Rice Bowl of India
For the month of January the Shhh Cooking Secretly group (started by Priya of Priya’s Versatile Recipes) had to make cuisine from the state of Chhattisgarh. Chhattisgarh literally means 36 Forts. This central eastern state was formed by separating the Chhattisgarhi speaking southeastern part of Madhya Pradesh in the year 2000. The north and south part of the state are hilly and the central part is covered by plains.
It is believed that Lord Rama along with his wife Sita and brother Laxman spent 10 years of their 14 year exile in the regions of Chhattisgarh. Its also in this state that Lord Rama was offered half eaten berries by the old blind lady Shabari. Shabari was a devout follower of Lord Rama. She waited patiently in the ashram for Him to arrive so that she could seek his darshan. As an offering to the Lord she had picked berries from the nearby forest. She tasted each one of them and left the sweet ones for Lord Rama. For her pure devotion Lord Rama blessed her with his vision. Shivrinarayan in Chhattisgarh is a famous pilgrimage and tourist place as its believed that Shabari lived there.
The other famous religious place in Chhattisgarh is Champaran, the birthplace of Saint Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharya of the Pushtimarg (worshippers of Shrinathji).
Chhattisgarh is known as the rice bowl of India. No wonder many of the dishes from this region are rice based. Its the foremost producer of steel in India. It produces tendu leaves which is used to roll into bidis. It also produces coal, tin and iron. India’s largest waterfall Chitrakote (Niagara of India) is in Chhattisgarh. In fact Chhattisgarh has 10 falls in total.
Most of the traditional dishes are made from rice, yogurt and leafy greens which grow in abundance in this state. Some of the more popular dishes from Chhattisgarh are fara(muthiya), cheela, angakar roti, chousela roti, borre baasi, iddhar, bafauri, aamat, bara, tilgur, khurma, dubki kadhi to name a few.
My partner for this month was Vidya who blogs at MasalaChilli. Her blog is all about food, travel and gardening.Do check it out. She gave me chana dal and onions as my two secret ingredients and in return I gave her rice and black sesame seeds.
With the ingredients she gave me I had a choice of making bafauri, bhajia or dubki kadhi. I’d never heard of bafauri till I started my research for Chhattisgarh cuisine. What attracted me to this recipe was the healthy and steamed part. I checked out quite a few videos before I made this version of bafauri. My first attempt was a total failure as the recipe called for 1 tsp of soda bicarbonate! The end product was reddish and tasted awful. So again I searched for other variations. Though my version of bafauri looks like the South Indian idli, it definitely tastes so different. While making the batter I thought “is this going to taste like dokhra?” But no it doesn’t taste like dokhra as its got onions in the batter and is not sour and sweet.
Enjoy bafauri with a chutney of your choice. Hubby and I enjoyed a healthy guilt free light dinner with some homemade extra hot red chili sauce.
Makes 12 pieces
1 cup chana dal (chickpea lentils)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp chilli paste or 1-2 finely chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh coriander
1 tbsp oil (optional)
½ tsp ajwain, (ajmo, carom seeds)
¼ tsp soda bicarbonate (baking soda)
¾ – 1 tsp salt
½ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
1 tsp red chilli powder
a generous pinch of hing (asafetida)
½ – ¾ cup water
little oil for greasing
- Soak the dal in warm water for 2-3 hours.
- Drain out the water from the dal and wash it.
- Put it in the blender along with the measured water.
- Blend the dal till it becomes a smooth paste. It should not be runny or too thick.
- Add rest of the ingredients and mix the batter well.
- Heat some water in the idli steamer.
- Grease the idli moulds with some oil.
- Spoon about a tablespoon full of the batter into the cavities.
- When the water is begins to boil, put the idli stand into the pan.
- Cover and let the bafauri steam for 10-15 minutes.
- Bafauri is cooked if the top does not appear wet.
- Take the stand out of the pan.
- Let the bafauri cool down for a 2-3 minutes.
- Remove bafauri carefully from the idli moulds.
- Serve it with your choice of chutney or sauce.
- If you do not have an idli stand, then use small heatproof bowls.
- Be careful not to add too much water when you blend the dal otherwise the bafauri will be shapeless when steamed.
|Undi – (Udupi Cuisine)|
|arvi paan na bhajia (Gujarati Cuisine)|
|Muthia (Gujarati style)|
Sending this recipe to the following event: