Sunday, January 10, 2010

10 ways of eating wheat in India

One Page Cookbooks
10 ways of eating wheat in India
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1.: Unleavened flatbreads Sample Recipe : Chappati Take a cup of whole wheat flour. Add two pinches of salt. Gradually mix in half a cup of water and knead to a smooth dough, adding more water if required. Rest for 30 minutes. Pinch off lemon sized balls, roll into thin rounds and cook both sides on a hot skillet till brown spots appear all over.

Wheat is the staple food of almost all of North India. It is eaten in a variety of different ways as listed here.

Unleavened flatbreads: This is by far the most popular bread across north India, eaten twice or even thrice a day. Though unleavened breads made from wheat flour is the most popular and the easiest to work with, a variety of cereal flours (Maize, millets, sorghum, even rice), are used across the country to make flatbreads. Most other flours lack gluten and so cannot be kneaded or rolled out as easily as wheat flour. They are either mixed in with wheat flour or kneaded with boiling water. Boiling water partially cooks them into starch and makes kneading possible. Experiment by mixing various flours with wheat flour to create your own unleavened flatbreads.

Fried unleavened flatbreads: Though chiefly made from wholewheat flour, eastern India prefers all purpose flour and the recipe becomes a luchi. A variety of stuffings can be used to create numerous ftuffed pooris / luchis. A smaller, thicker version of a Poori called Kachori is popular in east India.

Leavened breads: Fermenting, baking and leavening were techniques Indian cuisine learnt from Central Asia. Leavened breads are usually baked in a tandoor. They can be made from all purpose flour ( Naan) or from whole wheat flour ( Tandoori Roti). A kind of sour dough bread which is yeast leavened ( Khameeri roti) is also cooked in a Tandoor. When the leavened all purpose dough is cooked on a skillet, it is called a Kulcha. Leavened breads can also be deep fried ( Bhatura / Badshahi naan). They can also be stuffed with a variety of additives and baked (stuffed naan) or cooked on a skillet ( stuffed kulcha)..

Layered / stuffed unleavened flatbreads: Indian cuisine discovered that a thick flatbread can be made edible without leavening by stuffing it or layering it like a puff pastry. With this discovery arose a huge range of stuffed parathas and layered parathas. Layered parathas are popular across the country. In the south they are called parota and are made from all purpose flour. In some places these are deep fried to make a crumbly, flaky bread.

Crepes Thin crepes from a wheat flour batter (whole wheat flour or all purpose flour) are eaten in south India as a kind of dosa and in Orissa as chakuli. It is usually eaten with a variety of chutneys. A variety of flours like rice flour, semolina can be mixed in to produce a range of different crepes.

Wheat grit porridge : Wheat grits / semolina is cooked as the popular Upma in south. A sweet version called sooji Halwa is popular in the north as a dessert

Shopping List

1kg : Whole wheat flour ( atta), all purpose flour ( maida), Oil

250 gms : Salt, ghee, butter, paneer, yogurt

100 gms : Chili powder, baking powder, cashew, raisins.

2.: Fried unleavened flatbreads Sample Recipe: Poori: Prepare the dough and roll out thin circles as above. Heat two cups oil. Slide the dough round and deep fry both sides till puffed and golden. Drain oil and serve.

3.: Layered flatbreads Sample Recipe : Lachcha paratha Knead dough as in recipe #1. Pinch off a tomato sized ball and roll out into a large thin sheet. Smear liberally with ghee. Cut up the sheet with a pizza cutter into 10-12 pieces. Stack the pieces over one another. Flatten with hand and press gently into a thick round. Cook both sides on a hot skillet over medium flame drizzling with butter/ ghee. Once ready, place the edges of your hands on either side of the paratha. Bring them sharply together, crushing it and separating the layers.

4.: Stuffed unleavened flatbreads Sample Recipe : Paneer Paratha Prepare dough as in recipe #1. Take a handful of grated paneer. Mix in two pinches each of salt & chili powder. Shape into lemon sized balls. Pinch off a tomato sized ball of dough and roll out into a disc. Place a ball of stuffing in the center. Gather the edges of the dough together, enclosing the stuffing. Flatten with palm and roll gently into a thick disc. Cook both sides on a hot skillet liberally using butter / ghee.

5.: Leavened flatbreads . Sample Recipe : Naan Take a cup of maida ( all purpose flour). Mix in two pinches each of salt, baking powder and half a cup of yogurt. Add water if needed and knead well. Rest for 10 minutes. Pinch off a tomato sized ball and roll into ovals. Bake in an electric tandoor / tandoor / very hot oven till brown spots appear.

6.: Stuffed leavened flatbreads Sample Recipe : Peshawari Naan Blend half a handful of cashew and raisins to a thick paste.. Make dough as above #5). Pinch off a tomato sized ball. Shape into a cup. Add a lemon sized ball of cashew –raisin paste. Seal in the stuffing, flatten gently with hand and roll into thick ovals. Bake in an electric tandoor / hot oven till brown spots appear.

7.: Skillet cooked leavened flatbreads Sample Recipe : Kulcha Prepare dough as in recipe #5. Pinch off a tomato sized ball of dough and roll out into a thick disc. Cook both sides on a hot skillet over medium flame till brown spots appear all over.

8.:. Fried leavened flatbreads Sample Recipe: Bhatura Prepare dough as in recipe #5. Pinch off tomato sized balls and roll into large thin rounds. Heat three cups of oil in a wide and deep pan. Slide in dough sheet and deep fry till puffed and golden.

9.: Crepes Sample Recipe : Wheat flour Dosa. Take a cup of whole wheat flour / all purpose flour. Mix with a cup of water to a soup like batter. Add more water if needed. Mix in two pinches of salt and baking powder. Heat a non stick skillet. Pour a ladle of batter and spread into a thick / thin round. Cook on medium flame till bubbles appear on top. Flip and cook the other side.

10.: Regional specialties Sample Recipe: Bati: Take a cup of wheat flour, two pinches of cumin, two pinches of salt and a spoon of ghee. Mix in half a cup of water and knead to a stiff dough. Let rest for an hour. Pinch of tomato sized balls, flatten them slightly and bake in a hot oven (200 c) for 10 minute still they brown. Flip them and bake them for 10 minutes more till they brown all over. Let cool. Crush them till the crust breaks, dip in ghee and serve. (Rajasthan).
Make dough as above. Pinch off a tomato sized ball and flatten to a thick disc. Bring 10 cups of water to a boil. Add half a handful of salt. Add the flattened discs and let water come to a boil again. Turn down heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain. Heat two spoons of ghee in a skillet. Add the cooked discs and cook both sides till surface browns all over. (or deep dry both sides till golden). Sindhi Lolo: In recipe #1, use sugar syrup instead of water for kneading the dough. Pinch off tomato sized balls, roll into a thick disc and cook both sides on a medium hot skillet, drizzling with ghee.

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