The Morning After: A Bread Report “Seeing Doubles”

And so it is…the last bread class towards getting my Artisan Bread Certificate. This course is entitled Global Breads and for 10 weeks we shall take a trip around the world through food. First up a taste of India in the Caribbean.

A roti is an Indian unleavened flat bread usually made with whole wheat flour and cooked on a griddle. There also exists a Caribbean version which is more crepe-like in nature. Rotis can often be made with a spicy filling and for my vegetarian/vegan brethren, that filling is often curried vegetables and/or legumes. We made a Trinidadian classic in class: the dahl puri roti. After the dough was mixed and divided, it was filled with a spiced split pea mixture and then formed into a ball. The ball was rolled out (as best we could) into a circle and then cooked in a lightly oiled cast iron pan. The roti was brushed with an oil/butter mixture and then folded in half and/or quarters depending on your preference. The finished product and filling are featured in the first picture on the left at the end of this post.

Doubles are a popular street food in Trinidad and Tobago. It is like a sandwich, having two (i.e. ‘doubles’) pieces of fried flat bread surrounding a curried chickpea filling and usually topped with pepper and mango. Though popularly eaten as breakfast food, doubles are enjoyed anytime of the day by just about everyone who has tried them and like them. (I can attest to this as I had a double in class around 9:30pm, another one at 11pm and yet another the next day at 11:30am.)

In class, we added yeast to our doubles dough and let it rise until it ‘doubled’ in size. Eight single size pieces were formed and there was enough left over to make a sacrificial double. It would go into the frying pan to test the oil’s readiness. With the temperature climbing towards 375ºF, it was the perfect time to let the doubles go for a little dip. In just under a minute the dough puffed up and was ready to drain on a cooling rack. If eating immediately, you can assemble your doubles right away. If eating later, put the components into a tiffin carrier (pictured upper right) if you have them and bring them to school/work for lunch. A stainless steel container is less likely to be permanently stained by the generous portion of turmeric contained within the dough.

Mango chutney, spicy chickpea filling and double doughPhoto by Kimberley (c)2014
Mango chutney, spicy chickpea filling and double dough – Photo by Kimberley (c)2014
Photo by Kimberley (c)2014
Dahl Puri roti – Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

 

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014
Mango chutney, double senior and the sacrificial little one – Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Meatless Monday – Jump Up!

The Toronto Caribbean Carnival is upon us which means Canada’s largest city takes on an ‘island vibe’. This 3-week festival features events, performances and workshops happening throughout the city and culminates in a show-stopping parade where scantily clad women and men wine and chip their way along Lakeshore Boulevard as their bedazzled and sweaty bodies glisten with the August sun and heat.

Formerly known as Caribana, the Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival (can you guess who the major sponsor is?) began in 1967 as a way to celebrate Caribbean culture in the adopted homeland of Caribbean immigrants. It has now become a festival that attracts a reported 1 million visitors every year.

Typical Caribbean cuisine is not what I would call vegetarian friendly. With ingredients like ox tail, goat and conch (slimy mollusk flesh) a typical menu can read like a list of zoo members. There are some ingredients, however, that a creative cook can turn into an irie Meatless Monday meal.

  • coconut
    Sweet or savoury, wet or dry, coconut gives a sense of tropical indulgence to any meal. Try a curry with coconut milk or a cake with desiccated coconut. Or how about a tropical ice cream that uses coconut milk and coconut flakes?
  • scotch bonnet
    This is one of the hottest chiles around. Use sparingly to spice up any dish. For less heat, discard the seeds.
  • jerk seasoning
    A seasoning blend oft associated with Jamaica. Can be used as a dry rub or in a marinade. Recipes vary but consistent ingredients are allspice, thyme and pepper. How about some jerk tofu, tempeh or seitan?
  • plaintain
    A starchy banana that is often cooked. Consider it an alternative to a potato side dish e.g. plantain chips, mashed plantain.
  • roti
    A whole wheat Indian flat bread. This is one example of the multicultural influences on Caribbean cuisine. Fill with spiced chickpeas and potato for a complete and filling meal.
  • callaloo
    This refers to the edible leafy greens of taro root (called ‘dasheen‘ locally) or a Trinidad & Tobago stew. If you can’t find callaloo, use spinach instead.
  • rice and peas
    The classic protein combination! Experiment with whole grain rice and different kinds of peas.

One Love Vegetarian
Local eatery in the Annex neighbourhood of Toronto.
On offer: rotis, meals, beverages and desserts.
Our recommendations: the corn soup (featured on the Food Network) and the whole wheat roti filled with seasoned Jamaican pumpkin.

Vegan In The Sun
I keep having chance encounters with this cookbook every time I attend a vegetarian event in Toronto. Maybe one day I will actually buy it.

Plum Bun Bakery
I have always loved a vegetable Jamaican patty and had to stop eating them when I learned lard is used in the dough. This bakery does various vegan versions that they sell at local Farmers’ markets during the summer. Apparently the TVP tastes just like the ground beef version.

Vegetarian Caribbean Recipes
A list of recipes from the Vegetarian Times magazine.

*For the record, ‘wine’ and ‘chip’ are being used here in the context of the dance moves they represent and not the food. *

A Sneak Peek into Kimberley’s Kitchen – Condiments

Photo by Kimberley (c) 2013
Photo by Kimberley (c) 2013

In order from left to right:

Yellow Mustard; Marmite; Apple Cider Vinegar; Pomegranate Molasses; Organic Ketchup

I often muse about my culinary adventures in this blog and allude to certain ingredients. In the spirit of ‘open house‘, I present you with a series of sneak peeks into my kitchen and the ingredients I don’t want to live without. First up: Condiments. I like these 5 ingredients for their taste and versatility. They are great to use in sauces, dips and as taste-changing components in meals.

Yellow Mustard
Although there are different styles of mustard I prefer the old yellow. It doesn’t necessarily have to be organic – I just buy what’s budget-friendly and flavourful. I like to think that I eat enough of the stuff that I’m getting prescription doses of anti-inflammatory turmeric, an ingredient that helps give mustard its characteristic colour. Yellow mustard is great as an accompaniment to roast sweet potato, baked beans and an avocado/tomato sandwich.

Marmite
I first got introduced to this yeast extract when in New Zealand. Apparently the British have their own version of the stuff too. It’s similar to Vegemite™ but I hesitate to make any further comparisons between the two. It seems a matter of patriotic pride to like one or the other but not both! I like to think that incorporating this salty goo in my diet has upped my B vitamin intake. Marmite adds that umami* taste when added to mushrooms, soups and vegetarian gravy.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Is it a tonic, salad dressing staple or just sour apples? Well it can be all three. There are some studies looking into the health benefits of apple cider vinegar on diabetes and obesity. It is also great to use for the acid component in a salad dressing and when added to soups it helps round out all the flavours. Apple cider vinegar is basically fermented apple cider.

Pomegranate Molasses
Scrumpdillyicious! I think this is one of those products for which that word was invented. Pomegranate molasses is a sweet and sour liquid made from concentrated pomegranate juice and sugar. It can be found in Middle Eastern specialty shops and forward-thinking grocery stores. Use pomegranate molasses to make ice/hot tea, salad dressings and dark chocolate truffles!

Organic Ketchup
Tomatoes are part of the dirty dozen and it is therefore recommended that you only consume the organic variety. A good organic tomato ketchup can double for tomato paste in a recipe. Use when making barbecue sauce, veggie burgers and a Moroccan tajine with couscous.

*Umami is the ‘fifth wheel’ when it comes to the distinct tastes popularly recognized by the tongue i.e. sweet, salty, sour, bitter. It is an inexplicable savoury flavour that borders on saltiness. It was identified in 1908 by Tokyo Imperial researcher Kikunae Ikeda and it is through this discovery that MSG was derived.
Glutamic acid or glutamate, which Ikeda believed to be responsible for the umami taste, was used to produce the seasoning monosodium glutamate i.e. MSG.