Bhatura 2, Deep Fried Indian Leavened Bread from Punjab
Bhatura is a deep-fried leavened bread, made with maida, the unbleached white flour that has been fermented with yoghurt. Baking powder and bi-carbonate of soda are often added to reduce the fermentation time. This is different from Poori, the common fried Indian bread. It is a popular Punjabi dish that is now eaten all over India. It is usually served with Chickpea Curry or Spicy Chickpeas. Makes 18-20.
500 gm. self-raising flour
250 gm. natural, mature yoghurt
50 gm. butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. ajwain or carom seeds (optional). You can add nigella seeds/kalaunji/kalownji (Nigella sativa)
Water to make dough
Oil for deep frying
Sift the flour in a bowl.
Add butter, salt, baking powder, sugar, carom seeds and yoghurt. Knead with enough water to make a soft, Pizza like dough. Kneading can be done very effectively in a food processor. Simply place all ingredients in the food processor, add a little water at a time (to avoid a dough which is too soft to roll out).
Place in a bowl, cover with a cling film and leave in a warm place to rise, for 3-5 hours.
Knead it again a little and divide the dough into golf ball size pieces and roll into balls by rolling between greased palms. Keep aside, covered under a moist cloth.
Heat oil in a karahi or wok to medium high.
Roll each ball out on a greased surface, with a greased rolling pin, into a 15-16 cm. or 6 inch circle. Roll from centre out. If the centre gets thinner than the edges, the bhatura will not fluff up when fried.
Slide gently into the hot oil from the side of the wok, taking care not to splash the oil. To help it to fluff up into a balloon, turn it over as soon as it floats to the surface. Fry for 10-15 seconds, coaxing it to fluff up into a balloon by pressing gently all over with a spatula. Fry until very light golden brown on both sides. Serve immediately with Chana Masala/Spicy Chickpea or Chickpea Curry or Pindi Chole
Bhaturas are best served freshly made but can be kept in the fridge or a freezer for a few months. They must be defrosted and heated in microwave or on a hot griddle or tava, one at a time.
It is easier to make bhaturae or pooris with two people cooking, one rolling out and another frying.