In Kerala, there is a kind of flatbread so delicate and light like a tranquil white silk called “Pathiri”. The white, round smoothness so thin that almost see-through oozing the hot fumes on the soft surfaces. These fragile flatbreads are made with rice flour and hot water kneaded until smooth and skillfully rolled into thin sheets that could melt off anytime.
Rice flour flatbreads are the good companion of creamy coconut base stew and spicy South Indian dishes. The refine texture of Pathiri sops up the luscious curry lava so perfectly. It melts in the mouth like cotton candy.
I learned to make Pathiri from my mother-in-law whose expert hands move through the dough like a swirl of air. She made the most slim, satiny rice flatbreads that almost felt like a gentle rose petals. The stacks of Pathiri often stood tall in the middle of the table surrounded by the purling aromas of chicken curry at the moment of the last rays of sunlight fell behind the horizon of the fasting season. Such care and love composed the exquisite delicacy from the simplest ingredient.
The process of making the fine thin Pathiri started from the boiling pot of water with a sprinkle of salt. As soon as the water was boiling, rice flour was added directly into the hot bubbles. The flour would instantly cook and clotted into coarsely lumps by the hustling stirs.
Once the rough crumbs cool down, I knead the dough patiently until smooth. The dough should be firm and manageable.
Rolling flatbread into thin, perfect circle sheet was an out of reach target. What I could do, at lease, was making them thin and together.
Pathiri cooked really fast over the medium heat. They needed to be dry roast in the pan less than a minute each side. The heat caused the hot air inside the bread to rise. The thin Pathiri fluffed up like a balloon, later flatted down with the steamy heat seeping out everywhere.
It is time to bring out your favourite curry and scoop up the creamy spiciness by the clean, soft Pathiri. Let the flavour and juice plunge inside the thin layer and devour it until last bite.
Pathiri- Rice Flour Flatbread
Ingredients (make 15 flatbreads)
3 cup rice flour
More rice flour for dusting and rolling
1 1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
- Boil water with salt. Add flour, stir to form rough clumps, and cover it for 5 minutes. Let it cool down until manageable by hands.
- Pile the lumps of flour together and knead until smooth.
- Divide the dough into 15 parts and roll each part into thin circle sheet.
- Heat the skillet over the medium heat. Roast flatbreads until puffed up and cooked thoroughly. Serve hot with some curry or spicy meat.
Have a beautiful days,