Wednesday, February 26, 2020

pulled-pork horror

Never again.

Filled with optimism and the eagerness of the inexperienced, I enthusiastically tried making "keto flatbread" from a recipe I had found on YouTube. The result was beyond disgusting. I forced myself to eat all my flatbread, anyway, despite the bread's nauseating taste. Here's a pic of some lovely pulled pork that I desecrated by placing it on the keto flatbread:

The recipe called for blanched, fine-ground almond flour—which I'm okay with—and psyllium-husk fiber, which I associate with Metamucil and the fiber capsules that I ingest every night before going to bed. It was the psyllium that proved to be the problem. I've tried psyllium fiber straight before: years ago, when I was out of US-purchased Metamucil, I went scrounging around some local stores in search of fiber supplements. One store sold a huge, white plastic can of psyllium fiber and, not knowing any better, I bought it. Let me tell you: straight psyllium looks, smells, and tastes like sawdust. It's extremely hard to ingest, and while it produces the desired gastric effects, it's pure torture to use. Not wanting to waste anything, though, I worked my way painfully through that awful can of fiber, then resolved never to go that route again. Since then, I've discovered Metamucil (and its off-brand, copycat knockoffs) at Gwangjang Market in the Jongno district, but what I now use is a product ordered from iHerb: psyllium-fiber capsules that go down easy. Still, despite the capsules and despite the amount of time that's passed since my encounter with the sawdust, that awful taste and smell have been imprinted on my brain forever.

Which brings me back to the keto flatbread. As I already noted, the recipe calls for blanched almond flour and psyllium-husk powder: a half-cup of the flour and three tablespoons of the psyllium. Despite the difference in amounts, the psyllium completely takes over the recipe, especially after the addition of baking soda, oil, and water. Psyllium is prized for its ability to absorb huge amounts of water, so when I added a cup of warm water to the flatbread-dough mixture, the psyllium morphed straight from David to Goliath, utterly dominating the recipe and turning the dough into a disgusting gray blob with weird, jelly-like properties. Making dough rounds was easy enough; so was pressing the rounds out into tortilla shapes for pan-frying. The smell of the wet dough was worrisome, though, because it was strongly reminding me of those bygone days when sawdust and I were a thing.

Nevertheless, I forged ahead and pan-fried four flatbreads, eating one of them last night and saving the other three for my pulled-pork wraps today. That initial flatbread wasn't encouraging: the texture of the bread felt wrong, and the smell was extremely off-putting—just like wet sawdust, despite the pan-frying and the half-hearted Maillard reaction (browning). I ate the flatbread with a bit of butter; that made the experience marginally tolerable. But I was already worried about how the rest of the flatbreads would taste at today's lunch.

Upshot: they tasted like the congealed diarrhea of a choleraic dog made of sawdust. I actually felt apologetic to my beautiful pulled pork, which had come into being after an all-night session in my slow-cooker. And I'm not joking about how nauseating the taste of the flatbread was: I genuinely wanted to yack up every bite I took of my pulled-pork wrap.

So I'll end this post as I began it by swearing: never again. Never ever again. I'd rather risk the carbs and go with regular, store-bought tortillas than ever try any keto-flatbread recipe that includes psyllium. Psyllium needs to go from the mouth to the colon without ever stopping to converse with my senses of smell and taste. Psyllium is effectively medicine, not a fucking ingredient in bread. What on earth had I been thinking? What are the keto-heads who write these misbegotten recipes thinking?

No comments: