Literally translated, roomali means ‘handkerchief’. This is a tender unleavened flatbread from central India. Roomali is tossed in the air like pizza and is so thin that it gently floats down into the baker’s hands.Baked on an inverted dome hotplate almost like an upside down wok, roomali is folded from an 18-inch round to a 3-inch pocket-sized bread. Roomali is usually a plain unleavened bread made with basic ingredients. I have used coriander, my favourite herb, in this recipe. It works well with the heat of the chilli and coarse ground black pepper.This is a great bread which is very versatile and can be used as a good bread for mopping up curries. It is also used to make sandwiches in Mumbai. Makes around 18 roomaliWhite bread flour – 500gAtta flour – 500gSalt – 20gWater – 590gFresh coriander – 100gCoarse ground black pepper – 1gMild chilli powder – 4gPaprika – 6gMelted ghee or butter – 20gMethodPlace all the ingredients (except the coriander) into a mixing bowl and mix on slow speed for two minutes and then fast speed for four minutes.Add the chopped coriander leaf and mix for a further two minutes on slow speed or until the coriander is evenly mixed throughout the dough. Take care not to bleed the coriander into the dough.The coriander stalk is full of flavour and good to add with the leaf. However, it must be chopped very finely to avoid holes forming in the paper thin dough at the pinning stage.Allow the dough to rest in a covered bowl for two hours and then divide into 90g dough pieces and round.Cover and allow ambient resting for a further two hours. At this stage the dough pieces can be placed in the refrigerator and held for up to 48 hours.Although there is no yeast in the recipe the dough still needs time to relax so it can be pinned out very thinly without shrinking back.Before pinning the dough out, invert a large wok over the largest ring of a gas hob. It is also worthwhile rubbing a little oil onto the outside of the wok to avoid the dough sticking. Do this before placing on the heat. You will only need to do this the first time.Next, pin the dough round on a lightly floured work surface until it is paper thin. It should stretch to a 12-inch round.Place onto the wok and bake for about 20 seconds. The dough should show signs of bubbling on the surface.Using a wooden spatula or your hands turn the roomali over and allow to bake for a further 10 seconds.Fold the outer edge over to the centre and immediately repeat with the opposite side. Now you should have a slim rectangular shape. While the roomali is still on the wok start to fold along the length. This usually takes three folds and will leave you with neatly folded square bread that resembles a handkerchief. Baking roomali is rapid and really should not take longer than 45 seconds.They can then be filled to make a tasty wrap or left plain.
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