Born and brought up in North India and it was not until I was 7 or 8 years of age and I was visiting Delhi (capital of India) that I had eaten Chole Bhature. Almost feels unbelievable to me specially considering how popular the dish is around the world as a North Indian street food. But as diverse as India is with its regional cuisine and in the day and age with no internet, it wasn’t as easy as today to learn, let alone taste the cuisine of places as close as a few hundred miles away. This suddenly makes me realize how far we have come with making the distances closer with internet, technology and globalization.
Anyway, what I was trying to tell you about was my first encounter with Chole Bhature. A dish that originated in Punjab, northern state of India with one of the most fertile agricultural land in the country. But I got to taste my first chole bhature on the streets of New Delhi, outside Qutab Minar, by a roadside stall. Even as a restless 7 year old who also happened to be a picky eater, that experience was something that is still etched in my brain.
All the hustle and commotion around me, the sounds of street hawkers and that of honking auto rickshaws, aroma of all that mad varieties of food being served around me and me propped on a worn wooden bench with green paint chipping off it. Unirked by the all that going around myself, just going at the puffed steaming bhatura filled with spicy chole served in green leaf dona (bowls made with green leaf). My 7 year old self so impressed by the taste that she is still looking for a retake. So much so that every time I give Chole Bhature recipe a try in my kitchen I rank it against the one I tasted on the streets of Delhi. This one was close!
This Chole Bhature recipe hails from the state of Punjab but has gained popularity across the world. Crispy yet soft bhatura bread is typically paired with spicy chole and served as breakfast and sometimes also for dinner.
- 2 cups all purpose flour+ extra for dusting
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tablespoon kasuri methi optional
- 1/2 cup milk lukewarm
- ½ cup 125 mL plain yogurt
- 1 tsp olive oil + extra cooking oil for deep frying
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
Now mix milk and yogurt together and pour half of it into the well and slowly combine it together. Slowly mixing the ingredients together, add rest of the liquid into the bowl and kneed into a loose (somewhat sticky) dough.
Oil another bowl (or the same bowl but take the dough out before oiling the bowl) with 1 teaspoon oil. Transfer the dough back in the bowl. Cover with a tight lid and set in a dark, warm place for dough to rise. Wait for it to rise to almost double its original size with air pockets inside.
After a few hours, dust your working board, take out the dough and knead it for about 2-3 minutes. Divide the dough into smaller balls (in this case you should get about 8 balls).
Dust the board again and flatten the balls using rolling pin to make oval shapes, approx. 4"long.
Heat oil in a fryer or wok. Carefully drop the flattened dough into the oil and fry. Gently press the bread with a slotted spoon ad it will begin to puff in 5-8 seconds. Flip the bread and fry until the bread is puffed and golden in color.
Serve Hot puffed bhature with Chole Masala.
Rising time for the dough greatly depends on the temperature of the environment. At around 70-75°F (158-167°C) dough takes approx. 6-8 hours. Wait for it to rise to almost double its original size with air pockets inside.