Monday, July 16, 2012

hongkonggourmet's Easiest Bread in the World Without An Oven or, 'Never Buy Naan Bread Again'

I met Lucy several years ago when we did the same psychotherapy diploma course together and we've been facebook friends ever since.

She is a very interesting, wordly (I just typed 'wordy' by mistake, sorry Lucy!) woman with a wicked sense of humour. When we met she had just come back from living in Morocco and now she is based in Hong Kong. However, as her hilarious tales from many different countries reveal, she has the sort of globetrotting existence many can only dream of and has lived everywhere in the world at one point or another (probably).

When I saw she had started a food blog called hongkonggourmet I was excited as her writing is hugely entertaining and the good lord knows I love looking at pictures of food on the internet.

A vegetarian who cooks meat, Lucy blogs about her life as well as including a delicious sounding recipe at the end of each post. My personal highlights include the tale of herself and her husband being accused of Chechen terrorism in Uzbekistan,  
"I thought we made very unconvincing Chechens – most Chechens are small and swarthy, and at the very least, would be able to speak some Central Asian language. But perhaps that was the point – we were hiding -in -plain -sight, super criminals. Not two tall, pasty tourists, holding an oversized bag of grapes and waiting for a train." 
..and her method of getting away from the tedious British ex-pat circuit in Beijing,
"I got around that problem by finding new places to go out, where I wouldn’t bump into the whole of the British Embassy visa section, the expat football team and all of the Hash House Harriers. I managed to do this by being mistaken for a Siberian prostitute..... Because I am blonde and tall and have the sort of bone structure normally found in a socialist country, I used to get propositioned a lot if I found myself in the wrong part of town. I didn’t mind, apart from the fact that I was never offered very much money."
I wanted to try out one of Lucy's recipes because I love her blog, but my other problem is that I have very little time to cook properly these days because of the baby (excuses, excuses..) so I hadn't got around to it yet. However, yesterday I found myself in the exact situation Lucy describes at the beginning of this post, apart from the Hong Kong and Cath Kidston part (the monsoon rain part is correct):  
It’s Sunday. You have run out of bread. The 7/11 only sells that revolting, plastic stuff, and anyway, even if they stocked organic, stoneground rye, harvested and baked by fairtrade workers with soft hands, it would still be too far to walk in the monsoon rain for. You don’t have a bread machine, as you aren’t actually Cath Kidston. Come to think of it, you don’t have an oven either, because not that many people in Hong Kong do. You could eat rice instead – but rice just isn’t going to do the business bread does. What do you do?
Well, I decided to make Lucy's Witchcraft Flatbreads for lunch, and they were so fast, easy and tasty, I am dedicating an entire blog post to them and their delicious, soft breadiness.

The baby devoured them and I had mine with gryuere cheese whilst smugly congratulating myself on the fact that I would never buy naan bread again (I do like to save money). Seriously, I command you to make these, they are delicious and I might make them again tonight to go with some kind of chicken curry that I haven't really thought through properly yet:

hongkonggourmet's Witchcraft Flatbreads
(for a better description of the process you'd better go straight to Lucy's blog but here is what I did:)

Making these is probably quicker than trudging to Budgens in the rain for plastiky bread, and you only need a few ingredients, all of which I had in the house but then I am the type to eat plain yoghurt straight from the tub.

- 250g Self-raising Flour
- 250g Plain Yoghurt
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder.
- Whatever you want to flavour them with, I used sea salt and rosemary but you could almost literally use anything.
- Sea salt (add after if you have a baby)

Mix ingredients together in a bowl apart from flavouring.... How patronising is this photo? Sorry.

Make into flat shapes, sprinkle with your chosen flavouring and fry in a pan in olive oil on a fairly high heat but not too high or they will burn. Don't do what I did here, I used too much oil and made them too thick, make the dough really thin and fry one at a time over the base of the whole pan. Luckily the dough makes 4 flatbreads so I had a second chance..

After a couple of minutes on each side the flatbreads are done, and as you can see from this photo the consistency is just perfect, incredibly soft and delicious. Oh my god I want to eat one now.

Here is my second, far more successful attempt with the rest of the dough, less oil and thinner flatbreads. They turned out amazingly, I put salt (no salt on the baby's one) on them and ate them all up as fast as I could.

No really, don't thank me, it's my pleasure.


  1. Thank you so much, Eleanor. I love the photos and you have exactly the same metal bowl I do. Perfect for the job. Am so happy you enjoyed making them and especially that they found favour with the baby. I think you could eat them with no teeth at all (although he prob has teeth now - he looks terribly grown up!) and just slobber on them a bit like a fly.

    Agree entirely about the ludicrous cost of naan breads - much more fun to make them yourself. And thank you for your kind words about my blog too. V glad it amuses you. May I pop a link to your blog on the flatbread page, so people can have a look at the before and after pics? I am so terrible at photography it is a pleasure to see it done properly. Thanks again and keep up your good work - I love reading your posts and looking at your artwork. XX

    1. Of course you can! It was a pleasure, I will cook something else from your blog soon, I love it!x

  2. I just made these for lunch with some tzatziki I had languishing in the fridge. I was too lazy to go to the shop for pitta bread so made these. Amazing! Very impressed how easy and tasty they were. Thank you!


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