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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Baati - Baked Whole Wheat Dumplings

The first time I ate authentic dal baati was in Indore, about eleven years ago. I was visiting family and there were two occasions when I was able to savor this delicacy. The baatis were authentically cooked in an earthen stove. Then, they were dunked in ghee and served with hot delicious dal. I can never forget that experience. The taste of the baatis being roasted and baked in an authentic kiln can just not be replicated in a modern kitchen. After I got married, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my husband liked this dish and even knew how to make it. Eventually, we started making it quite often. While one can't get the rustic taste, only possible using an earthern stove, the ones baked in the oven are also equally delicious. This is supposed to be a delicacy, however, I make this so often, that I am not sure I can realy classify it as a delicacy in our house anymore! I must mention that once you make this, you will realise it is much easier than toiling for hours on an elaborate menu. However, your guests will be very impressed with this dish. It is so easy that you may get hooked and make this a regular feature on your menu as well.

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup besan/chickpea flour
1 cup yogurt
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp ghee
1/4 tsp baking soda
water to knead

Mix together all the dry ingredients. Then create a well in the center of the flour mixture. Into this add the ghee and yogurt. Then mix this. If the yogurt is watery, then you may not need to add any additional water to knead it all together into a soft dough. It shouldn't be too loose, nor too dry and hard. Knead the dough well and let it rest for 15-30 mins. Cover the dough with a damp cloth so it doesn't dry out.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Then roll out the dough into small balls about 1-1.5 inches in diameter. Place these on a baking sheet with enough space between them to allow for expansion. Bake in the oven for about 20-40 mins, till well browned. The baati will expand and break open and develop cracks as it cooks. The end result shouldn't be hard. When warm, pour a little ghee so that it gets absorbed through the cracks in the baati. Serve with hot dal and additional ghee.

Instead of adding ghee to the flour, you can add the milk solids that are left behind when you make ghee at home. This is a wonderful use of these solids, especially if you have used salted butter. If the milk solids are salted, then reduce the amount of additional salt that you add to the flour. Traditionally the baatis are soaked in ghee before being crushed and then hot dal is ladled onto this and is eaten hot.
To simulate an eathern kiln, use a pizza stone. Preheat it and then place the baatis onto this to be baked. 


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