Toasted barley flatbread with sesame seeds

barley flatbread

You know who likes these? My son Isaac. He doesn’t like a lot of different flavors, but he gobbled these up and asked for more. As you might recall, I bought some Machica a few weeks ago, in my super bodega travels. Machica is a toasted barley flour, and mine is from Ecuador. I did a bit of research into recipes that call for toasted barley flour. I read about some rolls served in an ecuadorian restaurant, which sounded intriguing. But most of the recipes I came across were actually Tibetan, for a sesame-crusted flatbread that sounded delicious! This is my vague interpretation of that idea. Baked toasted barley has a lovely flavor – slightly sweet, distinctive but subtle. I have to be honest, and tell you that my flatbread became crisp bread, because I left it in the oven to keep warm after it was fully cooked, and it cooked further till it was more cracker-y than bread-y. Tasty, though! I could almost pretend that I’d done it on purpose. The other thing I might say, is that my sesame seeds (I used black, because I had them and they looked nice, but you could use white as well) fell off and, somehow, I got them all over my kitchen. If I were to make this again (which I will!) I’d knead them right into the dough. Yes I would.

Here’s Freddie Hubbard with Open Sesame.
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Spicy machica cocoa baked pudding

baked pudding

The other week I bought some machica at the Super Tropical Food Market. I’ve been thinking about what to do with it ever since. What is machica, you ask? Well, it’s toasted barley flour. The machica that I bought is from Ecuador, and according to my extensive research, when it’s at home it’s used to thicken hot drinks. I saw several recipes for machica hot chocolate, that sounded very nice. And then I was browsing through Mrs. Beeton’s Everyday Cooking. (There’s such strange stuff in there! So matter-of-factly presented! It’s irresistible.) She has a recipe for baked puddings made with very finely ground grains! Including barley! The idea of combining Ecuadorian machica and a recipe of Mrs Beetons seemed like the best kind of fusion cooking, so I gave it a go. I decided to flavor it with dark cocoa powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I didn’t want to overwhelm the subtle flavor of toasted barley, but I thought it might be pleasant to fashion it after spiced cocoa thickened with Machica. The resulting pudding was very tasty. The texture is comforting, and it has a nice balance of tastes, with the toasted barley-flavor subtle but distinct.

Here’s Miles Davis with Tasty Pudding.
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