Atta ke Bhature
EVENT: SHHH COOKING SECRETLY
THEME: HIMACHAL PRADESH CUISINE
Himachal Pradesh is a northern state in the Himalayas with snowy peaks and plunging river valleys. Its neighbors are Jammu and Kashmir to the north, Punjab to the west, Haryana to the southwest and Uttarakhand to the southeast and Tibet to the east. ‘Him’ in Sanskrit means snow and achal means land, therefore the name snow laden land.
Famous for scenic hill stations like Shimla, Dalhousie,Manali, Dharamashala, Kullu to name a few, it’s also famous for many pilgrimage places and the Hindus call it “Dev Bhoomi’ abode of the Gods.
Coming to the cuisine of Himachal Pradesh, it is influenced by Punjab and Tibet. The state is blessed with a range native fruits, vegetables, herbs, dairy products and spices. These are used in their daily cooking. Everyday food consists of meat, pulses, lentils, rice and wheat flatbreads. Most popular dishes are maa ki dal also known as urad dal and madra which is lentils cooked in yogurt. Ghee is extensively used in their cooking.
Himachal Pradesh is well known for Dham which is prepared during festivals. It is considered sacred and usually prepared by Brahmin chefs only. This meal consists mainly of rice, moong dal, rajma (kidney beans) cooked in yogurt, and sweet dishes.
My partner for this month was Jayashree who blogs at Ever Green Dishes. Her blog is all about delicious and easy to prepare vegetarian dishes right from starters to desserts. She’a also got an ebook with 30 different dals. Worth checking it out. I gave her mango and ginger as her secret ingredients and she made a very delicious looking Ambua. A sweet and tangy mixture of mango and lentil dish served with rice. Jayashree initially gave me plain flour and yogurt as my secret ingredients. I had a difficult time looking for a dish where the Himachali cuisine uses plain flour. I just could not find any. So I had to request Jayashree to change it to wheat flour which is widely used in their cuisine.
With wheat and yogurt flour I made the local atta ke bhature. Modern times make use of yeast to ferment the dough for the bhature. These bhature are very different from the more popular Punjabi bhaturas. Himachali bhature (plural) and bhaturu (singular) is made using wheat flour and mostly they are stuffed with urad dal. With yogurt as one of the ingredients that I had to use, I decided to make the bhature in the traditional way, without using yeast. They usually use a pre fermented dough called malera. Flour and yogurt are mixed together and left to ferment for 24 hours or a chunk of the bhature dough is saved to use for the next bhature dough.
Jayashree thank you for giving me yogurt and flour ingredients. Without these two ingredients I may not have prepared these delicious bhature. We enjoyed them with potato and yogurt sabji. Bhature can be served with dals, sabjis or even enjoyed as breakfast with a cup of hot masala tea.
ATTA KE BHATURE
Recipe Source: Indian Recipes with Kiran Sood
For the malera or pre ferment:
½ cup wheat flour (atta)
2 tbsp sour yogurt
2½ cup wheat flour (atta)
1 cup yogurt
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ajwain (ajmo, carom seeds)
⅓ – ½ cup warm water
all of the pre ferment
For the filling:
½ cup urad dal with the skin(black lentils)
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1-2 dry red chillis
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1 tsp fennel seeds (valiyari, saunf)
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp salt
¼ cup fresh chopped coriander
extra wheat for dusting and rolling
oil for deep frying
extra oil or ghee for greasing
Preparation of malera or pre ferment:
- Mix yogurt and flour together into a rough dough.
- Cover and let it ferment for 12-24 hours. I left mine overnight for 12 hours and it was ready.
Preparation of the bhature dough:
- Add flour, salt and ajwain into a big bowl and mix.
- Mix pre ferment, yogurt and warm water together.
- Add it to the flour mixture and made a dough.
- Rub some ghee or oil in on your palms and knead the dough till it is smooth and silky.
- The dough should not be too hard or too soft. Grease the bowl with oil or ghee.
- Apply some ghee or oil to the dough and put it in the bowl.
- Cover the dough with a lid or cling film and let it rise till its double in size.
Preparation of the filling:
- Soak the urad dal in warm water for 6 hrs or overnight.
- Wash the urad dal thoroughly. I did not remove the skin.
- Put the dal in a sieve or colander and let the water drain out. Pat it gently with a kitchen towel so it absorbs the excess water.
- Heat oil in a pan over medium heat.
- When the oil becomes hot add coriander, fennel and cumin seeds.
- Add dry chilis and the dal.
- Cook the mixture stirring it all the time for 2-3 minutes till the water dries up.
- When the dal becomes a bit cool, put the mixture in the food processor.
- Process to a coarse mixture.
- Add ginger and salt and pulse for a few seconds to mix.
- Remove the paste from the food processor.
- Add fresh chopped coriander and mix well.
- Make 8 balls from the mixture and keep it on the side till required.
Preparation of the bhature:
- Gently deflate the risen dough and knead it very gently.
- If need be use some flour to dust the work top.
- Divide the dough into 8 parts.
- Roll each part into a ball.
- Take one ball and using some flour, form the dough into a cup using your fingers.
- Add one ball of the filling to the cup.
- Bring the edges of the dough together to cover the filling.
- Press it gently between your palms to flatten it a bit.
- Roll the dough using some flour and a rolling pin to a 6-7″ diameter circle.
- Keep the rolled dough on the side.
- Repeat steps 5-10 with the remaining dough and filling.
- Heat oil for deep frying in a wok, frying pan or karai over medium heat.
- When the oil is hot (test by dropping a small piece of dough in it. It should sizzle and come up immediately), add one rolled bhature and fry it on both sides till it is golden brown.
- Repeat with the remaining bhature.
- Serve hot bhature with dals, curries or hot tea.
- Colder places will take longer for the dough to ferment.
- You may need more water to form the dough as different flours absorb different amount of liquid.
- If you do not want to use the preferment then replace it with 1 tbsp yeast.
- Most recipes I checked out do not cook the dal. However I preferred to do that to remove excess water and the raw taste of the dal.
- Some use potato mixture to stuff the bhature.
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