Multigrain, Roasted, Spiced Flatbread
Makes 5-6 thalipeeth, 5” round
This delicious flatbread is made all over the western coast of India, but especially in Maharashtra and Karnataka. It is made from a Bhajanee- a combination of ground and lightly roasted flours. The grains used can vary a great deal - chick pea, tapioca, wheat, millets, oats and rice.
We made our own combination which allows you to vary the flavor and density of the final product.
My grandmother used combination of jowar (sorghum), bajra (pearl millet), rice and semolina, it has a wonderful texture and tastes delicious with white butter and Lasnachi (garlic and chilli) chutney. Millet flours can be found at any Indian grocery.
Some recipes require gram flour but I find it makes the thalipeeth too dense.
The dough is flattened on to pieces of banana leaf. These come in uneven sizes so you may need to adjust the number you need. Always buy an extra one, in case you accidentally tear one.
Thalipeeth can be prepared large, but I find it’s easier to manage a 5”- 6” disc of dough on smaller pieces of banana leaf. Use a flat griddle or non-stick pan if you don’t have a tawa and always cook it on low heat.
This recipe calls for rice semolina but you can also use wholewheat flour.
2 1/2 cups rice flour
1 tablespoon pearl millet or bajra flour
1/2 cup sorghum or jowar flour
5 tbsp fine rice semolina or rava/sooji
2 tsp salt plus more if required
1/4 cup milk or water
1 tsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp melted ghee, margarine or vegetable oil + more for cooking
1.25 tbsp powdered, roasted cumin seeds
2 green banana leaves in good shape, about 18” long
200 grams white onions, finely chopped (replace with 1/2 teaspoon each roasted and ground coriander and cumin powder if its a high holiday
4 Indian green chillies, finely chopped
1 tbsp peeled, very finely chopped fresh ginger root (optional)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
more water for binding
Roast the flours and semolina in a non stick pan on medium heat for 4-5 minutes until fragrant.
Stir in the semolina, cumin, coriander powders and salt into the flours. Add the ghee or margarine and the onions (omit if for a high holiday) and add extra cumin and powdered coriander. Roast 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Switch off flame and cool.
Add green chillies, coriander leaves and ginger.
Warm the milk or water with the sugar in a pan.
Using your fingertips mix the warm liquid into the mixed flours to form breadcrumbs. Add more water, a little at a time to get a firm and pliable dough. Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes in a cool place.
Break of a tiny little piece, the size of a peanut. Flatten and lightly cook in a pan. Taste for salt.
If you like more salt knead extra into your dough.
Wash and wipe the banana leaves very gently. Use a pair of sharp scissors to cut 8 rough squares about 7”- 8” along the both edges of the thick stem. The leaves should be slightly smaller than your griddle. Turn the ridged end of each leaf over so that the smoother side faces upwards. Place them one on top of the other. Reserve.
Divide the dough into 8 equal-sized balls.
Spread a banana leaf piece on a dry, clean surface. Brush with a little ghee or oil.
Flatten a piece of dough in the centre of the banana leaf. With your fingertips and palm press downwards and outwards to form a thin, round, flat bread about 1/5” thick. Use a fork to dot the bread with holes. This will prevent the dough from puffing up.
Put a smooth griddle or large skillet on low heat. Pick up the dough with the banana leaf and invert it on to the griddle, so that the leaf is on top and the dough on the griddle.
After 3-5 minutes of cooking, when the bread is beginning to dry, the steam will separate the leaf from the dough and you can peel it off quite easily. Thalipeet cooks slowly and requires patience. If you try to speed up the process by increasing the flame you will have a flatbread thats brown outside and raw inside.
Cook both sides slowly, till dry and only very lightly brown. Once evenly light brown, spoon small amounts of ghee on both sides and cook till it turns a golden brown. Do not over cook or the bread will harden.
Serve immediately with white butter and garlic chutney or plain yogurt.