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Recipe of the month: Bhatura

I have a culinary confession to make. Actually, it is something I wasn't privy to until a few days ago. For all the cooking I've done in my life - I have never once made Bhatura in my kitchen! I find that astounding considering how many times I have savoured this Indian street-food staple. 

Growing up, Channa Bhatura/Chole Bhature is something I would always order at restaurants/canteens/food joints. Me and my siblings never got to eat this at home since my mom would make whole wheat pooris instead to go with channa/chole. In addition to the kind of flour used, the bhatura recipe is quite different than the standard poori recipe in that the dough is made with a leavening agents such as baking powder, yoghurt and yeast or cooking soda. Bhatura is more common to North Indian (particularly Punjabi) households where it is served for breakfast or brunch. But the popularity of this Dish has extended across India and overseas as well making it well recognized by Indians and Indian food-lovers alike.

Bhatura evokes a deep sense of nostalgia for me. Catching sight on the balloon-sized piping hot puffy bhatura and inhaling the heady aroma of the chickpea curry would be enough to send my taste buds into a frenzy and stimulate the salivary glands. It is the combination of the tender flaky flatbread and the exotic spice-infused chickpea side dish which is hard to resist. This dish is delicious, moreish and will lull you into a deep slumber after you are done with it! If you have never tasted channa bhatura before, you are truly missing out.

Bhatura is made from refined flour and involves deep-frying so obviously, it has to taste fabulous right?! But on the flip side, packed with calories and saturated fats, this Punjabi bad boy has the potential to take your bad cholesterol to an all-time high. It could also cause you acidity, bloating and heartburn. But that doesn't stop people from getting their bhatura-fix. The reason is usually deep-rooted in one's childhood. See the thing is, when you are a skinny little Indian kid and crave bhatura with all your heart, your mom is unlikely to tell you about its artery clogging potential. Especially if it only a once in a while indulgence. 'You like it? You eat it' used to be the simple mantra back in the day. And c'mon, who doesn't like channa bhatura right? You would have to be mad not to 😝

So, keeping all the above in mind, I have decided to not deprive my kids of the chance to try this lip-smacking universal favourite. Moreover, considering how homemade is infinitely better than eating at questionable street vendors or seedy dhabas, I don't feel that bad about it. Of course, in keeping with modern times where people are more conscious of what they eat and developing good eating habits from an early age is important, I will be sure to let my kids know when to keep certain guilty pleasures to a minimum and channa bhatura will definitely be one of them. Probably making it for them twice or thrice a year should be fine!

What I would say to anyone who wants to make this dish at home is - use good and fresh ingredients, fresh oil, don't get the oil to point that it is smoking (but it should still be hot), use paper towels to absorb the excess oil from the bhatura and please for heaven's sake, do not reuse that oil after you are done. Also, it would be a good idea to make bhatura for breakfast or brunch so you have the rest of the day to at least attempt to burn off the gazillion calories! 😆

Bhatura and channa/chole are made for each other so that is your best bet for a side dish. With the chole, it is always preferable to use dried chickpeas and soak + cook them yourself compared to using canned chickpeas. Freshly cooked chickpeas are richer, fuller and meatier than they canned cousins with a texture that is infinitely creamier. In addition, they are BPA-free, more cost effective, and contain less sodium. It is worth putting in the effort to cook the chickpeas from scratch for the chole (although I admittedly take the short cut and go the canned route many times!). I have a fabulous recipe for Punjabi Chole on the blog which you can find here and if you minimize the amount of oil that you use, it can actually work out to be a delicious and protein-packed side dish.

Serve the bhatura with sliced red onions, lime wedges, pickle and cooling yoghurt for a gastronomic experience that is nothing short of sheer bliss!

Oh and you're welcome  😊


This post first appeared on Meinblogland, please read the originial post: here

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Recipe of the month: Bhatura


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