Cook’s Corner

Zucchini flatbread marries Indian flavor with American convenience

 <span class="cutline_leadin">Cripy and puffy: </span>Zucchini adds a depth of flavor to this quick Indian flatbread.
Cripy and puffy: Zucchini adds a depth of flavor to this quick Indian flatbread.
Hippocrene Books

Side dish

Zucchini, Lemon Thyme and Onion Parathas (Flatbreads)

1 large green zucchini

2 tablespoons fresh lemon thyme leaves (see note)

2 3/4 cups atta (Indian whole wheat flour; see note)

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for pan-frying

1 teaspoon salt

1 red onion, very finely chopped

Cut the top off the zucchini and cut into wedges. Place in a food processor with the lemon thyme and purée until smooth. Place 2 cups of the flour in a mixing bowl and add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the salt and mix well. Add in the chopped onion and mix well (the dough will be lumpy and dry). Gradually work in the pureed zucchini until you have a dough that is smooth and well mixed. You might need to add a little water to get it to bind, but you want a dough that is a little dry since as the dough rests it becomes moister as the zucchini releases water. Let the dough rest, covered, for about 2 hours.

Work in the additional flour to make the dough pliable and relatively smooth to touch. It should be springy but not sticky. Break off 15 small, lime-size balls of the dough and roll into circles about 6 inches in diameter on a floured surface. As you begin rolling out the first circle, place a skillet over medium-high heat. It is important to have a well-heated skillet for the purpose of making Indian breads. Place one of the dough circles on the heated skillet and cook for a couple of minutes on each side; the bread should dry out and get evenly coated with little brown spots. Brush on a little oil, spreading evenly with a teaspoon. Turn the bread over and allow to puff up a little. Spread a little oil on the other side and turn over and crisp on that side. Cook till a little crisp on both sides and then remove and place on a plate. Continue cooking all the dough circles in this manner. Makes 15 individual-size flatbreads. The dough, as well as the cooked flatbreads, freezes extremely well.

Note: Atta is a coarse, high-gluten durum wheat flour of India, and can be found in ethnic markets. If you can’t find atta, you can substitute a blend of 1/2 white flour and 1/2 whole wheat flour, preferably stone-ground. I found lemon thyme potted at my garden center but if you can’t find it substitute whatever fresh thyme you can find and add a teaspoon or so of fine lemon zest to the zucchini puree.

Per serving: 96 calories (21 percent from fat), 2.4 g fat (0.4 g saturated, 1.4 g monounsaturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 3 g protein, 17 g carbohydrate, 2.6 g fiber, 157 mg sodium.

Source: “Spices & Seasons” by Rinku Bhattacharya ( $35, Hippocrene).


3-Minute Microwave Fudge

1 pound semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups miniature marshmallows

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, walnuts or hazelnuts

Line an 8-inch square pan with foil. Place the chocolate and the sweetened condensed milk in a 1-quart microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 90 seconds. Stir with a spatula, scraping down sides. Return to microwave and cook on high 60 to 90 seconds longer, until chocolate is almost completely melted. Stir until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the vanilla, then fold in the marshmallows and nuts, mixing until thoroughly incorporated. Pour into the prepared pan and use spatula to evenly spread to sides. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. Use the foil to lift from pan, peel away, then cut into squares. Makes about 2 1/2 pounds, or 64 1-inch pieces.

Per serving: 73 calories (47 percent from fat), 4.1 g fat (1.8 g saturated, 0.9 g monounsaturated), 2.2 mg cholesterol, 1.2 g protein, 9 g carbohydrate, 0.7 g fiber, 10 mg sodium.

Source: Adapted by Linda Cicero from a recipe by reader Grace White.


Spicy Mango-Seville Orange Vinaigrette

1 cup mango pulp

1/4 cup sugar

4 garlic cloves

1/2 Scotch bonnet pepper, seeded

4 tablespoons vinegar

1/3 cup Seville orange juice

1/4 teaspoon cumin

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper

Salt to taste

Purée mango in food processor until very smooth, then strain well. Discard strings or solid material left in strainer. Put strained mango purée in a small saucepan, then add sugar; mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook, stirring, until mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature, and put in food processor with garlic, Scotch bonnet pepper, vinegar and orange juice. Blend well. Pour into a small bowl and mix with the remaining ingredients. Add salt to taste. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Per serving: 16 calories, (39 percent from fat), 0 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 g protein, 3.9 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 1 mg sodium.

If your zucchini has turned zealous in the garden, here’s a wonderfully different way to use the bounty: A zucchini flatbread that surprised me with how easy it was to make.

It is from Rinku Bhattacharya’s Spices & Seasons: Simple, Sustainable Indian Flavors ( $35, Hippocrene). Rinku, a blogger and newspaper columnist in Westchester, N.Y., takes a real-life approach to cooking seasonally and sustainably for a healthier and greener lifestyle.

I like her cookbook because it marries Indian flavor with American convenience. This flatbread is a perfect example — not time-consuming, pretty easy to pull off, yet full of flavor. The crispy flatbreads are excellent with a salad or cold soup supper, or with a hummus or other dip.

Reader request: vinaigrette

Q. Long, long ago I clipped a recipe from the Herald for a spicy hot mango salad dressing. I’ve lost the recipe, and I have some gorgeous mangoes just asking to be used that way. I loved dousing it over slices of cold chicken on a salad or to marinate shrimp.

Yvonne Shreve

A. The recipe dates to 1994, and was created to splash on a salad made with black beans and rice by Maricel Presilla for Victor’s Café.

When Seville oranges are hard to come by I’ve simply settled for sour oranges, or for a mix of 2 parts orange juice to 1 part lemon or lime juice.

Quick Takes

Don’t want to stir over a hot stove in the summer heat? Need a quick chocolate fix? This quick microwave fudge recipe scores on all counts. I adapted it from a recipe from reader Grace White, who in turn said it was passed around at a book club meeting in Miami Shores.

Sleuth’s Corner

Q. My neighbor and friend used to live in Montgomery, Ala., and frequented the Elite restaurant. She loved their food, especially their version of Oysters Rockefeller. She had the recipe, but in the years since has misplaced it. Can you help?

Geraldine Amy, Plantation

A. Alas the Elite (pronounced Eee-Light), once the premier place to see and be seen in Montgomery, with a long history going back to 1911, closed decades ago. But we will hope the recipe survives in someone’s card file, and they’ll share with Cook’s Corner.

In the meantime I’d think your friend could not go wrong using a classic recipe for Oysters Rockefeller. The dish, by the way, was created in 1899 by Jules Alciatore for Antoine’s in New Orleans. Though modern recipes use spinach, the original was purportedly made with watercress, and was named Oysters Rockefeller because it was as rich as John D. Rockefeller.

Send questions and responses to or Food, The Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172. Replies cannot be guaranteed.

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