Chole Bhature is a popular dish from the Punjabi cuisine in Northern India, where a Chickpeas curry, called Chole (Cho-lay), is served with a puffed, deep-fried bread, called Bhatura (Buh-too-ray). Growing up, Chole-Bhature used to be our regular Sunday brunch. This happens to be my kid’s favorite Indian vegetarian meal, and it has now become a tradition in our home, to make it for our Diwali dinner. We like to enjoy it with some sweet and spicy lemon pickle. Yum!
Punjabi Chole, is Chickpeas curry, where Chickpeas, also called Garbanzo beans or Chana (in Hindi), are soaked overnight to re-hydrate, and then cooked with fresh onions, ginger, garlic and seasoned with a unique spice blend of garam masala, Anardana (Pomegranate) Powder, and amchur (dry mango powder), which gives it an earthy and slightly tart taste! Alternatively, you can use Canned Chick Peas and make this dish in under 30 minutes.
Bhatura or Deep-Fried Bread
Bhatura, is a fluffy deep-fried bread from the northern Indian region. It is the yin to the yan of chole in the chole bhature. It is typically made with a dough of all-purpose flour, yogurt, oil and spices. I have a simple recipe for making home-made Bhatura, that requires some time and muscle power, but I promise you, it’s worth it. I knead the dough to a semi-soft consistency, and then let it rest to achieve some fermentation. The rested dough is kneaded again, divided into small portions, and each portion is rolled out into a circular shape, using a Rolling Pin on any flour-dusted flat surface, like a granite counter-top, or a large wooden board. I then deep fry these discs till they puff up with steam and are golden brown.
My tried and tested, semi-home-made trick for Bhatura
I’ve been making home-made pizza for over a decade now. When I don’t have time, I typically end up buying fresh, ready-made dough, from the produce section of Trader Joe’s, or a local Pizzeria. It’s as good as the home-made dough, minus the work. Since the dough consistency and process is so similar to Bhatura recipe, one day I ended up deep-frying pizza dough to test out the results. All I can say is, “BULLSEYE!!” Since then, I alternate between both kinds. I have to say, pizza dough works so much better and faster for a weeknight festivity, or, when I am entertaining. Off lately, I have started buying the Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough from Trader Joe’s. It’s healthier, has more fiber than the regular dough, plus we love the taste. Try it sometime!
Most kinds of Indian flatbreads have to be rolled out in a circular disc shape. And that takes time and practice to perfect. But, if rolling the dough isn’t your thing, you can easily get perfectly round Bhature using this cool gadget, Electric Tortilla Maker. It makes the process so much smoother and faster. Simply place the dough ball in the top center of the flat plate, press down once, press down again and lift. And you’ll have an evenly rolled out (or pressed down) circular shaped Bhatura in under 10 seconds. I use this to make Puris too!
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Chole Bhature is a popular dish from the Punjabi cuisine in Northern India, where a Chickpeas curry, called Chole (Cho-lay), is served with a puffed, deep-fried bread, called Bhatura (Buh-too-ray). Growing up, Chole-Bhature used to be our regular Sunday brunch.
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup soozi (semolina)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 3/4 cup plain yoghurt
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or any clear oil
- 1/2 cup water : lukewarm. Quantity varies based on water content of yogurt, temperature etc.
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil : for rubbing on to the prepared dough
- vegetable oil or peanut / canola oil for deep frying
- 3 tablespoons flour for dusting
- Store bought fresh pizza dough
Make Dough: Sift the all purpose flour into a large mixing bowl. Add all ingredients listed under 'Dough', except yogurt and water. Mix with a fork. Add yogurt and few tablespoons of water at a time and knead into a semi-soft dough. I find it much easier to use my Food Processor to make dough. Rub 1 teaspoon oil on the surface of the dough so that it doesn't dry out. Cover the dough with a wet paper towel and let it rest for 2 hours or so. If it's winter-time, keep the dough in a closed oven (oven should be off). That helps maintain a consistent temperature, allowing the dough to ferment evenly. Alternatively, use a store-bought pizza dough to skip this step. It's tastes just like a Bhatura.
Roll out Bhaturas: Knead the dough for about 20 seconds. Divide the dough into 15 portions for a small sized Bhatura, or, 8 portions, for a medium size Bhatura. Shape the portions into a ball. Dust the rolling pin and surface with some plain flour and start rolling the dough ball. Start at the center of the dough and roll stretching it outwards, in all directions. Roll into a circular shaped disc. I find it much easier to use an Electric Tortilla Maker for this step.
Fry Bhatura: In a wide wok or a deep pan, heat oil for frying. Drop a small piece of dough to test the temperature of oil. If it pops up and floats on the top immediately, the oil is ready, if not, wait few more minutes. Very carefully, lower the Bhatura into the oil. It should puff up almost immediately. Wait a few seconds before flipping it. Let it fry a few seconds on this side, till both sides are puffy and golden brown. Remove Bhatura on a paper-towel lined plate. That will help soak up any excess oil. Repeat the process and fry all Bhaturas.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates. If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.