Non (Tajikistani Flat Bread)

Tajikistani Appetizer

NON
(Flat Bread)

INGREDIENTSnon

2¼ cups flour (2 more tablespoons later)
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon sugar
2¼ teaspoons yeast
½ cup water
½ cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (1⅔ tablespoons more later)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons vegetable oil (½ teaspoon at a time)
½ teaspoon black onion seeds, aka nigella stiva
2 teaspoons minced shallot
Enough ice cubes to fill an 8″ casserole bowl or oven-safe pot

SPECIAL UTENSILS

cookie sheet
parchment paper
8″ casserole bowl or oven-safe pot

Makes 4 flat breads. Takes 3½-to-4 hours.

PREPARATION

Add 2¼ cups flour to large mixing bowl. Add salt, sugar, and yeast to separate spots on the sides of the flour. Use fist to make a well in the middle of the flour. Add water to well in flour. Knead all ingredients thoroughly for 5 minutes. Make a well in dough with fist. Add yogurt. Knead thoroughly for 5 minutes. Add a little bit of water, if necessary, to make a sticky dough.

Spread 2 tablespoons vegetable oil on flat surface. Add dough to flat surface. Knead for 10 minutes or until dough becomes smooth. Make dough into ball. Spread 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to sides of large mixing bowl. Put dough ball in mixing bowel. Cover with kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Let dough rise for 1½-to-2 hours or until it doubles in size.

Cover flat surface with parchment paper. Dust parchment paper with 2 tablespoons flour. Add dough to surface. Flatten dough with hands to knock excess air out. Form dough into ball again. Cover with kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Let sit for 30 minutes-to-1 hour or until dough doubles in size a second time.

While dough is doubling in size a second time, put cookie sheet on top rack in oven and heat to 500 degrees. (You really do want the cookie sheet to be hot when you place the dough circles on it.) Divide into 8 balls. Roll balls out until they are 6″ wide circles. Use a fork to make a 4″ circular depression in the middle of each dough circle. Add an equal amount of shallot to each depression. Brush an ½ teaspoon vegetable oil over each dough circle. Sprinkle onion seeds equally over each dough circle.

Remove cookie sheet from oven. Carefully slide dough covered parchment paper onto HOT cookie sheet. (For goodness sake, use oven mitts.) Place cook sheet on upper rack in oven. Add ice cubes to casserole bowl. Place casserole bowl on lower rack in oven. (This will gradually create steam.) Bake at 500 degrees for 7-to-15 minutes or until breads turn golden brown. Serve hot.

TIDBITS

1) “Non” is Tajikistani for “a type of flatbread.”

2) “Non” is also French for “no.”

3) “Non” is English for “not” as in “non-alcoholic beer.”

4) It is easy to see from these three tidbits alone that languages are different.

5) Miming is the same everywhere, though.

6) And hateful. How often have you suffered through a diner trying to mime his order of a cheeseburger, medium-well done, with a toasted sesame-seed bun, Romaine lettuce, not iceberg lettuce, deli-mustard, caramelized onions, and organic, non-GMO ketchup, all topped with a fried egg from an open-pasture egg? I know! All the time. It takes forever.

7) After the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, the leaders of America and Russia stopped miming when talking on the hot line. The nuances of the unseen mimed message proved just too much to pick up for the listener.

8) They still don’t mime even though we can now communicate visually. It’s just too slow. Suppose our president rings up their president to mime, “Oops. Sorry. My bad. Err, there’s no easy way to mime this, but we accidentally launched a nuclear missile at Moscow. Please deploy your anti-missile defenses right away. I’m most dreadfully embarrassed. And how’s the wife and kids?”

9) First of all, miming all that would take twenty-nine minutes, leaving the esteemed Russian ruler only one minute to deploy his defensive shield. If … he had only interpreted the mime correctly. Instead he will understand you to mean, “Sorry, my sperm impregnated your wife. She will be giving birth to aardvark sextuplets.”

10) The Russians will have no time to respond. Moscow will be destroyed. The Russian president will be miffed. A permanent state of coolness will exist between the two leaders, making future summit dinners remarkably uncomfortable, even when the shrimp scampi is excellent.

11) So when you parents tell you, “Why don’t you call me, already?” there’s a reason for it.

 

cookbookhunks

Chef Paul

 

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World,  with 180 wonderful recipes will be available in just a few days. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, is already available on amazon.com

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