A fashionable cuisine this year is going to be African. Get ahead of the curve with our easy recipe for an African inspired spiced flatbread and African peanut sauce – a perfect sharing platter for a gathering of friends. Dip in and enjoy!
Cooking inspiration can spring from many fonts, but feeling energized by a fashionable new cuisine can be really invigorating; experimenting with new flavour combinations can really lift me out of the dinner-on-the-table rut.
Predictions are that this year African cuisine will rise to prominence. The potential is huge, with a massive range of flavours and spice used across the continent, from sour injera bread of Ethiopia to one-pot jollof rice dishes of the west.
5 starting points to explore African cuisine
- North African dishes use cumin, ginger, paprika, cinnamon, fresh peppermint, parsley, coriander and saffron. The exact blend depends on the individual country.
- East Africa reflects many influences, including Arab, British, Indian and Portuguese. Cuisine includes steamed rice from the Arabs, vegetable curries from the Indians and British, and the Portuguese brought more exotic ingredients such as chiles, pineapples and pork.
- Spice blends from East Africa include Ethiopia’s berbere: that includes ginger, garlic, fenugreek, chilies, black pepper, cloves, coriander and cardamom
- Fufu – where starch such as cassava, or semolina or maize is boiled with water and then pounded into a smooth porridge is a typical dish of West Africa
- Tsire is a West African spice blend that uses peanuts, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon
I’ve taken inspiration from the tsire spice mix and peanut sauce (also known as peanut gravy) from west Africa, to make these spiced flatbreads with African peanut sauce dip.
Freshly ground spices are so much more vibrant tasting than buying pre-ground powders; a spice mill like the compact chopper / grinder that easily fits onto the high-speed accessory outlet on the top of the Kenwood Chef stand mixer is perfect for producing the freshest grinds and blends at home. As it comes with four grinding bowls with lids, you can grind up and mix up enough for a day or two and store what you don’t use immediately.
As I say, the inspiration for the spicing used in these flatbreads and peanut sauce is the tsire blend of West Africa; the combination of ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon work so well together that I’m sure they’ll be making a reappearance in my cooking soon. That inspiration thing at work! I have to admit that I did use ginger powder here, but drying and grinding my own is a relatively straightforward process. Next time!
A stand mixer also makes the flatbreads simple to make, producing a smooth and pliable dough from the unmixed ingredients in a few minutes. I love the way that the dough didn’t stick to the stainless steel dough hook of the Kenwood Chef, making for a well kneaded dough that’s ready to rise after about five minutes in the machine.
7 tips for perfect flatbreads
- Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl, switch the mixer on and allow the dough hook to bring them together at the lowest setting.
- Once combined, turn the machine up a couple of notches so that it’s giving the dough a good knead
- Don’t turn it up so much that it’s whipping around inside the bowl.
- It will only take about five minutes to give a perfect smooth, pliable and elastic dough.
- Cover the bowl and leave it somewhere lukewarm for about an hour, and you’ll have a smooth, puffed up ball of dough.
- After it has risen, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into quarters, and then each quarter into three for a total of 12 pieces. Pinch together to make balls of dough, about 5cm/2″ across. Place on a baking tray and cover with some lightly oiled cling film and leave to rise again for half an hour or so.
- After the second rise, roll the balls into flatbreads.The dough will resist rolling out and contract back so it’s best to roll a couple at once: do each in turn, with two or three periods of rolling and resting per flatbread, alternating between the two. Before the final roll, sprinkle on some black and natural sesame seeds.
I also love the way that the mixing bowl weighs exactly 800 grams. Perfect for those times when the batteries on the scales give up the ghost, and you’re stuck not knowing exactly how much flour (or whatever it is) that you’ve added to your mix. Simply weigh the lot, deduct 800g and there you are: to total weight of ingredients in the bowl. Nice and easy maths!
The flatbreads are cooked in a frying pan that’s been lightly oiled, and on a low to medium heat. As each flatbread puffs up, you get a delicious waft of aroma from the spices. They’ll puff up unevenly, so you get differently coloured areas, rather than a uniform pancake effect. A bit of rusticity is perfect.
The peanut sauce takes no time at all. Chop and fry the onion – I’m a big fan of pre-chopped and frozen onions, or if I only use half an onion, I chop and freeze the rest. It cooks well from frozen. Add the spices, and cook until you can smell the delicious aromas – a few minutes.
If you want, you could chop up some fresh chilies and add them too. Add the tomatoes, peanut butter, and tomato puree and stir together. This will be a very stiff mixture, so add about a tablespoon of water to slacken it.
Finally, transfer the dip to a suitable serving dish, and enjoy!
Spiced Flatbreads with African Peanut Sauce
- 2 tsp crushed chilis
- 2 tsp cloves
- 3 inches cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 sachet quick yeast
- 500 g strong bread flour
- 300 ml water (lukewarm)
- 2 tbsp groundnut oil
- 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp groundnut oil
- 1/2 onion (finely chopped)
- 1/2 tbsp groundnut oil
- 1/2 tsp crushed chilis
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 70 g peanut butter
- 100 g fresh tomatoes (chopped)
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tbsp salted peanuts (for garnish)
- Place crushed chilis, cinnamon stick and cloves into a spice grinder. Grind to a fine powder. Mix in ground ginger and nutmeg. In the bowl of a stand mixer, measure out the flour, and add the spice mix, yeast and salt.
- Add the water to the bowl, and fix into the stand mixer. Using the dough hook, mix on the minimum setting until all ingredients have come together into a dough. Turn the mixer up one setting, and knead the dough for 5 minutes.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer, and leave the dough in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour.
- Turn out the dough, and divide into 12 equal sized pieces. Form each piece into a ball, place on a floured baking sheet and cover with a piece of oiled clingfilm for 30 minutes
- Heat a heavy frying pan or flat skilled. Roll out the dough balls into discs about 20cm/8" in diameter. The gluten in the dough will resist, so roll out, leave to rest, and roll again. Roll each flatbread as the previous one is being cooked.
- Brush a little groundnut oil onto the frying pan. Cook each flatbread for about 5 minutes each side, until a golden colour. Pockets will puff up, and cook more - let them colour, but not burn.
- Finely chop the onion. Heat a frying pan and add the groundnut oil. Fry the onion until translucent.
- Add the spices, and fry for a few moments. Add the tomatoes, and cook until they start to lose their shape. Add the peanut butter and tomato puree and cook for a few minutes.
- Add a little water - a tablespoon or so - to slacken the mixture. Transfer to a serving dish and enjoy,
Recipe for Spiced Flatbread with African Peanut Sauce commissioned by Kenwood, all opinions our own. Read more about Kenwood