Introducing…the Ooto!

Well, I said I was going to invent my own version of a flat bread/pancake along the lines of injera, tortillas, pita, roti, dosas, moo shu etc, etc. And I HAVE DONE IT!! *THUNDERCLAP* I feel like John Cleese in the brontosaurus sketch. This flat bread, which is mine, belongs to me and I made it.

But let’s start at the beginning… I’ve always loved foods you could eat with your hands. Indian, Ethiopian, middle eastern – any cuisine that involves lots of little delicious dishes you mix and match, and eat with a bit of bread that you tear off, or a big piece of bread that you wrap around. It’s the best, most enjoyable way to eat. I’ve made (or tried to make) injera, pita, roti, crepes, etc, with varying levels of success, but it’s never quite as good as you can get at the restaurant. And yet, I’d like to eat this way more often. And so I decided to try to invent a new type of bread of my very own. Here was my criteria… I wanted it to be crispy on the outside, but softer and chewier on the inside. I wanted it to be smoothish on one side, but have crumpet-like holes on the other. I wanted it to hold together well enough to be a useful utensil, but not be too dense. I wanted it to taste good all on its own, but not be too distracting from other tastes on the plate. I wanted it to be fairly easy to make, and not fall apart frustratingly when you tried to cook it. I wanted it to have little toasty patterns on it.

And here is what I came up with. I’m calling it the ooto (it’s an acroynm!) because I like the sound of the word. But I suppose I might reconsider that in days to come. It’s made with semolina flour and regular flour, which gives it a nice taste & texture. It’s got black pepper in it, but no other distracting herbs or spices. Black pepper goes with everything! The first pancake fell apart, but after that it was a breeze to make. Although it did smoke up my kitchen a little, since I used olive oil, which is tasty but does get smoky. And that’s pretty much the news about that. My family liked it. And it tasted good today toasted and crispy – nice with scrambled eggs.

Here’s The Ethiopians with ONE. Why? Because I love it, that’s why! And this post, which is mine, belongs to me!!
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Herbed semolina dumplings

Semolina dumplings

It’s quite a dreary day, today, grey and damp-cold, but not raining. You know what’s perfect on a day like this? Soup and dumplings, that’s what! I like to bake dumplings, so they get a little crispy on the outside, before you surrender them to the depths of your soup or stew. I like that contrast in texture, and the sense of immediacy in eating them before they lose their crispness, and in enjoying their transformation. These dumplings, made with semolina flour and eggs, are crispy outside, but they’re dense and soft on the inside. They’re a lot like Roman gnocchi, as it happens, and you could certainly eat them with a sauce of some sort, rather than dunking them in a soup. They’re quick-as-can-be to make, and you can have them hot out of the oven by the time your soup is warmed up.

Bouillabaisse photographed in the company of a semolina dumpling

Here’s Sam Cooke with Sugar Dumpling.
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