To Live, Love and Learn: A Cookworm's Tale
I have no idea why, but I rather like this bread more than the plain flour ones. It is always softer, tastier and much easier to bake because it doesn’t involve yeast (and therefore the whole process of waiting for the dough to rise and then let it prove). It is rather healthy too, that is, if you do without the cheese bit. But how could a bit of cheese make a huge difference? (*wink wink, it does, but we only live once don’t we?)
I first made this at home and it became a good breakfast staple. Fresh cornmeal is difficult to find in Calcutta, but I suppose if you live in north or west India you can get it fresh during certain seasons. Fresh cornmeal would definitely improve the taste and nutrition level. You could have this bread with pickles, spicy sauce, simple soups or just like that if you season it sufficiently.
What you need is 5oz. (1 cup) stone-ground yellow cornmeal, 2oz. (1/2 cup) plain flour, 3/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. baking soda, 1 Tbs. baking powder, 1 egg, 2 Tbs. sugar, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1-1/4 cups buttermilk, 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) butter, 1 cup grated cheese (4 oz.), and 3 Tbs. finely diced fresh chiles.
Heat the oven to 375°F. In a bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, sugar, oil, and buttermilk. Coat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with oil and set it over medium heat. Add the butter. As the skillet heats, quickly stir together the dry and wet ingredients in a bowl, using just enough strokes to combine. Don’t beat or whisk. Stir in the cheese and chiles.
When the butter has melted and the pan is quite hot, scrape the batter into it; the batter should sizzle as it goes into the pan. Immediately transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake until light brown around the edges, about 25 minutes. Cut in wedges and serve warm.
Once you get used to making this, you could try out new molds and new flavours that work well with cornmeal. I think coriander does, so I added it on my second attempt. Try this out for breakfast and you’ll forget all about your regular white or brown bread!