Diwali, being like Christmas in the west, means family time, fireworks and food. Certainly helps having nearest & dearest around, as my family is back in Kuwait having as much an authentic Diwali celebration as possible in the Middle East. Having no backyard of my own I have to make do with no firework fun this year but I certainly wanted to have food typical of the festival. Pani puri, chaat and chholay bhaturay are sooo Diwali (Thai style crab risotto isn’t really).
So I started off the day making the dough for the bhaturay. As it is a leavened bread it needs to rest in a dry, dark, warm place for 5-6 hours, perhaps even overnight. After leaving it alone for a while, my dumb dough doesn’t rise as much as I was hoping for. I’m not sure why. Using baking powder seems not to have helped, so perhaps I should go with bicarb of soda the next time. Or perhaps the yoghurt used in the dough should be at room temp? I dumped it in straight out of the fridge. Anyway, it smelt lovely.
Rolling the dumb dough was where I struggled the most. It’s really not roll-friendly. Lightly dusting the work surface with some flour doesn’t help much as the dough doesn’t get any grip on the surface and keeps coming off it. I had to press it down with my hands looking totally uncool while doing so. Also, who has the patience to roll out perfect circles each time? I’d like to think my funky odd shapes were just as acceptable.
Frying them was when I was the most nervous. It’s really easy to get hot boiling oil all over yourself. They didn’t puff up as much as I’d have liked them to (as they do at home). But my, they tasted gooood.
I don’t understand why nearest & dearest felt the need to have cheese with his chholay, especially since making claims such as “This is the most amazing thing you’ve ever cooked”? Hmm…I guess it’s not as bad as when people season with salt before tasting. Grr.
Chholay Bhaturay Recipe
800g cooked chickpeas (I used canned ones, drained and rinsed)
1.5 tbsp ghee
2 bay leaves
4-5 whole cloves
3-4 cardamom pods
4-5 whole black peppercorns
1 large onion, 3/4 coarsely chopped, 1/4 finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
2 inch piece ginger, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
0.5 tsp red chilli
0.25 tsp turmeric
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp dry mango powder
1 tbsp chana masala (optional)
1.5 tsp salt (or to taste)
1.5 cups of water
2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Cheese (optional, but PB says it’s yum. I’m not going there)
1) Blitz the coarsely chopped onion, ginger, and garlic together into a smooth paste.
2) Heat the ghee in a deep, thick-bottomed pan on a medium flame.
Add the bay leaves, cloves, cardamom and peppercorns and fry for 1/2 a minute. Add the mushy onion-ginger-garlic paste and fry till light golden. Add the tomatoes and fry till the oil begins to separate from the paste.
3) Add the dry spices – cumin, coriander, red chilli, tumeric, garam and chana masala powders. Fry for 5 minutes.
4) Add the chickpeas to the masala. Mix well. Add salt, water and dry mango powder. Simmer and cook covered for 10 minutes.
5) Garnish with finely chopped onion and fresh coriander leaves.
Serve piping hot with bhaturay.
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup yoghurt (at room temp)
3/4 tsp salt
Oil for deep frying (sunflower or veggie)
1) Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and yoghurt by hand and knead till a smooth dough is formed. Cover with cling film and keep in a warm, dark place for 5-6 hours at least.
2) After 5-6 hours, the dough should have risen and become fluffy. Or not. But no need to lose hope just yet. Remove the cling film and, this is the super fun part, punch the dough to remove extra air from it. Knead again till the dough is smooth and elastic. Divide the dough into 6 equal-sized balls.
3) Set up the cooking oil to heat, in a large, deep pan, on medium heat. Line a plate with kitchen towel to place the cooked Bhaturay for draining.
4) Lightly flour a clean, dry rolling surface and place one ball on it. Roll out into a circular shape of 6″ diameter. Or oval. Or star. Whatever you fancy really. But yeah, circle does look pretty.
5) To test if the oil is hot, drop a small bit of dough into it. If the ball quickly rises to the surface and sizzles, the oil is ready.
6) Once the oil has reached the correct temperature, slide in a rolled-out Bhatura gently, to avoid splashing hot oil. In 5-7 seconds, turn gently with a slotted spoon. Wait another 5-7 seconds and press gently in the center of the Bhatura with the slotted spoon. This will help it puff up. Keep frying and turning gently till both sides are golden. Drain and remove from oil when done and keep in lined plate.