A delectable dish for North Indians, especially Punjabis, Bhatura or Pathoora (as it is called in Punjab) is easy to prepare at home. Eaten in combination with Chole (chana), potatoes and/or mango-pickle, bhatura is a type of fermented and fried bread that is known for its puffiness.
It is made sour by means of yeast, curd, and baking soda; more the fermentation, more sour is the taste. It is generally flavored with fennel and carom (ajwain) seeds. They are made to serve when hot, as, when cold, they become too hard to chew or bite. Unlike other dishes which require cumbersome processes, bhatura-making is a relatively easier task. You can make them at home; go through the following food guide:
Basic Ingredients To Make Bhatura
1 cup of all purpose flour (maida)
2 cups wheat flour
A pinch of baking soda
150 ml of yoghurt or yeast
Two tablespoonful of sugar
Salt to taste
A tablespoon of butter
Oil for frying
Steps of Preparation
Sieve both all purpose flour and wheat flour. Mix them with butter; in a separate container, mix yoghurt, sugar, and baking soda. Add this to the mix of flours; add some water and knead to make smooth dough. Also add a pinch of salt before starting kneading. Make sure that the dough is firm enough to make bhaturas. Oil your hands and smooth the dough manually.
Cover the dough with a damp piece of cloth and keep it aside overnight. A total of 7-8 hours are also enough for fermenting the mixture. The fermentation can be seen with the appearance of the bubbles coming to the surface. This indicates that the dough is ready to be fried. Upon fermentation, the amount of the mix almost doubles.
Dividing and Rolling:
Divide the whole dough into a number of small balls. Roll down each of the ball to give it a chapatti (roti) like shape. Instead of circular, you can also give the typical oval shape of bhaturas. Use roller pin for this.
In a frying pan, pour cooking oil; do not fill it to the brim of the pan but make sure that each of the rolled chapattis gets immersed in it. Properly heat the oil. In order to test weather oil is hot enough to make bhaturas, take a small piece of the dough and put it in hot oil. If the piece does not rise quickly to the surface, heat the oil more.
After the optimum temperature is reached, start by adding a rolled bhatura into the oil. Do this gently as putting it vigorously will make the oil splash which can be dangerous for your skin. Keep on pouring the heated oil from pan onto the upper surface of the bhatura. After a few seconds, turn over the bhatura. Be careful this time also so as to prevent the spilling of oil. After both sides have turned golden brown, take it out, but do not forget to drain the extra oil.
After the first bhatura is cooked, sim the gas flame and continue the procedure for other ones. Keep the cooked bhaturas over a newspaper so as to drain out the excess oil dripping from them. Serve them with chole, curd, and mango pickle.
Procedure for Stuffed Bhaturas
Some people like to eat bhaturas stuffed with minced meat and spices. The method of preparing the dough is same as above. In order to make the meat filling, you need to have the following ingredients:
500 gms of minced meat
125 gms of curd
½ tablespoon of ginger, garlic, and chilly powder each
1 spoonful of coriander powder
½ tablespoon of lime juice
To prepare the filling, first season the minced meat with garlic and ginger paste, red chilli, chopped onions, and curd. Keep aside for about an hour. Make the dough as described in above steps. Roll down two balls of dough with roller pin. On one of them, spread the filling prepared earlier. Cover this with the second rolled dough. Moisten the sides so as to seal the two circular shapes properly. This is done to avoid leakage of the filling from any portion. Roll this stuffed bhatura once more. Heat oil in pan and put bhatura in it. Deep fry it until it becomes light brown. Serve hot.
You can also use some vegetarian filling if you like. Also, while making dough, adding some grated cheese or egg makes the bhaturas more soft and puffy. Do not overcook bhatura or else it will mar the taste.