East Indian Griddle - Tava
Tava or Tawah
Is a basic flat cooking utensil used to cook flat breads, on a stove or in a fire, similar to what we know as a griddle. The more they are used the better the cooking. A tava can and is made from several different metals, such as cast iron, tin or aluminum.
It is also used to cook meat, like a frying pan or skillet, in different regions.
East Indian and West Indian Cuisine
Depending on where you go in the Caribbean you will find similar recipes to those in India and other Eastern countries. Of course with variations that are indigenous to that island.
That's how i know about Roti, an East Indian flat bread cooked by a West Indian woman in the Bahamas. I love Roti. My favorite version is made with ground split peas and some herbs. So it tends to be savory and can be eaten on it's own without a stew or more likely a curry.
In the Bahamas we eat it like a burrito. The Roti is stuffed with curried meats and vegetables, slightly wet and oh so delicious.
The most basic recipe for Roti is flour and water, an unleavened bread usually round in shape and flat, really thin. The size depends on whose cooking, or the size of the tava being used. The taste which is usually bland or subtle, is a compliment to the more savory dishes that it is served with at various meals.
There is nothing complicated about flat breads, but they are a great addition to any meal that consists of stews or foods cooked in a sauce, their own juices. They are used to, 'sop up', the liquid or as a eating utensil.
I personally don't care how it's used, flat bread especially the East Indian types are more than welcomed at my favorite meals, especially curry!
East Indian flat bread
- a staple with every meal
- cooked fresh
- quick breads
- basic simple recipe
- can be a complicated version
- Aloo, mashed potates
- Dahl Puri has split peas
- ghee, clarified butter
- spices, chili powder, curry powder,
- seasoned oils, olive, sesame
- drain the filling, scoop out the solid pieces with a slooted spoon
- place in middle or slightly off center
- fold sides over, tucking in the edges like an envelope
- turn over so smooth side faces up and seam sides are down or underneath
- you can wrap in wax paper or foil for portability
- salt, optional
- rolling pin
- tava or flat skillet
What to do
- mix together all the ingredients,
- create a well or opening in the center of flour, pour in water a little at a time, mixing until all dry ingredients are moist and sticks together but not overly sticky or wet
- pulling large rested dough apart form balls
- roll out flat
- dip in flour
- roll out in circle
place on hot Tava
- brown sides both sides
- allow to bubble, then puff up
- smother with ghee, clarified butter
How to Cook
Flat breads are typically cooked on a Tava or Tawah or a similar type of griddle or even skillets if necessary. High heat is best when cooking flat breads.
- a little oil
- very hot
Characteristics of a Tava
- low to no sides
- without or with a handle
- 8 inches to 12 inches
Cleaning, care and storage, is important when keeping any cooking utensil in your kitchen, the Tava is no exception. It should be washed with lukewarm water and a small amount of detergent, do not scour, then dried and oiled, then stored in a dry, cool place.
They are an indispensable cooking utensil especially if you don't want to use the oven, with varied purposes.
It's simplicity makes it under rated!
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