Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Onion and coconut flatbreads

Thinking of the tragic deluge currently destroying huge swathes of Queensland makes me think of a couple of truly fantastic friends over there, who thankfully are not in any immediate danger but still suffering all the same, takes me oddly to Sri Lanka with Michelle (from the beautiful Yeppoon; you see, it makes sense eventually) and one of the best foreign sorties I think I've ever had.

The food over there is so remarkable in its simplicity, and I struggle to remember where I have ever had dishes with such impact through less fuss. In Sri Lanka, there is naturally a heavy use of coconut oil in their cooking and I am pretty sure there is a tendancy to throw some of the oil into their flatbreads too. You can often find coconut oil in health food stores or in good ethnic groceries. If not, you can substitute it with coconut cream instead. One thing which has always fascinated me is that even the most primitive of kitchens there have some sort of a food processor - this is needed for this recipe to get the right blend of onions, no lumps needed!

Here's me doing mine the other night in a chilly Washington, and below is the master at work last time I was in Sri Lanka.

1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
200ml water
400g strong flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp fine sea salt
50ml coconut oil (or coconut cream)
Vegetable oil, for frying

Place the onion and water in a blender and purée.

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the onion and the coconut oil. Stir the mixture with a butter knife until the dough comes together. (Add a little extra water, a tablespoon at a time, if the mixture seems too dry.)

Place the dough on to a floured board and knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rest for 20 minutes.

Divide the dough into eight 50g pieces and shape into round balls. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into thin circles and cover with a sheet of baking parchment.

Heat a non stick frying pan over medium heat. One at a time, fry the dough for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown at the edges. Drain on kitchen paper and cover immediately with a clean towel. Repeat, cooking the rest of the dough. Serve warm, preferably with a fragrant chicken curry with plenty chilli bite.


  1. Great recipe, never used coconut oil I don't think!

  2. Blogs bloomin grand ,this is my annual request for video! Also in the Spring can you cook up some fern?(The place where I picked you up in Brisbane will be well under water by now!)We are on the hill and just fine.

  3. Here you go. Video time!!


  4. Actually probably better here... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5D_OqA3pQU&feature=player_embedded#!