From The World’s Best Street, Lonely Planet, 2012.
Kneading bread is an activity I enjoy. The pounding of the dough gives a satisfaction like no other cooking method. I had not made batura previously but thought I’d give it a go.
One teaspoon of yeast and a good pinch of ground ginger were mixed together in a small bowl with 2 tablespoons warm water. Now 2 cups flour, a tablespoon oil, 2 tablespoons yoghurt and ½ teaspoon salt were mixed together and the yeast mixture added. This should make a dough according to the recipe but I found that a little water had to be added to make the ingredients hold together. Once it had joined well I kneaded it for some 10 minutes and then left it in an oiled bowl for 6 hours.
Meanwhile the chole was made. An onion was chopped and fried in 2 tablespoons ghee until it had softened. Two chopped garlic cloves and about a teaspoon grated ginger were added to the onion with a pinch of salt for a couple of minutes. The recipe now called for 2 peeled and chopped tomatoes to be added, however I felt that the spices should now go in to release their oils before the tomatoes. So, I added a teaspoon of hot chilli powder, a teaspoon ground coriander, ¼ teaspoon turmeric and ¼ teaspoon garam masala. The mixture was now fried for another 2 minutes and the tomatoes were then included and cooked for another 5 minutes.
A can of drained chickpeas were added with a tablespoon tamarind puree and ½ cup hot water. The mixture was now simmered for about 10 minutes and was then placed aside until the batura was cooked.
After the dough had risen it was beaten down and given another knead. It was now formed into small balls that were rolled out thinly. Oil was heated until very hot and the rolled out discs added one at a time and pressed down to be submerged in the oil. It puffed up reasonably well. I had hoped that it would make purse shapes that could be filled but I didn’t quite achieve that although it was close. The batura was crispy on the outside with soft interiors.
The chole was eaten with it to be, in this case, more scooped up with the bread rather than added into the pockets.
Despite having no bread pockets this was a very satisfying dish. The chole was spicy and hot and the batura a perfect way to scoop it up. It had a lightness and a crispness that was very enjoyable.
Ease of cooking: ✔✔