Sindhi Koki / Loli - Spiced Flatbread

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Loli or Koki, same great flatbread. This recipe is from my late Aunty Viveeta. It's one of the few she passed on to me before she passed away. I have fond memories of our Sunday sessions, sitting down next to her bed with scraps of paper and a pen. As she chatted with my Mom, she would intermittently turn to me and ask me what foods I missed, and would like to know how to cook. This was about that time when we just moved to Florida and the kids asked for some Sindhi food. Back then, most of these regional recipes couldn't be found online. So I was all ears and ever grateful for these sessions. Food, it seems, was our shared passion. And these recipes are a wonderful legacy from her.

After looking at the recipe a few times, I realized it actually looks like a pie crust. The recipe, I mean. Flour, bit of oil, then just enough water to barely hold it together. Also ... flaky, crusty and slightly crispy? Now you see ... it's just like a pie crust.

And so I tried to make it in the processor. And it worked! Less elbow grease only means I'm not put off by the tedious preparation. And as a result, the kids, who loved it immensely, can enjoy it more often knowing that the repetitive kneading won't make their Mom's carpal tunnel syndrome worse. Score!

2 cup atta or wheat flour
1/2 cup spelt flour (Aunty's touch, just use more flour if you don't stock spelt flour)
1/2 cup oat flour (Aunty called it baby oats :)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cracked coriander seeds
1 tsp ajwain (carom seeds)
1/2 tsp anardana (you can use amchoor or sumac)
1/2 red onion or 3 shallots, to make roughly 1/2 cup, minced
3/4 cup fresh coriander leaves, packed, minced
1 serrano chili, minced

4 tbsp olive oil
Enough warm water to pull dough together
Bit of flour to roll out dough
Ghee or oil to panfry

A. Elbow grease method:
1. In a large bowl, combine the flours with salt.
2. To that, add the rest of the ingredients, except the liquids, mixing it all together.
3. Drizzle in the olive oil, rub into the flour with the tip of your fingers.
4. Add warm water, a tablespoon at a time, pulling the dough together.

B. Alternatively, you can do all this in the food processor if you have a dough blade:
1. Place the onion, coriander leaves and the chili in the processor fitted with the cutting blade, and pulse until it looks finely minced.
2. Replace the sharp blade with the dough blade, then add the dry ingredients (negating the use of the flour bowl. Score!)
3. Drizzle in the olive oil, pulsing until it resembles pea sized crumbs.
4. Drizzle in the warm water, pulsing until the dough comes together.

Moving on ...
Do not knead or over mix. It will be slightly sticky, but that's fine because you'll dredge it in a bit of flour before rolling.
5. On a clean countertop, place 1/2 cup of flour in a corner and some on the rolling out zone.
6. Divide the dough into 8, shaping it into a small disc with slightly oiled palms.
7. Coat the disc in flour and roll it out into a circle 2-3mm in thickness.
8. Heat a non stick pan (or a tava if you have) and sprinkle some drops of oil or ghee, waiting for it to sizzle before introducing the loli.
I like to cover the pan, so the steam makes the loli moist, and therefore, softer.
9. When the edges begin to dry and the bottom is cooked, sprinkle a few drops of oil or ghee on the top side before flipping it over to cook completely.
10. Repeat with remaining dough.

Loli keeps up to a day without refrigeration. To reheat, place on the same pan with a few drops of water to moisten. I like to reheat it in the panini press ;)

Enjoy with yogurt, mango chutney and papad!

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