bhaturas

Nik Sharma

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Bhaturas | Nik Sharma

As promised here is my recipe for bhaturas that must be eaten with the chole. Bhaturas are a type of leavened deep-fried bread that are made using baking powder and yogurt. The yogurt not only helps with the softer texture and fermentation but it also leaves a delicious tangy edge which makes this bread a pure delight to eat.

A few kitchen notes;

  • Do not use a spider when maneuvering the bhaturas in the hot oil, the spiky edges as I learned will rip the puffy tops of the bread. A smooth rounded slotted spoon is your friend here.

  • For a crispier texture, substitute 1/2 cup [70g] of the all-purpose flour used in the starter with 1/2 cup [80g] semolina.

  • I’m using a temperature of 110F[43C] because this is the best temperature at which lactobacilli in yogurt grow (see Homemade Yogurt).

  • The combined action of heat, baking powder, and carbon dioxide produced by the lactobacilli fermentation will help the bread turn puffy.

  • Keeping the bread submerged by applying gentle pressure using the slotted spoon will help increase the puffiness of the bread. If the puffiness is uneven on the surface, press the sides that are puffy, this will help the flat sides puff up. Sifting the dry ingredients before they meet the wet ingredients helps to mix the baking powder all through to help with puffiness.

  • The ideal color for a bhatura is light golden-brown. If you look at my last photo above in the panel, you could go a shade lighter (I like that little speckled look on my bhaturas).

bhaturas

You will need to plan ahead of time to prepare the starter. I recommend setting the starter and the chickpeas the night before so you can cook them and eat them the day they’re prepared. The amount of oil you need to fry the bhaturas will depend on the width of your pot or saucepan. I usually find 2 cups [480ml] to be sufficient. but you might need more. These breads are best eaten as soon as they come off the stove or at least within an hour while they remain warm.

makes 14

for the starter

1/2 cup [70g] all-purpose flour

1/2 cup [120g] plain yogurt

1 Tbsp sugar

For the dough

1 3/4 cups [245g] all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 Tbsp neutral oil such as grapeseed oil

1/4 cup [60 ml] water at 110F[43C]

neutral oil such as grapeseed for frying

Prepare the starter by mixing the 1/2 cup [70g] all-purpose flour, yogurt, and sugar to form a smooth mixture with a fork until there are no lumps in a small container. Cover with a lid and leave aside to ferment in a warm spot (preferably at 110F [43C]) for at least 16 hours, maximum 24 hours. The starter will smell pleasantly sour like fresh yogurt.

The next day, when ready to prepare the dough, sift the 1 3/4 cups [245g] all-purpose flour, salt and baking powder over the bowl of a stand mixer. Dry whisk the mixture with the paddle attachment using low speed just to mix the ingredients. Add the starter to the flour and set the speed to low, add the 2 Tbsp oil, then slowly start to add the water 1 Tbsp at a time, till the dough starts to come together. Removed the paddle attachment and switch to the dough hook. Continue to knead the dough for 8 minutes on low speed, till it turns smooth and pliable. Stop the mixer, scrape the dough out of the bowl and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Shape the dough into a large ball, cover with a bowl or with a damp kitchen towel, and let the dough rest for 3 hours.

Once the dough is rested, divide the dough into 14 equal parts by weight and shape each into a small ball. Roll each ball of dough into a flat 5 inch [12 cm] circle.

While the bread is rolled out, heat the oil in a medium saucepan, kadai or wok over medium-high heat. Set a tray or large plate lined with a wire rack or absorbent paper or kitchen towels. When the oil reaches 350F[180C] as read on an instant-read digital thermometer, add one piece of rolled out circle of dough into the hot oil, the bread will rise to the top and start to turn puffy. As the bread cooks, use a slotted spoon to apply gentle pressure and keep the bread submerged under the oil, this will force the air inside the bread to expand and puff the bread up. Once the bread puffs up, about 1 minute, flip the bread and cook on the second side till it bread puffs up like a big balloon, about 45 seconds. Remove the fried bread and transfer to the tray. The bread should have a light golden brown color. Serve immediately or keep warm until ready to eat.

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