One of the disadvantages of moving out of London is the lack of variety in the local restaurants. I miss the local Thai (that actually uses proper chilli heat), the Southern Indian food, the Dim Sum and The Persian Restaurants. There are loads of great gastro pubs, but sometimes you just get a craving for a dish with a proper bit of spice in it.
Some of my favourite restaurants were around Bayswater and Edgware road . Maroush, Ranoush, Al Waha, Hafez were the places to go for beautifully cooked meats served with fluffed up rice and pipng hot flatbreads and their accompanying dips. All washed down with the most exotic tasting fruit cocktails.
So, whenever I get a craving for Middle Eastern food, I now have to turn to my cookbooks and get cooking. I love trying out new flavours and techniques, like this recipe for a middle eastern carrot dip. So, I set myself a challenge. Why not try to re-create some of those flatbreads at home and make a delicious dip to go with them.
That is what I have done here, and I have to say I could not believe how good they both tasted. It took me back to all those familiar flavours………
The recipe for the dip is adapted from Claudia Roden’s “New Book of Middle Eastern Food“. In the book it is called “Boiled Carrot Salad”, but seeing as the carrots are blitzed up with the dressing I thought it acceptable to re-name it a dip!
The recipe for the flatbreads comes from “Bread” by Eric Treuille and Ursula Ferrigno. I use this book often because I love the layout of the recipes and the clarity of the instructions. I have not changed the recipe, simply re-created it.
Middle eastern carrot dip
A Middle Eastern carrot do-which makes an ideal starter along with some home-made flatbreads.
- 500 carrots peeled & chopped
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 clove garlic crushed
- salt & pepper
- black olives, sumac, olive oil to garnish
For the flatbreads:
- 500 g strong white flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 300 ml water tepid
- Boil the carrots in salted water until they are very soft (20 minutes approx)
- Drain and put into a food processor with all the other ingredients or mash by hand
- Transfer to a bowl and let the mixture cool
- Before serving add your chosen garnishes
Serve with the home-made flatbreads
For the flatbreads:
- Put the flour in your mixer with the dough hook attached, or in a big bowl if kneading by hand
- Add the yeast, salt, sugar, oil and water
- Knead for 15 minutes. Dough may feel stiff to begin with but it relaxes as you knead
- Put the dough in an oiled bowl and leave to rise for 1 & 1/2 hours until double in size
- Knock back and rest for 10 minutes
- Divide dough into 8 pieces
- Roll out each ball into a thin large circle shape using flour to help you if it is sticking to the worktop
I dry fried my breads in a large heavy based frying pan (on a med-high heat) with brilliant results and cook in under 5 minutes
Keep wrapped in a tea towel to prevent the breads from drying out