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 or Chana 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.
Note that, Punjabi Chole are different from Indian Chana Masala (recipe).
Bhatura Recipe | Indian Fry Bread Recipe
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 homemade 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.
I then knead the rested dough again and divide into small portions. I then roll out each portion into a circular shape, using a Rolling Pin on any flour-dusted flat surface, like a granite countertop, or a large wooden board. Finally, I deep fry these rolled-out discs till they puff up with steam and are golden brown.
Shortcut for Bhatura Recipe
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!
How to roll out the perfect shape for Bhatura
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!
Bhatura Recipe (Indian Fry Bread)
- 2 cups all purpose flour (maida) see notes for variations
- ¼ cup fine semolina (sooji)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or any clear oil + 1 teaspoon for rubbing on to the prepared dough
- ¾ cup plain yogurt (I use 2% low-fat yogurt)
- ⅓-½ cup water : lukewarm - quantity varies based on water content of yogurt, temperature etc.
For Deep Frying
- vegetable oil or peanut / canola oil
- 3 tablespoons flour for dusting
Shortcut for Semi-Homemade Bhatura
- 1 lb store bought fresh pizza dough
Make Dough - Use a Stand Mixer or Knead by Hand
- Attach the dough hook to your stand mixer. Sift the flour into the mixing bowl of your stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl if kneading by hand). Add sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder and mix for 30 seconds to combine. Add oil and mix well into the flour.
- Add yogurt and mix it in the dough for 30 seconds, until well combined.
- Turn the mixer on the lowest speed and start adding water, a few tablespoons at a time. Keep scrapping the sides of the bowl. Knead into a semi-soft dough. Continue kneading until a soft dough ball forms incorporating all the flour. If kneading by hand, follow the same process until a soft dough ball is formed.
- Knead the dough for 5 minutes in your stand mixer, or for 7 to 8 minutes if kneading by hand, until a smooth dough is formed.
- Rub 1 teaspoon oil on the surface of the dough so that it doesn't dry out. Cover the dough with a wet kitchen towel and let it rest for 1 hour. During the winter, keep the dough in a closed oven (oven should be off) to maintain a consistent temperature, allowing the dough to ferment evenly.
Make & Fry Bhatura
- Place a a large wok or dutch oven on medium-high heat on your stove. Add enough oil to fill the bottom 2-inches of your pan. Knead the dough for about 20 seconds. Divide it into 8 portions for a medium-sized bhatura, or 6 portions for large. Rolling in your palms, shape the portions into a ball.
- Add a few tablespoons of flour in a plate for dusting. Spread some oil on the rolling pin and surface. Toss the dough ball in flour and dust off any excess. Place it in the center of the rolling surface and start rolling from the center of the dough, stretching it outwards.
- Rotate the dough 45 degrees and repeat. Dust it in flour if it sticks. But be careful not to over flour. Keep rolling until you reach an even 6 to 7-inch circular or oval shaped disc. Note: A convenient alternative to hand rolling is using an Electric Tortilla Maker for this step. Follow the directions of your model and roll out bhatura discs.
- To check the temperature of the oil, drop a small piece of dough into it. If it pops up and floats on the top immediately, the oil is ready. If not, wait a few more minutes. Very carefully, lower the bhatura into the oil.
- Gently tap it with a ladle so that it gets fully submerged in the oil.
- It should puff up within seconds. Wait a few more seconds, then flip it.
- Let it fry a few seconds on the second side, till both sides are puffed 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. Enjoy with punjabi chole.
Notes & Recipe Tips
- Use all-purpose and/or whole wheat flour. This is more about personal preference. Sometimes I do 100% all-purpose, 50/50 all-purpose and whole wheat or 100% whole wheat. Use any ratio to suit your needs.
- Take a shortcut with store-bought pizza dough. Pizza dough's flavor, texture and consistency come close to homemade bhatura. Pick up a 1-lb package from your local pizzeria or Trader Joe's. Whole wheat pizza dough is another great option.
- Replace the water with milk for a softer bhatura. The milk will tenderize the dough even more. Whole, 2% or 1% will all work here.
- No yeast required. The method of bhatura without yeast draws from the traditional Indian method to draw natural yeast from the air (similar to a sourdough starter). In Hindi, this is known as making a 'khameer'. The bacteria in the yogurt (curd) aids in the fermentation process, too.
- Allow to sit for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours. Some time is required for natural fermentation to occur. As with all fermented doughs, the longer the dough ferments, the more flavor the dough will develop. Let the dough rest for at least 1 hour an dup to 4 hours before frying.