She answered, “As the LORD, your God, lives, I have nothing baked; there is only a handful of flour in my jar and a little oil in my jug.
Just now I was collecting a couple of sticks,to go in and prepare something for myself and my son; when we have eaten it, we shall die.” Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid. Go and do as you propose. But first make me a little cake and bring it to me. (1 Kgs 17: 12-13)
These verses from the book of 1 Kings always intrigue me. To think that this poor widow can make a little cake for Elijah out of just a little flour and oil, and it will hold together, is astounding. The reason she can produce a cake from just oil and flour is, of course, because the flour she used contained gluten. When flour gets wet, gluten forms. This account of the exchange between the widow and the prophet doesn’t mention water, but perhaps the widow had a little water to mix with the oil and flour. Whether this cake is two ingredients (oil and flour) or three ingredient (oil, water, and flour), the gluten that forms when the flour is moistened helped to hold this cake together. To form even an unleavened bread with gluten-free flours made from grains or seeds, something in addition to the flour and liquid is required. I’ve been pondering this Bible verse as I’ve experimented with making rajgira paratha with potato flour (not starch) instead of mashed potatoes.
The reason I’ve experimented with making with just oil and water is that I love naturally gluten-free fasting bread, but I don’t always think ahead to cook the potatoes required for the dough. Aside from the time necessary to cook and mash the potatoes, this unleavened fasting bread is quick to make and cook. Additionally, it can be adapted to complement a variety of main dishes just with just a change in the spices or herbs added to the dough, or even used as the main dish itself. The problem is that rajgira, or fasting bread, uses only amaranth flour so the mashed potatoes act as a binder for the dough. I needed to figure out how much potato flour to use in order for this flat bread dough to have the same flavor (which I like and so want to preserve) as the dough made with mashed potatoes. I also needed to find a binder for the dough that doesn’t change the bread’s flavor or texture too much. By using potato 1/3 potato flour to 2/3 amaranth flour and adding egg as a binder, I finally developed a flat bread dough that maintains the flavor and texture of traditional rajgira without using mashed potato as a binder in the dough. By using egg as a binder, however, I’m pretty sure I can’t call it fasting bread anymore (although it’s still rajgira, or amaranth, bread).
If you like avocado toast (and who doesn’t?), you will love using this variation of avocado toast using amaranth flatbread as the base. As with traditional avocado toast the avocado is mashed. but left unadulterated. The savory deliciousness from the ancho chili, cilantro, and cumin in the bread, and the smoky, peppery olive oil drizzled over the avocado, add enough seasoning that the flavor of the avocado itself – somehow enhanced by these other piquant ingredients – may be left alone. A sprinkling of Malden sea salt flakes adds a pleasant crunchy texture to this amazingly simple, delectable dish.
Gluten-Free Amaranth Bread with Avocado and Smoked Olive Oil
This savory gluten-free amaranth flat bread with avocado, drizzled with smoked olive oil, will make you close your eyes with delight with every bite.
- 250 grams amaranth flour
- 125 grams potato flour (NOT starch)
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
- 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin seed
- 3/4 cup water
- 6 tablespoons butter melted and cooled
- 2 eggs beaten
- 4 avocados
- 6 teaspoons Holy Smoke smoked olive oil
- 6 green onions finely chopped
- Maldon sea salt flakes to taste
- 8 tablespoons Cotija cheese crumbled
Amaranth Flat Bread: Blend together the dry ingredients and chopped cilantro in a medium bowl or in a food processor. Add the water, beaten eggs, and cooled melted butter to the dry ingredients. Using your hands or the food processor, knead the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until the dough forms a ball. Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and allow to rest about thirty minutes.
Place two pieces of waxed paper on your kitchen counter or a table. After the dough has rested, divide it into eight even pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a ball. Using the palm of your hand or a rolling pin flatten each ball of dough into a flat disk, about 1/4 inch thick.
Cook each piece of bread in a slightly oiled non-stick pan over medium heat, cooking both sides of each piece until each side is browned. Remove from heat and cool on a wire rack.
When the bread has cooled, spread each piece with half of a mashed avocado. Drizzle each piece of bread with 3/4 teaspoon of smoked olive oil. Sprinkle the chopped green onion evenly over the olive oil on each piece of bread, then sprinkle each with sea salt flakes to taste. Top each piece of avocado bread with 1 tablespoon of crumbled cotija cheese. Enjoy!