Monday, February 4, 2013

Bhatura (Puffed Yogurt Bread)

My friend Vicky Mahtani made these bhaturas for us a few years ago, and it was heavenly. She taught me her mothers recipe years ago. Through the years as I kept making these Bhaturas (or Vicky’s Bhatura’s as we call them at home) the recipe has changed. 

Bhaturas are usually made with potato (instead of the yogurt used below) and with baking powder and soda (instead of the yeast used in this recipe). However, these changes give it a fluffy and soft texture that is hard to resist! Serve with Chana Masala and you will be in heaven!

Prep time: 10 minutes (plus one hour for the dough to rise)
Cook time: 1–2 minutes per Bhatura
Makes 16 

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

3 tablespoons warm water

1 cup plain yogurt
Vegetable oil, for frying

  1. In a large mixing bowl mix flour, salt and 1 tablespoon oil with your hands, until it resembles the texture bread crumbs.
  2. In a small bowl stir yeast and water until completely dissolved.
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the yogurt and yeast mixture. Knead into the flour until the dough collects into a sticky mass. Add little water if needed to still combine the dough.
  4. Coat your hands with a tablespoon of oil and knead the dough until shiny and not too sticky, for about 10 minutes.
  5. Tightly cover the bowl with shrink wrap and let it rest for an hour or more in a cool dark place (I put it in an unheated oven).
  6. When the dough has risen or doubled in volume, punch down the dough, knead gently and divide into 16 equal portions.
  7. Preheat oil in a deep frying pan and roll each ball into 6-inch circles.
  8. When the oil is hot, gently slip each disc into the oil. Press the Bhatura with a slotted spoon a few times to help it puff up. Turn in 10 seconds and let it cook for another 5 seconds. Remove using a slotted spoon and drain excess oil on a paper towel.

Deep Frying Tips: Choose a deep, very heavy bottomed skillet to fry with. Add oil to the cold pan, leaving a headspace, or space at the top of the pan, of at least two inches. This allows a safety margin when the oil bubbles up as the food is added.
Make sure the food you are going to fry is dry. Letting it sit on paper towels, or coating it in flour or bread crumbs is a good way to ensure this.
The oil is ready when a piece of bread dropped into the oil rises to the top and browns in 60 seconds.
Do not over crowd the pan! This will drop the temperature of the oil.
Do not reuse the cooking oil. Let the oil cool completely and then discard.

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