Bhatura is another popular Punjabi food, which is leavened and deep-fried. It is made from all-purpose flour or maida. Somewhere in your life, you should have heard the word Chole-Bhature or Channa-Bhatura. Well, these two are made for each other 🙂 .
Chole is a gravy made of chickpeas/garbanzo beans/Kabuli channa. In north India, Chole-bhature are had any time of the day at breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
We in South India, are more used to puri/poori, which is also a deep-fried flatbread but made from wheat flour. The major variation between our regular puri and bhatura is that bhatura is leavened and fermented and is always made from plain flour. Whereas puris are made from whole wheat flour and are not leavened.
In those days yeast was used for leavening, but this obviously took lots of time. Hence people started replacing yeast with baking powder/baking soda. I could not find a recipe on the net with yeast. I even wanted to make whole wheat bhatura.
Whole wheat bhatura seemed to me a combination of my whole wheat naan and puri recipe. Getting over-enthused in coming up with something which no one else seems to have tried, I made bhatura with whole wheat and yeast. It was a total disaster.
Then it struck me that if at all I wanted a whole wheat version, I would better be good with my puris, which were far softer even without the leavening and fermentation. So then, I decided if it was bhatura, it has to be with all-purpose flour.
Still, to satisfy my ‘always looking for healthy’ mind, I replaced half the plain flour with whole wheat flour. With a few changes, I stuck to my North Indian cookery class recipe. The bhaturas came out crispy as well as chewy and soft, by far the best I have made to date.
In restaurants, normally huge bhaturas are made. But at home given the size of our kadais/frying pans and the amount of oil being consumed in making big bhaturas, I normally make small ones. Though you can go ahead and try making bigger ones, as per preference.
Leavening is a must for atleast 3 hours, for the bhatura to be soft. So also, the rolling of the dough should be even for it to puff up well. Uneven rolling will make holes, in the bhatura while frying and it will not puff up. Nevertheless, the bhaturas will still be delicious. Honestly, not all of mine puffed up 🙂 .
So here goes…
- 1.5 cups All purpose flour/maida/Plain flour (225 g)
- 1.5 cups whole wheat flour (187 g)
- 1/2 cup curd/yogurt
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp fine sooji/semolina
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/8 tsp baking soda (3 pinches)
- In a wide vessel take the flours and add the salt, sugar, baking soda and oil. Mix well till it ressembles bread crumbs
- Next add the curd, and mix that also very well. Add water as needed to make a sticky dough. I needed 3/4 cup of water.
- Once the all the flour has been mixed well add the semolina and knead for at least 5-7 minutes. You can use your stand mixer also for this.
- When the dough becomes soft apply a layer of oil all over and let it sit for 3-4 hours, to ferment.
- After 3 hours, knead the dough for a few minutes, divide into balls as per your desired size. Roll out evenly and deep fry in oil until golden brown.
- Serve it with Chole.
- Bhaturas have a mild tangy taste as they are fermented. So see that you use fresh curds that are not sour. If the curd is too sour then after fermentation the dough will taste sourer.
- You may have to add 1-2 tsps of oil in between kneading if the dough sticks too much.
- For rolling out I always use plain flour, rather than oil.
- As you roll out you should see bubbles coming up here and there, which means that your dough has been leavened enough.
- Kneading well and fermenting for a good amount of time ensures that you get a very soft bhatura.
- As I was short on time, I could rest only for 1 hour. But when I made with the remaining dough after resting the dough for about 3hours, the bhaturas turned out softer.
- Honestly, though any day I would prefer our puris over bhaturas, these are definitely a class apart.
- Adding whole wheat flour prevents the bhaturas from becoming rubbery on cooling.
Look up my Chole recipe, by far the best accompaniment for bhatura