When I think of the Middle East meat balls are some thing that comes to my mind. Of course there is hummus, baklava, baba ganoush, olives and many more, meat balls is sure one of them.
Last month when we, #cookingwithfriends were discussing a theme for this month,there were literally a lot of ideas pouring in. After a little agreement and dis agreement, we decided to go with middle eastern food for this month’s theme. The moment we decided middle eastern theme, first thing that came to my mind is the meat balls and pita bread along with hummus.
As I have already posted a few hummus recipes, like carrot hummus, beetroot hummus, hummus without tahini, I decided not to do one more hummus this time. Also we at home do not eat or cook much of mutton/lamb I decided this would be a perfect opportunity for me to cook some lamb at home also also bring in the middle eastern flavors home.
There is something very familiar with middle eastern dishes. There is something about the scented heat of the spices that intensifies the tender sweetness of the lamb. You dont have to do more to the meat, just mix spices and other ingredients and cook it. If you are a meat lover this is such a reward to eat.
On top of that, the earthy fragrance, as you cook, gives you all the effects of being in a high-end middle eastern restaurant, without the added expense.
Making pita bread at home was such a fun task. fresh pitas are *so much* better than the ones you buy in the store that they’re almost not the same thing. Like Wonder Bread versus fresh baguette.:D
This is such a simple yet delicious recipe! I’ve been looking for a great pita recipe for a long time now and when Simi Jois from TurmericnSpices posted fluffy gorgeous looking pita bread I had instantly bookmarked it to be tried later. And when the perfect time to make pita bread was here, I simply followed the recipe and was amazed to see how beautifully my pita bread rose! They were simply gorgeous! Looks like I’ll have to make a few batches of pita bread now more often as it has definitely become my family favorite!
I have used APF(All purpose flour) in making my pita, but if you are looking at healthier version like whole wheat flour pita, then be prepared for it as you might not get the exact same results. 100% whole wheat will give you a denser pita, but it should still work. Don’t expect as much of a rise from the dough – just let it rest for at least an hour. You could also try half white and half whole wheat flour.
Here’s the recipe for pita bread –
Recipe source – for Pita Bread – Turmericnspices
All purpose flour – 3 cups + extra
Instant Yeast – 1 tablespoon
Luke warm water – 1 1/4 cup
Sugar – 1 teaspoon
Salt – 1 teaspoon
Olive oil – 2 teaspoon
1. Take Luke warm water in a bowl, add sugar and yeast into luke warm water and mix well. Leave it for 10 minutes until the mixture froths up. If it does not froth, discard the mixture and start again.
2. In another bowl, add flour and salt, mix. Make a well at the center, pour in the yeast mix and knead into a soft, smooth dough. You can do this by hand or in your stand mixer.
3. Transfer the dough to a clean surface, dust little flour and knead for few minutes by stretching the dough and then folding it back until the dough is the dough is smooth and elastic.
4. Make a ball , and transfer to the same bowl in which you started, grease the bowl and the dough with olive oil and cover it with damp cloth and leave it to prove for 1 hours or until the size of the dough has doubled the volume.
5. After the dough has risen to double the volume, Punch the dough and knead it roughly once again. Divide the dough into equal sized portions(I made 7 equal portions).
6. Shape the dough into round shapes and lightly cover the dough with flour so they dont stick to gather. Let it sit for about 10 – 15 minutes.
7. Now roll the dough into disc. Keep the same thickness for all the portions of the dough. Keep the rolled disc on lightly floured surface and this again will be rested for 30-40 minutes or until it rises and becomes fluffy a bit again.
8. Pre heat the oven to 210 Centi. Very gently flip the disc to a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Make sure to keep the side the disc was resting facing top.
9. Another trick I learnt that really helped in getting a fluffy pita is to sprit water on the surface so they are mildly wet and helps in rising the pita.
10. Bake in pre heated oven for about 10 minutes turning the tray around once or twice to ensure pita is evenly cooked. Bake until you see the surface of pita lightly browned and they have puffed.
11. It is important to note that you will Make sure you flip the disc on baking tray so the side that was resting on the counter is now facing up. Spritz with water, so surface is mildly wet. This will ensure pita to rise and brown evenly.
I served these pita as pita pockets stuffed with middle eastern meat balls and mint garlic yogurt sauce. It was delicious!
This dish is a great party appetizers. You can make pita bread a day ahead. Pita bread stay good for 4-5 days refrigerated.
Like I mentioned above, this blog post is part of the monthly “Cooking With Friends” themed blog post challenge. This challenge was started by a bunch of virtual friends united by their love of food, with the aim of tackling a different food related theme each month. If you want to try this month’s theme, please feel free to do so and link your recipe in the comments section. We’d love to check it out.
Meanwhile, check out what the others in the group have come up with this month.
August 2015: Asian cooking – Korean Vegetarian Quinoa Bibimbap
July 2015: Cooking with Tea – Tea Smoked Shrimp Salad
June 2015:No Bake Dessert- Chocolate dessert cups made using ballons
May 2015: Cooking with a new-to-you produce -Teriyaki Bok-choy chicken with rice
April 2015: Frozen Treat – Toddy Palm Seeds Ice Cream
March 2015: Beverages/Cocktails – Non-Alcoholic Sangria