Sometimes we just need us some fried bread. Especially when it’s sesame flatbread. Stuffed with toasty seeds and chives, housed in flaky layers, with an outer crust that shatters and melts in your mouth. Partnered in crime with a compound butter so jacked up on umami it would fail a steroid test or whatever you call it. (Tograshi btw is a fantastical fairy dust with chiles, seaweed and citrus and you will find yourself sprinkling it on your eggs and toast and everything else.)
Flatbreads are such an excellent back-pocket recipe. Simple, easy, fun to make. They can function as breakfast, dinner, lunch, appetizer, midnight snack — you name it — flatbreads are there for you. Hangry? Make flatbread. Farmer gave you fresh duck eggs and you need something carby to celebrate with them? Flatbread. Need to bribe a jailer to let you escape from holding? FLATBREAD.
This dough holds a special snuggly place in my heart because when we lived in the mountains of Guatemala there wasn’t a grocery store in town with bright lights and neatly stacked aisles. That was almost an hour away in the city. Instead there was a wild tangle of a market, full of color and stray dogs and the most fragrant mangoes that I can still taste when I close my eyes.
Lots of incredible fresh produce, but seriously limited in terms of the average pantry. But there was always flour — weighed out and sold in flimsy plastic baggies by old women in traditional garb, eyeing up the only white girl in the market — and oil was found at even the tiniest of tiendas. And so flatbreads became a regular and beloved part of our dinner rotation, topped or stuffed with whatever we had on hand. When I make them now I’m reminded how simple things are oftentimes the best. And that you really don’t need a lot to be happy. Sometimes all you need is flour and oil.
Sesame Flatbread with Tograshi Butter
For the Sesame Flatbread:
- 1.5 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 TB sugar
- 1.5 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp Chinese five-spice
- 1 TB fresh chives minced
- 1 TB white sesame seeds
- 1 TB black sesame seeds
For the Tograshi Butter:
- 1 stick salted butter softened
- 1 tsp tograshi spice
- 1 tsp sesame oil extra for drizzling
- 2 small nori sheets 2"x4" sheets
- oil for pan
- flaky sea salt for topping
- fried eggs for topping, optional
- fresh scallions or chives sliced, for topping
In a mixing bowl, combine flour and salt.
Stir in the sesame seeds, sugar, chives, and 5-spice.
Add oil and mix lightly. Next add warm water in a stream and stir just to combine. Keeping the dough soft and moist and not over-mixed is the best way to flaky flatbread heaven.
Cover with a clean dish towel and let rest for 15 minutes.
While the dough takes a nap whip up the butter: Tear up the nori sheet into bitty pieces, and smash them into the butter with a fork. Stir in the sesame oil and tograshi.
Set aside, keep at room temperature for easy spreading.
Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Plop the dough out onto it and divide into four even lumps.
Roll one ball out into a thin oval about a quarter inch thick.
Examine the oval lengthwise and mentally divide it into thirds. Take one end of the oval and fold it just to the middle, then take the other and fold it over to the other end, overlapping. You might say like folding a towel.(?)
Now you should have a rectangle-ish looking creature that's three layers deep.
Roll out again to a quarter inch thick, trying to keep it rectangular. Slice in half for easy fitting into the pan.
Repeat with all four pieces.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high with a good coat of high smoke point oil (like canola or grapeseed, etc).
When the oil is hot and shimmering fry each flatbread one at a time 2-3 minutes per side. Once out of the pan, finish the tops with sea salt.
Keep warm in oven at 200* if you're worried about them cooling off or need to prepare something else.
(Tip: make sure there's minimal extra flour on the dough, shake it off if necessary, this helps keep the oil clean and and free from burned flour bits that add a bad taste and dirty look).
Serve hot -- topped with fresh scallions/chives and a fried egg (optional), along with the compound butter and tear right into this gluteny goodness.
- Tograshi and nori sheets are at every Asian grocery. Go find your local shop and discover all kinds of wonderful goodies!
- These are so divine eaten fresh but are easily re-crisped up the next day.
- Leftover compound butter should be tossed with noodles for further deliciousness.
- The average person will consume 2-3 of these. When ravenous the average person will consume double that amount.