour to make cholesterol-free omelets and quiches.
And of course, we go there for the extensive variety of herbs and spices.
You know how people impulse buy clothes or shoes? Rob and I impulse buy spices.
Cinnamon, garam masala, cumin, curry powder, fenugreek, ginger, black pepper, white pepper, turmeric. Every spice we could ever dream of is there.
This whole wheat chapatti (roti) recipe is the perfect base to eat all your Indian dishes with. Dal, curry, satays, chutney and everything else you can imagine.
Love Indian food? Make it even healthier by serving your next delicious curry on this whole wheat roti instead. Move over white flour and oil. Whole wheat sourdough roti is here.
Vegan and free of added salt, sugar, oil, soy, nuts and seeds
Reasons to love this recipe: whole grains, simple, versatile, sourdough
Yields 6 rotis
- 150 g active sourdough starter
- 150 g water
- 350 g whole wheat flour
- Extra flour for dusting
Prepare dough by mixing together the sourdough starter, water and whole wheat flour. Form into a ball and refrigerate for at least 2 days and up to 7 days.
Preheat your oven and an aluminum-lined baking sheet to 400° F (205° C)
Divide the dough into 6 equal parts. Roll one part into a ball. Use your hands to shape and stretch the dough into a circle 5-6 inches (12-15 cm) wide. Repeat this with the remaining dough.
Dust each side with flour to prevent sticking to the aluminum foil. Place the shaped dough in the freezer for 5 minutes. This makes them fluffier.
Tip: I prefer to use corn flour when dusting wheat products. The wheat dough doesn’t absorb the corn flour as readily as it does whole wheat flour.
Bake one side of the roti for 10 minutes. Then flip it over to bake the other side for 10 minutes. When they’re done, they’ll sound somewhat hollow but still be firm and moist on the inside.
Allow the whole grain roti to cool for 5-10 minutes before enjoying.
Did you enjoy this recipe? I use this basic recipe for many other sourdough creations. Discover what else you can make with this particular recipe in the Ultimate Wheat Sourdough Recipe.