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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Batura - Delicious Fried Bread

Batura (Bature when plural), while it looks like puri, is a little different. Batura is made from all purpose flour while the puri is made from whole wheat flour. Another difference is that yogurt is added to knead the batura dough, while the puri dough is kneaded using water. The main difference is that I have always eaten bature with chole and never with any other vegetable or curry preparation, while I have eaten puri with all types of curries and dals. This has led me to conclude that the batura must only be made when served with chole. If  anyone knows of any other combinations that you can serve baturas with, I would really like to know. This combination also finds its own place in restaurant menus and is listed as "chole bature". The restaurant version of the fried bread is generally very large, as big as the plate it is being served in (sometimes bigger) and beautifully fluffed up like a balloon. At home, you are limited by the size of the the pan that you are frying it in as well as the size of the surface that you roll it out on, and sometimes it may just puff up partially. But the best part is that, when you make it at home, you can eat as many servings as you want.
This is the first time I tried it out and I am very glad that I did, because I realized that it is very easy to make and we enjoyed the dish to our hearts' content.

INTRODUCING - Videos. If you are a regular reader of the blog, you would have noticed that it has evolved over the last two years. I am adding more photos and trying to visually present the method to make the recipes clearer. With that aim in mind, I am going to create videos for recipes (as time permits) where a visual demonstration will help explain the method of preparation. Your feedback is appreciated.

2 cups all purpose flour/maida
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp semolina/rava/sooji
1/2 cup of yogurt
1/2 - 1 cup water, a needed to knead the dough
oil to fry the batura (should be at least 1.5 - 2 inches deep)

In a bowl, mix together the all purpose flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and rava. Then add the oil and yogurt and mix together. Add additional water as needed to knead the dough. The resultant dough should not be too soft or loose. So just add enough water that all the dough comes together and can be kneaded without it cracking. At this stage, you need to let the dough rest for a couple of hours or more. If you want, you can even rest it overnight. The dough will ferment. If it has been kept aside for a couple of hours, the rise may not be noticeable, but if kept for a longer duration, you will notice the rise. Addition of the yogurt adds the bacteria from the yogurt culture which enable the fermentation.

Once the dough has rested for a while, you are ready to roll it out into round discs and then fry it. Heat the oil. The oil must be hot when you add the rolled batura to it, else it will not puff up and also, will not become crispy.  Take a fistfull of dough and roll it into a ball (about 1.5 inches in diameter). Then flatten it into a disc and roll it out. The rolled out batura should be aboue 4-5 mm in thickness. It should not be very thin. If the dough is sticking to the rolling surface, use oil to grease it so that it doesn't stick. Do not dust the rolling surface with flour.

Release the batura gently into the hot oil. Be careful not to splash any oil on your hand. The batura will sink. Hold your slotted spoon/strainer on the batura and hold the batura down. As the batura cooks, it will start puffing up and the pressure of the spoon being held over it, will help the batura puff up evenly. This process takes a few seconds. The underside of the batura which is in the oil will become golden brown. At this stage, flip the batura over and cook it for a few seconds till it is golden brown on the other side as well.  The batura is ready to be served hot with chole.

Adding of the semolina/rava and oil in the dough helps the batura stay puffed up in a ball shape and not flatten out immediately as it cools. Make sure to use dry spoons and pans when heating oil. Addition of water droplets to the oil will cause it to splatter. Never use flour to dust the rolling surface while making puris or batura. The excess loose flour will get added to the oil as the batura/puri is fried, which will burn and as you fry more bature/puris, they will get coated with this burnt flour. The batura dough is elastic and it is a little tricky to roll it out. You may want to roll out a couple of baturas before heating the oil.  To check if the oil is hot, add a very small pinch of dough into the oil. If it rises up immediately, the oil is ready. If the oil is already hot and you are still rolling out the dough, turn the heat to low so that they oil cools down a little or turn the heat off. There is always a danger of the oil catching fire if it is overheated. In such a case, place a lid on the pan containing the oil. This will cut off the oxygen and will extinguish the fire. Never ever pour water on an oil fire as it is extremely dangerous and may cause the oil to splash out.


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