Sometimes the obvious is staring you in the face but it takes a teacher to point you in the right direction. For me the problem was getting the Baatis right and the teacher was the Vah-re-Vah chef (fabulous website, great recipes). Baatis are a rustic bread from North India – specifically Rajasthan/UP/MP. They are a “quick bread” as they are very easy to put together and can be made over an open fire. For that reason and for their long shelf life, they found favor as a travel food in olden days. Traditionally eaten with Daal (a Lentil soup), they can also be had with some Ghee (clarified butter) and Gud (jaggery).
This was the picnic food of my childhood and on a recent trip to Rajasthan, India, I had the good fortune of sampling Baatis from the source, and I was ready to try making them at home when I returned home to Dallas. Now whenever, I have tried to make Baatis in the past, I have failed miserably. The bread has turned out tough, inedible. So conscious of past failures I started looking for recipes. Two things became obvious to me very quickly.
1. Baatis need to be crumbly – you cannot let gluten form – so use less water and knead the dough minimally – Vahrevah chef reminded me of this.
2. The best Baatis are soft – Adding some baking soda and cornmeal helps – The Baati chef in Rajasthan taught me that.
Armed with this knowledge, I set out on my Baati quest. I decided to make some Daal to eat with it. While the Baatis turned out well, the Daal was a fail. Hence the reason for the title of this post. Without further ado, here is the Baati recipe
INGREDIENTS (for 5 Baatis)
1 cup whole wheat flour aka Aataa (Rant alert – BTW why do packets of whole wheat flour say “Atta” in Indian Stores? To the best of my knowledge the pronunciation is “aataa”. What language is “Atta”? Punjabi?)
1/2 cup semolina aka Rava
1 Tbsp Besan – Chickpea Flour
1 Tbsp Cornmeal
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
2 Tbsp Ghee (clarified butter)
1 tsp salt
1. Mix all the ingredients.
2. With a little water make the dough. Use just enough enough water for the dough to form.
3. DO NOT work the dough too hard.
4. Make golf ball sized dough balls and flatten them.
5. Bake at 450F in a preheated oven for 15 mins. Then flip and bake for 5 mins more.
6. Crumble the baked Baati, top with Ghee and Daal and enjoy hot.