• Turkish flatbread (bazlama) (Alan Benson)Source: Alan Benson
It feels like the whole world is making bread these days. Which is to say, it's business as usual.
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23 Apr 2020 - 11:27 AM  UPDATED 23 Apr 2020 - 3:17 PM

Right now you can't move on social media without falling over someone's sourdough starter or perfect naan blisters. Everyone we know is busy busting out the bread, showcasing their #bakecorona #comfortfood #isolife. It's little wonder: homemade bread fragrances the air with hope. It brings purpose to our days and gently whispers that everything is going to be okay.

Flatbreads are the winners here. They offer hundreds of years worth of comfort and rhythm. Just about every culture across the world consumes some kind of flatbread as part of their traditional diet. From the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe and the Pacific, flatbreads abound. Fortunately, plenty of them are unleavened, which is good to know when you can't get your hands on a box of yeast for love nor money...

Try one of these flatbreads at your next meal. They work for breakfast, lunch, dinner and the mandatory 27 snack breaks we currently all need to get through the day.

Caribbean: doubles

From the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, this deep-fried flatbread is a Caribbean favourite. It's flavoured with turmeric and is a rare flatbread in that it's made with yeast.  The dough needs only an hour chilling time, though, so it's a single-day option for a delicious lunch with a vegan-friendly chana curry.

Curry goat

This is one of the most iconic Caribbean dishes, right up there next to jerk chicken. If you haven’t tried Caribbean food before, curry goat has to be one of the first on the list. You won’t regret it.

Caribbean-style black bean soup

This is no bland winter soup – enjoy a tropical recipe with a fiery touch.

Thailand: roti

An egg and flour dough come together quickly but pause for a moment. The secret to avoiding leathery roti is to give the dough plenty of resting time. Then you don’t need to work it too much to shape the bread. Serve roti with a saucy Thai dish like green curry, red curry or yellow curry.

Thai green curry

Who doesn't love a good Thai green curry? This recipe is easy to make at home – there's a little cheat with the ready-made curry paste, but use a good brand and the results are delicious. 

Braised lamb shanks in yellow curry

This Thai lamb shank curry is a great dish for a large family feast. In this recipe the shanks are gently braised in a separate pot until tender then added to the rich spiced curry sauce at the end. Serve as part of a shared meal.

Mauritius: farata

Just three ingredients - flour, ghee and sea salt - come together to create these light, flaky flatbreads. The ghee is folded into layers of the dough, creating a memorable buttery flavour. They pair perfectly with Creole dishes like a king prawn rougaille, spicy pickled coleslaw or duck curry.

Dip in
King prawn rougaille

Make sure your flatbread is handy for dipping and scooping.

A yoghurt flatbread

Matthew Evan's yoghurt flatbreads use yeast to create a light and puffy result that need nothing more than a dip in melted butter or olive oil to satisfy. A sneaky favourite is smearing one of these with homemade jam for an afternoon pick-me-up.  

Carrot jam (murrabā-ye havij)

Carrots make an excellent jam and with the addition of lemon, cardamom and rosewater this is perfect for spooning over pancakes and toast or in pies and tarts. 

Blackberry jam

Making jam from the fruit is the perfect way to spread a taste of late summer year round.

Turkey: bazlama

This moreish flatbread has a long fermentation time that gives its distinctive well-developed and slightly sour flavour. It’s perfect for dipping into and sopping up fragrant Middle Eastern stews and dips.

Turkish tabouleh (Hande’s kisir)

Kisir is Turkish tabouleh, traditionally made from burghul, tomatoes, capsicums (peppers) and fresh herbs. Hande Bozdoğan, the lovely founder of the Istanbul Culinary Institute, gave me her version, which is both sweet (from the beetroot) and sour (from the pomegranate molasses and balsamic vinegar). The pomegranate molasses used to dress this salad is very different from pomegranate juice, and far more like a thick vinegar. Do not overlook it because it has a unique sweet–sour flavour.

El Salvador: pupusas

Pupusa is the national dish of El Salvador, a maize flour pancake filled with a variety of flavours like refried beans, pork and cheese. Traditionally the pupusas are used to scoop and soak up salsa and coleslaw.

Mexico: tortilla

Once you bite into your first tortilla, fresh out of the pan, you'll know exactly why you bothered making your own. You can make corn tortillas using masa harina or corn tortilla flour, or just use bread flour and lard to make this version.

Mexican pulled pork tacos (Cochinita)

Juicy, marinated pulled pork on a warm tortilla makes for the perfect Mexican comfort food that's as bright as it is tasty.

Mexican tortilla with chicken and feta

This egg omelette does double-duty as breakfast or dinner. It's the perfect option for those on a reduced-carb intake plan.

Italy: schiacciata

Gluten-free schiacciata

Crunchy, schiacciata is probably the ancestor of the well-known focaccia. It's the ancient bread of Lombardian farmers, keeping for days when they went out to work. Schiacciata can be eaten plain (it's popular with an evening glass of dry white wine) or topped with flavours, much like a pizza.

Schiacciata all’uva (grape focaccia)

This is an Italian bread that’s traditionally made when grapes are harvested for winemaking. It’s like focaccia, only covered with jewel-like grapes. It’s a little bit sweet and a little bit savoury, the perfect bread to eat with a good hunk of firm cheese.

Smoked garlic focaccia

This hearty, simple version of focaccia allies the beloved bulb with homemade veg and supreme balsamic vinegar. 

Armenia: matnakash

A flour wash gives matnakash a deliciously crisp upper crust that contrasts particularly well with its soft, slightly chewy texture. In Armenia, this distinctively patterned oval bread is still a core staple, eaten most days.

Yoghurt, mint and barley soup (spas)

An Armenian classic, this is eaten hot in winter and chilled in summer – the egg prevents the yoghurt curdling. Farro can be used instead of the barley and you can add chopped coriander or parsley at the end for extra herbal zing.

Armenian pearl barley and chicken stew (harissa)

Armenian harissa, also known as keshkeg, and sometimes transliterated as hariseh or herriseh, is similar to a risotto but made with pearl barley instead of rice. You will need to soak the pearl barley overnight.

India: naan

Naan bread is quintessentially Indian, but the country is also home to many other breads.

Naan is traditionally baked in a clay oven, giving them their distinctive burnished exterior and fluffy interior. To get a similar result at home, you can use a combination of baking in the oven and charring over an open flame.

Lamb bhuna

Bhuna is a Punjabi word; it means to reduce down, to caramelise and to cook on high heat. The result is a dish that has a great depth of flavour, and wonderfully tender lamb, too. 

Creamy butter chicken

Butter chicken - pieces of chicken in a rich, creamy sauce - is a quintessential Indian dish. It may just be the most famous Indian recipe, and I’m giving you an easy way to prepare it at home.

Turkey: pide

Perhaps Turkey's most famous flatbread (for there are many), pide is one of the easiest flatbreads to make. The addition of milk and egg to the dough brings a rich creaminess to the final flavour. Pide is another flatbread recipe that uses yeast, but the proving time required is only half-an-hour.

Lamb, silverbeet and feta gözleme

This filled Turkish pastry has become a staple at markets across Sydney and Australia. Made with soft dough rolled out until thin, it is then filled with any number of things, including the ever-popular spinach and feta. Here, we’ve used lamb, silverbeet and feta for a spin on the classic.

Turkish pizza with spicy mince (lahmacun)

This oval-shaped flatbread topped with spicy lamb or beef mince is Turkey’s take on pizza. Originating in the country’s south-east province of Gaziantep, it’s topped with salad or pickles and lemon juice, then rolled up and eaten on the go.

Italy: torta al testo

Torta al testo is a flatbread hailing from Umbria. It was traditionally made without leavening agents, but these days it's typical for a small amount of bicarbonate of soda to be added to the dough. Toppings like salami or prosciutto are served sandwiched between two rounds of this stovetop bread. It also makes a great sponge for any hearty Italian stew.

Spicy chicken stew (pollo alla potentina)

With a tingle of heat from the red hot chillies, and the freshness of lemon, basil and parsley, this is a dish full of flavour. 

Cacciucco (Italian seafood stew)

This hearty and warming Italian seafood stew can be served with crusty sourdough bread or in pie form, depending on the occasion. For celebrated chef Alessandro Pavoni, it recalls memories of his childhood spent with family in the mountains of Italy.

Sweden: polarbröd

This Swedish flatbread is similar to thick pita. It's soft, slightly chewy, has a light rye flavour and makes the perfect sandwich bread to split and fill. Gravlax, dill and crème fraîche is a popular filling choice.

Flygande Jakob (Flying Jacob)

A Swedish creamy chicken and rice casserole... with banana. 

Gravlax (gravet laks)

Gravlax is salmon cold-cured in salt, sugar and dill. It is usually served as a starter or entree, with a dressing and bread.

Lebanon: man’oushe

Man’oushe takes its name from the Arabic word for ‘engraved’ because of the indentations made into the dough with the tips of the fingers. It's a relative newcomer on the Lebanese food scene, but it's quickly become a favourite for breakfast, served with olive oil and zaatar.

Ethiopia: injera

Ethiopian injera flatbread

Injera is a staple for most Ethiopians. The unleavened bread is traditionally made from teff, a tiny round khaki-coloured grain. Teff can be found in some health food stores, but, alternatively, you can use wheat or cornflour.

Ethiopian-style lentil and tomato soup

This not your average lentil soup – Berbere spice mix is what makes it stand out.

Ethiopian red chicken stew (doro wat)

A wat or wet is an Ethiopian red stew that uses the red chilli-spice mix called berbere and spiced ghee called nit’r kibbeh, and begins with a rich onion base. It's best made a day ahead to allow the flavours to intensify. This dish is traditionally served on top of injera bread.

Iran: nan-e barbari

Nan-e barbari is an Iranian wheat-based, leavened flatbread. It's formed into a long oval shape then brushed with roomal, a flour glaze which gives it a crisp golden crust, but keeps it nicely fluffy inside.

Boat smuggler’s fish stew

This is an Iranian version of surf and turf, elevated in true Shane Delia style. This tamarind and pork belly stew with prawn mousse stuffed red mullet is rich, fragrant and beautifully spiced. 

Quail egg kefta

A soft and delicate Persian version of Scotch eggs, braised in a saffron-scented tomato and risoni risotto. The saffron water will continue to develop flavour and colour over a period of seven days, so begin this step up to a week in advance.

Afghanistan: bulani

The very popular bulani are pockets of Afghan bread filled with different vegetable mixtures and fried. Tear the bulani into pieces and dip into homemade plain yoghurt before eating.

Keep it coming
Sweet appam

Made from a batter of fermented rice, coconut and yeast, these traditional Southern Indian pancakes are light and crisp. Although usually savoury, these are a sweet version that is a fun dessert or sweet brunch twist.

Crescentine (pan-cooked flatbread)

When travelling in Italy last year, I asked my friend Laura who lives in Bologna what she thought was the most popular street food where she lived. “Tigelle, without a doubt,” she replied. “We eat them with a little prosciutto or cheese, and a glass of wine.”

Clap-hand roti

Clap-hand roti is great to mop up tasty curries and sauces. Clapping helps release the air pockets and makes these Caribbean flatbreads lovely and light and flaky.

Chapati fried with egg

These super-simple Tanzanian flatbreads are cooked with egg to up the protein and nutrition factors. They taste great, too.

Semolina pancake (Uttapam)

Traditionally, this popular dish from southern India is made with a rice and lentil batter that can be time-consuming to prepare. This bread uttapam, on the other hand, is easy to make and quick to cook, not to mention it tastes delicious.

Thin flatbread (veechu rotti)

Influenced by Middle Eastern traders, these breads are perfect on the side of your favourite curry.

Malawach

It was so special for me to spend the morning with Nava, in her Bondi Beach kitchen, learning the disappearing art of making malawach from scratch. Back in our kitchen the next Monday, we were beside ourselves when our dough stretched to translucent. We rolled and folded it over with buttered hands – as she did – and then burnt our tongues eating the hot, flaky bread straight from the frying pan. ~ Lisa, MMCC 

Muscovado flatbreads (piaya)
Spiced flatbread (methi paratha)

These flatbreads are best eaten immediately.