Chana Bhatura - A Guest Post by Nisha of Look Who's Cooking Too
I like people who are honest. That's what's initially drew me towards Look Who's Cooking Too written by my lovely friend Nisha. Every time I'm at her blog, I want to leave a comment saying 'Oh that's my life story'. Apart from the fact that I relate so much with her and that she is honest and funny, her blog is filled with great Indian recipes and I have so many of them bookmarked. If you haven't already you should visit her blog. Today, she is sharing with us one of my favorite recipes, Channa Bhatura.
When Kulsum of Journey Kitchen asked me if I could do a guest post on her blog I was thrilled beyond words. Its my first ever guest post and I hope I'm doing this the right way. Kulsum has such a beautiful blog, with some amazing recipes and even better photographs. Shes truly an inspiration and I'm so glad to have friends like her in the blogosphere.
I actually don't have any Indian bread recipes on my blog as yet. And that's because I suck at making them. I did try making them loads of times and each time the consistency would be wrong, or the cooking bit would be wrong, not to mention the different shapes (if it is a map of India today, tomorrow its a mini China).. you get the drift here right? So after I said yes to Kulsum about the guest post, I started wrecking my brains as to what to make. It had to be something I'd never attempted before, but something easy enough and familiar to everyone.
That's when the Bhatura idea cropped up. Back home, my aunt makes the yummiest bhatura's and I asked her for the recipe. As with all other recipes I've asked her, she gave me the 'little bit of this, little bit of that' measurement. Not enough for an amateur like me. So I googled it and ended up with a recipe from Showmethecurry.com. Tweaked it a bit here and there and before I knew, the dough was set to rise. Rolled it out (with great difficulty, but with confidence) and managed a few presentable shapes.
But the frying bit, I got it right only after about the 3rd one went in, but now that I've had a trial session, it shouldn't be a problem. All said and done, the effort was so worth it, and paired it with the quintessential channa masala it was the perfect dinner dish. You can of course have it any time of the day as well...I'm thinking it would be a great brunch idea. So here's my first attempt at an Indian bread and I'm so glad I got to do it for the lovely Kulsum.
Plain flour- 1 cup (sifted)
Salt- 1/4 tsp
Oil- 1 tsp
Active dry yeast- 1/2 tsp
Sugar- 1/2 tsp
Warm water- 2 tbsp
Yogurt- 1/4 cup
Oil- enough for deep frying
Combine the sugar and yeast in a bowl. Add the warm water and stir to dissolve. Keep aside for five minutes or till it starts to foam
Mix together the flour and salt and rub the oil into the mix.
Add the yeast solution into the flour, along with the yogurt and mix well to combine.
Place the dough on a clean surface and knead for about 5 to 6 minutes till its a pliable consistency.
Place in a bowl greased with oil. Dab some oil on the dough as well, to prevent it forming a scab. Cover with a wet kitchen towel and keep in a warm palace for at least 1 hour.
To be on the safer side, I warmed the oven for about 5 minutes on 100C, turned it off and then placed the dough in it.
Punch down the dough after it has risen to about double its size and make 6 to 7 small lemon size balls out of it.
Keep the oil ready on medium high heat to deep fry the bhatura.
Lightly dust the work surface with some flour, and roll out the individual balls into bigger rounds.
Slide it into the oil and keep pressing till it puffs up, just a few seconds. Turn it the other way round and keep pressing. The bhatura's should be a golden brown colour on both sides.
Drain on paper towels and keep warm till you are ready to use.
Notes: You can also use instant yeast, in which case, you can add it directly to the flour and then tip in the remaining ingredients
Adding thick yogurt would definitely give you better results.
Make sure you simultaneously roll out the dough and slide them into the oil which would mean the rolled out dough wouldn't dry up.
The oil temperature matters, but don't worry, roll out a small disc and try it out to see if it puffs up.
Oil- 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
Onion- 1, large, finely chopped
Tomato- 1 medium, finely chopped
Store bought channa masala powder- 1 1/4 tsp
Red chilli powder- 1/4 tsp (or to taste)
Channa/ chickpeas- 250 gms
Salt- to taste
Water- 1/4 cup
Coriander leaves- to garnish (optional)
If using raw chickpea, soak over night and then cook in a pressure cooker with enough water for about 4 to 5 whistles. Drain and keep aside.
If using canned chickpeas, like what I did, drain and keep aside.
In a frying pan heat the oil and splutter cumin seeds.
Add the onions and sauté till they turn light brown.
Tip in the tomato and cook till it becomes mushy.
In goes the channa masala powder. Cook on medium-low flame till the oil separates.
Add the drained chickpeas and mix well, making sure the masala coats the chickpeas.
Add enough salt and water and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Take it off the flame and just before serving, garnish with some coriander leaves.
Notes: if you want a gravy, add more water and bring to a boil.