Happy Easter! As usual, a great discussion yesterday.
Once in a while, I get to work on a recipe that I just know for a fact is going to be great. It’s not often that I feel this way: I’m actually a pretty insecure cook, and I spend about 80% of my cooking (or uncooking) time doubting whether or not the dish I’ve created is any good. When I do feel certain that a recipe is bound to succeed, the cooking process is all the more exciting. And excited is precisely how I felt as I created my curried kabocha squash flatbread, spread it onto a tray, and smelled its sweet and nutty aroma seep into my living room as it baked.
It’s not really surprising that I love this new “bread” recipe. I love all bread, but flatbreads are particularly fun because they’re so versatile. With a little hummus or nut pate, they make a rich and filling snack; with some sliced cucumber or tomato, they make a light one. They also invite open faced sandwiches—”tartines,” as the French would say—and open faced sandwiches have always seemed more fun to me than regular ones (I think it’s because they take longer to eat, and they’re a little prettier than the norm).
And I think it goes without saying that I love kabocha anything; years ago, before I tasted kabocha, I remember reading about other bloggers’ obsessions with it and thinking “how could could squash possibly be?” The answer is really, really, really good. So good that I’ll endure the process of halving it with my cleaver, removing the seeds, cutting it into slices, and roasting it on a weekly basis: that’s a level of work that I extend to few foods!
When this recipe first occurred to me, I hoped to try both a raw and cooked version (sort of like my raw tomato bread, which has an easy oven option). As it turns out, I haven’t quite perfected the raw version (not for lack of trying), but the cooked version is already up to snuff. This is fun news for all of my readers who don’t have dehydrators, and don’t want to feel bad about making bread without one (which they shouldn’t, anyway). I actually loved the crispy, slightly browned taste and texture that cooking gave this flatbread, so I suspect I’ll always alternate between the cooked and raw versions, even when the raw one has been perfected.
No matter what, I know that this recipe is an instant keeper. Any recipe that gets polished off in my single person home within a matter of days is here to stay.
Curried Kabocha Squash and Flax Flatbread (vegan, gluten free, soy free)
Yields 8-10 pieces
1/2 of a small to medium kabocha squash, cut into pieces and roasted or steamed (this should be about 4 even cups — the recipe should work with a bit more or less)
1/3 cup buckwheat flour (I made my own by grinding my buckwheat cereal in a food processor, but you can purchase it, too)
1/3 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1) First, remove skins from the kabocha. I find this much easier to do when the squash is cooked, which is why I did it after I’d roasted the squash (at 350 degrees for 25 minutes). I used a simple paring knife to remove the skin.
2) Place cooked and peeled kabocha pieces in a food processor with the flour, flax, salt, and spices. Pulse a few times to get it incorporated.
3) With the motor running, add the water. You may need a bit more or less; I find that working with flax makes moisture variable, and it’ll also depend on how dry or moist your squash pieces are. In the end, you want a mixture that’s spreadable but feels dense.
4) Spread the "dough" onto a baking sheet lined with parchment, and score it into 8-10 pices (I did 8).
5) Bake at 325 degrees for about 25-30 minutes, or until browning. Remove the bread from the oven, and flip it by cutting it into pieces and flipping them one by one; alternately, if it’s too delicate, you can place another sheet of parchment on top and flip the bread over, so that its underside is now face up on the other parchment sheet.
6) Keep baking till flatbread is crispy on the edges but still soft — about another 10-15 min.
Readers often ask me if my raw breads are more like crackers. The answer is yup, they usually are. But what I love about this sweet and spicy flatbread is that it’s crispy on the ends, but still pliable and soft in the center.
I immediately set about eating my flatbread with some homemade sun-dried hummus – recipe to come in a few days! – and kale salad on top, alongside, and basically everywhere:
Kabocha, hummus, avocado, kale…these are a few of my favorite things.
OK readers, no dehydrator required means no excuses with this flatbread! Give it a try soon. Raw readers, I assure you that I’m putting the finishing touches on my raw spin, so just stay tuned. And if this simply doesn’t appeal at all, why not give my avocado and kabocha sammie a try?
With another batch of this stuff in the oven, my week is already off to a promising start.