What do you talk to a friend who is an army dude ensconced thousands of miles away in the mountains of northern India. Well, since most topics are ‘classified’ – if you are a couple of foodies albeit one a steak-lover and the other a vegetarian – and the vegetarian is a mom who is on a constant quest for new, fun and safe things for her boy – you talk ‘food’! One such discussion led to him telling me about the many delicious recipes made using water chestnut flour (not to be confused with chestnut which is a tree nut and an absolute no-no for those with a tree-nut allergy!). This flour has been found to be naturally gluten-free and there is no recorded incidence of allergy to this flour. In India it is also referred to as ‘singoda flour’ and is available in most South Asian grocery stores. It is used extensively in parts of western and eastern India to make pudding, desserts, tortillas, fritters and more. It is also used in other Asian countries as a thickener and to dredge food before frying.
Starting off my series on Water chestnut flour based delicacies with a dish that my friend, Ashwin swears by – Tortillas or ‘parathas’ as they are referred to in large parts of India. This was my first time eating it and in one word…’abso-delish-azing’. Loved the rustic, country feel of this unleavened bread…
Gluten-free and Allergy Friendly Water Chestnut Flour Tortillas
- Water chestnut flour/ Singoda flour: 1 cup
- Water” Approx. 1/3 cup
- Finely chopped cilantro: 1 tbsp. (optional)
- Serrano chili (finely chopped): 1 (optional)
- Salt to taste
- Oil: 5-6 tsp
- Mix the flour, salt, cilantro and chilies in a wide vessel.
- Add the water slowly and bring the flour together to form a pliable dough. It should not stick to the hand.
- Divide it into 6 equal sized balls. In a plate add 1 tbsp of any allergy friendly flour like rice flour or water chestnut flour and roll the balls gently on them till it is coated all over.
- Take an 8″ long Saran wrap and lay it flat on a marble board. Place one ball lightly dusted ball in the center and press it down lightly using the edges of your fingers. Place another 8″ long saran wrap atop the ball.
- With a rolling pin start rolling the ball into a 6″ – 7″ circle.
- Meanwhile heat a cast-iron or non-stick pan on low to medium flame.
- Gently peel back the top Saran wrap from the rolled out tortilla.
- Now slowly transfer the tortilla with exposed part of the tortilla resting to the palm of your hand. Now peel back the wrap from the bottom and place it in the center of the heated pan.
- Cook on each side for a couple of minutes or till it turns a golden brown with brown spots on them. Use about 1 tsp of oil to coat both sides of the tortilla.
- Serve immediately as-is or with a chutney of your choice.
- Add 1/4 cup of mixed vegetables like finely chopped spinach, onions, grated carrots.
- Mash in 1 small boiled potato to help the dough hold together even better.
P.S: Technically, one could be allergic to anything so use caution before trying out any new ingredient by talking to your allergist and/or starting off in small quantities.