I Love My India.
India- a culture rich, heritage rich country. And the richness only continues when it comes to food. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, every state has its own set of traditional and gotta have foods. These wonderful foods have many times been conversation starters and one common language connecting strangers.
Let's say you're stuck in the elevator with a bunch of strangers and you just realize that you are going to be stuck in there for at least another hour. Obviously you break the ice and start conversing. Within minutes, you'll be talking about biriyani with the guy from Hyderabad and about Rasagolla with the guy from Calcutta. Oh yes, the Madrasi glorifies his dosa and the Punjabi just won't stop thinking about his mom's Makki Di Roti and Sarson ka saag. We Indians identify ourselves with our food. We work hard so we can get home and have a hot steaming plate of warm inviting food. It all boils down to that. It is this food that connects us all.
And this is what I'm going to be blogging about in the next few months. Here's the plan. I pick a state randomly. I pick some of the most popular foods in that state. I get my friends together from that state who make this food traditionally in their households. And we cook together. I learn these wonderful dishes from them and I get to take pictures and share the experience with you. You all view and enjoy this and hopefully leave me a comment on your experiences with this food or state. Sounds like a plan? Let's get started.
The first state on my radar is the Land of the Kings... Rajasthan. And the first dish that comes to mind when you think Rajasthan is Daal Baati. And the next thing that comes to my mind is my friend Hemal. Just because she's made this like a zillion times for us and we love it. So, we planned and she came over and we made a big batch in my kitchen. Thanks Hemal for patiently making this with me!
Before I get into making the batis, here's the prep work for the dal.
This is a kind of panchmel dal. This dal uses 5 different types of lentils. You can use any dal you have at home. Here's what I used -
1/3 cup toor dal
1/3 cup moong dal
1/3 cup masoor dal
1/3 cup channa dal
1/3 cup urad dal
Wash and pressure cook all the dals together and set aside.
Now coming to the baatis. Here's what goes inside them -
Equal quantities of Coarse Wheat Flour and Corn Meal. We were making a big batch and used about 1 1/2 cups each. Please adjust your quantities accordingly. With our measurements we got about 50 batis.
Coarse Wheat - 1 cup
Corn Meal - 1 cup
Atta - 3/4 cup
Salt - to taste
Baking Powder - 1/4 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Ajwain Seeds - 1 heaped tbsp
Ghee - 1-2 tbsp
Mix all the ingredients together. Traditionally baatis use a lot of ghee but we are kind of doing a diet version on the ghee here.
Add all the seasonings.
Using warm water, make a firm dough on the flours. I used my kitchenaid which made the process effortless. If you have a food processor, that works great too. If not just ask your macho man to make the dough for you.
Add the warm water a little by little to make the dough.
This is the consistency we are looking for.
Just press down on the dough a few more times to kind of bring it together. Take small rounds of the dough and press them between your palms and kind of make them into a smooth ball first. And then flatten them and press down a little indent at the center. Just like how my friend did it here.
Now there are a couple of ways to cook this. We used the more modern slightly healthier method below. The other more traditional and heavier on the calorie part method is to deep fry these in ghee. Yes, you read it right. Deep fry in ghee. No, I won't go there. I Love My India, yes, but I also love my heart. And out of respect for that, I'll stick to my more modern healthier method.
Once you make the baatis, treat them similar to bagels and boil them in water till they partially cook and start floating on top.
Remove all the water from the baatis and place on a baking tray that has been coated with a little ghee.
Now here's the richness part. Add few drops of ghee on top of each baati. Bake in a pre heated oven at 375 F for about 25-30 mins. Flip them in about 20 mins when one side starts to brown a little.
Bake them until they look done and have nice gentle brown crusts on either side of the baatis.
Using a clean cloth, just hold each of the baatis and break it up a little. This is done to keep the baatis soft or they will harden up and you can use them as hockey pucks. That won't be much fun ye.
And since we did stick to the healthier method, add a little more - maybe about a tbsp of ghee on top of the baatis. These are thirsty for ghee but remember this is still better than deep frying them in oil.
Baatis are ready. That seemed easy right. Who knew!
Now let's get the dal ready for soaking up the baatis.
Take a wide pan. Add about 1 tbsp ghee ( I know..more ghee...oh those Rajasthanis and their love for ghee!) And then add -
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin Seeds (Jeera) -1 tsp
Bay Leaves - 3-4
Cloves - a few
Fresh chopped ginger - about 1 tsp
Fresh chopped garlic - about 1 tsp
Fresh chopped green chillies - 1 tsp
Add everything to the hot ghee and fry for a min.
Next up, add some finely chopped Onions - about 1/2 cup and saute well.
Add 1 tsp of turmeric powder and mix well.
Next, add the cooked 5 dal to the pan.
While the dal is cooking, add about 1/2 tsp of jaggery (Gud) to the mix.
Then almost towards the end, add about 1 fresh chopped tomato. Mix well and cook for a few mins.
Finally add fresh chopped cilantro and an absolutely wonderful, flavorful dal is ready.
Get your baatis in order. Enjoy their prettiness while you do it.
Pour some delicious dal over it.
Sprinkle some sugar on top.
Sprinkle some chaat masala on top.
And finally, add a few drops of warm ghee on top. You know that was just coming, right?
Enjoy Rajasthani's total delicacy dish. And remember, I Love My India!
See you soon with another wonderful Rajasthani dish. If you have any suggestions on what I should make - add a comment here now!
Enjoy. Peace Out!