Upon coming to the UK, I was happy to see so many Indian restaurants around. I felt like I wouldn’t be missing my weekend excursions to the nearby Dhaba or Nukkad restaurant after all. The joy was very short termed, however. Since most of the restaurants here serve only 2 cuisines – Punjabi and South Indian. There have been a few cropping up lately, which serve North-eastern and Mumbaiya (note- not Maharashtrian) type food. But they are not even reasonably good and only offer a very small range of the popular foods.
Even the South Indian restaurants don’t keep the traditional dishes, but only the usual Idl-Dosa-Vada platters. Probably its not their fault. We as their customers, don’t want to eat anything else apart from the usual stuff. And if there is no demand in the market, they would of course not keep the stuff on the plate. I wonder what is it? Don’t we like to try and explore new things? But if that’s the case, how do we savour Italian, Thai, Mexican cuisines that much? Or we simply are too engaged trying the western food that we have forgotten how rich and satisfying our regional cuisines are? I am disappointed in us. Sigh!
I sometimes wish I could open a regional restaurant in my city here. But then that would mean giving your weekends up, and loads of hard work for the first few years. And I am not really cut out for that. Specially the weekend bit. But if I would ever do something like that – I would love to keep Rajasthani and Bihari food in there. Since these are two cuisines I simply adore by heart. Frugal, nutritious recipes and in so much variety you wouldn’t return to the curry for at least a month.
No, I don’t belong to either of the states. Its love I love their food. And that’s why I try to post their recipes as and when I get time. This one too, is an attempt to revive the lost charm of Good ‘ol Daal bati.
I posted the recipe of Bihari Litti chokha a while ago, which was very much appreciated by the readers (Thank you for that!). This Daal baati is to Rajasthan, what Litti Chokha is to Bihar. There is a very slight difference in the preparation but huge difference in the accomplishments these baatis are paired with. In Bihar, they are served with Toor/Arhar dal (pigeon peas lentils curry) and Chokha which is basically roasted eggplant and tomatoes mash. Sometimes its filled with Sattu, which is roasted chickpeas flour and is considered very nutritious. I have explained the recipe of preparing Sattu from scratch and Litti Chokha HERE.
Coming to the Rajasthani counterpart – Apart from the usual whole wheat flour (atta), gram flour (besan) and Semolina (sooji/rava) is also added to the dough. This combination results in crispier and textured baatis. Daal (lentil curry) is a bit thicker in this case. This Dal bati combination is completed with a pickle aside and Choorma as a sweet. Choorma is a famous sweet made of whole wheat flour, and very different from the usual Indian fudges (barfi) that we eat. I have given the recipe for Choorma below.
Cuisine – Rajasthani, Indian
Course – Main (as a bread) with stew or soups
What you need?
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- ½ cup Bengal gram flour
- ¼ cup semolina (cream of wheat/ sooji/ rava)
- ¼ cup Ghee (or any shortening like Olive oil, butter etc.) + 4 tbsp to brush on top of Baatis
- 2 tsp fennel seeds (saunf), crushed or powdered
- 2 tsp carom seeds (ajwain), crushed or powdered
- 1 tsp Salt, or as per taste
How to make?
- To start with, knead firmly by mixing all the ingredients except for 2 tbsp ghee that would be used to be brushed later. Keep the dough aside for 30 minutes.
- Pinch lemon sized balls out of the dough, make as smooth as a ball as you can and then press it in the middle with the thumb. There should be a prominent thumbprint at the centre of each bati.
- Brush each baati liberally with ghee and place them on a greased baking dish in the oven on top rack to broil for about 20-25 minutes. Keep flipping them every 5-7 minutes to ensure even cooking. Timing may vary depending on your oven. So, keep checking it after 15 minutes and increase or decrease the time.
- Once they are nice and golden brown, it means they are done.
How to serve:
- They taste best when served hot with Ghee generously brushed on top. Traditionally, they are dipped in ghee not just brushed and then eaten. But you know, we are the health conscious species! 😀
- Pair baatis with Panchmel Daal (or simple arhar/toor daal) and choorma. Pour daal into a bowl, break baati into 3-4 pieces. Soak in dal, brush some more ghee and enjoy hot!
- There is another way of making the baatis- boiling them before the bake. So you prepare the baati balls from the dough and shape them by prssing the thumb at the centre. In the meanwhile, boil some water in a wide and deep bottomed pan. Immerse these batis into the boiling water, and cook them for about 15-20 minutes. Take them out, drain them and then broil/bake them in the oven as usual. This procedure, although less common, gives a distinctive texture to the baatis and also ensure that the whole wheat is properly cooked. It also helps in making these baatis easier to digest. So you pick your way. I make these using both the methods, depending on the time in hand and my mood.
- You may skip besan completely in this baati, and use semolina instead but I like the taste with gram flour. It gives a nutty flavour when roasted.
- Cracks will appear in the baatis, that’s normal so don’t worry about that.
Another type of baati is
which is from Bihar and an absolute delicacy. A must try!