Thursday, August 28, 2014

Bafla Bati






"Laughter is brightest in the place where the food is." (~Irish Proverb)

That's a truism which can be verified at any market place, and I'm referring to traditional market places, where food is sold. These places have traditional restaurants, no hi-fi stuff and pomp and show. The delicious aromas of food waft through the air and titillate the taste buds. Especially the markets with food stalls. As for more private eating places like dining tables in homes, I can say that the Irish who penned this must have been at my family's table. I think I need to qualify that further. I am talking about my maiden home, and about my siblings! We were and remain, even as grandparents, a mirthful bunch around a dining table.

Not many homes I have been to, even the one I was married into, have bright and joyful times around the dining table. The conversation was meagre and attention concentrated solely on the food in the plate. Eyes barely rose, except when one needed another helping of something! And of course that's when the few spoken words could be heard. I speak for myself when I say, I love laughter and interesting, humorous conversations at meal times too, because my enjoyment of the eating experience is multiplied. It makes no difference if it is a simple rice and dal or rich biryani then!

So here's one such simple Rajasthani dish which was enjoyed with much laughter, talk, and joy, going around with the food being served and consumed. I had learned to cook Dal Bati, but I didn't know about Bafla Bati until a friend and colleague of mine, in Udaipur, introduced me to this variety of Bati, popular in Jaipur. It is a great change and what I liked best about it was that it was quicker to make than the other batis. If you're tired of the usual food on your table, try this for a change...you'll love it.


Ingredients

For the bati dough

Atta (harina integral).....................................as required, sifted to remove the bran
Oil for moyn..................................................1 tbsp per standard measuring cup of atta
Ajwain (aka carom seeds)..............................a tiny pinch per cup of flour
Salt to taste
Water to make dough

For the filling

Potatoes.....................................................use your discretion, acc to requirement
Green chilli................................................acc to taste, chopped tiny
Green coriander.........................................as required, chopped fine
Turmeric....................................................1/4 tsp for 4 medium-large potatoes
Red chilli pwdr..........................................optional, acc to taste
Aamchur (dry mango pwdr).........................acc to taste
Garam masala............................................1/2 tsp for 4 medium-large potatoes
Saunf (aniseed)...........................................1/4 tsp, crushed coarsely, for 4 medium-large potatoes


For Dal

Urad dal (white).........................................acc to requirement. 
I didn't have much of urad so I made a mix of dals and it was even better. (4 tbsps urad:3/4 small katori skinless (yellow) mung:1small katori masoor dal)
Onion........................................................acc to amt of dal used, I used 1 small, chopped not too small 
Ginger.......................................................acc to requirement, or 1/2" pc, crushed into a paste
Garlic (not reqd if using only urad).............I used 3 cloves, crushed into a paste
Red chilli...................................................acc to taste
Turmeric....................................................acc to requirement, or 1/4 tsp
Coriander pwdr..........................................acc to requirement, or 1 n 1/2 level tsp
Cloves........................................................acc to requirement, or 4 cloves
Cumin seeds...............................................acc to amt of dal, or 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Ghee
Green chilli................................................acc to taste
Green coriander for garnish........................chopped small
Tomato.......................................................1 small, chopped small
Onion for garnish.......................................1small, chopped very small
Garam masala (optional)


First put the potatoes to boil. Get the rest of the ingredients ready for the potato mix.

Put the dal to cook, adding salt, half the turmeric and cloves. Get all the other ingredients ready, chopping, grinding/crushing etc.

Sift the atta (whole wheat flour) add the salt, ajwain, oil for moyn and mix into the flour well, using your fingers. Check for salt. Add water a little at atime and knead the flour into a smooth dough. Not too stiff, not too soft. Cover and keep aside.

Hope you kept an eye on the dal and didn't overcook it to a paste!!
Now it is time to give the dal a 'bhagaar.'

Heat oil and a bit of ghee together in a deep pan, large enough to hold the dal. Add the cumin seeds, after a couple of seconds add the chopped onion. When they are beginning to brown on the edges, add the garlic, ginger pastes, chopped green chilli and stir into the onions. Now lower heat, add the red chilli, leftover turmeric, coriander pwdr and stir. Add the dal and mix to meld well with the masala. If the dal is too thick, add a bit of hot water. Check for salt. Sprinkle a bit of green coriander and garam masala on top. Cover and keep hot.


Peel and mash the boiled potatoes and add the chopped and crushed ingredients. Check for salt and other flavours.

Now make small balls of dough. Flatten each out and fill with the potato mix. The dough should not be thick, and not too thin either.


Pinch the edges well, use a wet finger, if you feel it isn't sealed properly. Flatten a bit between the palms. 











Now heat up water to boiling point and drop in the batis. Make sure the container is large enough to hold all without crowding. Leave the pan uncovered and allow the batis to boil. You will know when they are ready when they begin to rise to the top. Gently coax, with a flat frying spoon, the ones at the bottom away from the pan, if any remain. Put in a colander to drain water.


Do not keep the batis to dry too long. Heat oil on a deep pan and fry the batis to a golden brown. Remove and place on an absorbent paper towel. When all are done, crack the tops and pour a tsp of warm, melted ghee over each one.



Serve piping hot bafla batis with hot dal in deep pasta plates or soup plates. Place batis in the plate. Pour hot dal over them so they are almost completely immersed.

Sprinkle finely chopped tomato, onion, green coriander over it. Adding a spoonful of ghee is purely optional!

Enjoy your bafla bati peppered with hearty conversations and loud lip smacking...don't hold back.

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