One of the nice things of living away from the home country is that you learn to appreciate the variety of food that it ( home country) offers. The second best is to make it and glorify in the fact that you made it and more importantly, made it well!!
When I was new to this country, I missed the variety of breakfasts / snacks made at home, the time I did not have to think twice about making anything (or how Mom made them) mixes, spices were (are still are) readily available and in the quantity required and the convenience! if we ran out of a couple of items, all we had to do was make a call to the grocery store and they would take the order and have their delivery lad bring those things home and at no extra charge.
Those are the conveniences I miss even today. If I miss out on an item in my shopping, I have to go a mile to get it or make do till the next week or if I need just 1 or 2 cups of something, I have to buy 2 lbs. sigh!
Eep! How did I go from a start of ' nice things' to whine!!? Let me go back on the 'nice' track....
One of my favorite breakfast items is thalipeeth , in fact I like it anytime, breakfast, lunch or dinner. It was one of my favorite lunch box items when in school. I'm sure my Mother also favored this. The flour mix ( BhajaNi) is readily available and all it needs is adding salt, water, chiles, cilantro and onion, or to take a shortcut, water, salt, red chile powder, mix a dough , pat it with your palms/ fingers and shallow fry on a hot skillet and you are set in a matter of 15-20 minutes!
A friend had given me their stock of bahjaNi when going back to India and after that my Mother got me some packets when she visited and my Mother in Law also got me a couple of packets when she came last year. But those packets weren't much (just 250 gms each) and were polished off in one weekend breakfast.
So finally the MIL came up with a brilliant idea, 'Make your own bahjaNi mix' ! Now we're talking!
So on one weekday she taught me a super easy thalipeeth flour mix.
Here is what you need :
1 Cup Wheat flour (atta)
1 Cup Jowar (Finger Millet flour)
1/2 Cup Urad flour
1/4 EACH Besan and Rice flour
1 small cup (what we can call 'amti vati') full Coriander seeds
1 small cup / amti vati ( take off 2 Tbsp. from top) Jeera / Cumin seeds
In a wok, over med- high heat , individually roast all the flours. Do not mix the flours and then roast
Roast the flours lightly, just until the aroma wafts and they turn a shade or two dark
Roast the coriander seeds
Roast the cumin seeds
Cool the roasted seeds and powder them in a spice mill or coffee grinder
Mix the cumin-coriander powder with the roasted flour and mix thoroughly
Store and use as and when required.
To make Thalipeeth:
I usually pick fistfuls of the flour and proceed.
Take 2-3 hefty fistfuls of the flour mix
Add a tiny drizzle of oil ( 1-2 tsp)
Add salt as per taste
Add finely chopped green chile or red chile powder to taste
Add finely chopped onion (1/2 medium sized onion)
Add finely chopped cilantro
I usually eyeball the ingredients, this is a very easy and forgiving recipe. Tastes great every time.
Add water slowly to make a dough that is not too soft but pliable.
Divide the dough into balls (2-3 big sized or 4-6 to make smaller thalipeeth)
Smear oil or spray oil on a non-stick griddle and pat a ball of dough on it, using palms and fingers, lightly pat the dough in to a circle ( I make thin thalipeeth) make a hole in the center and add a small drizzle of oil
Switch on the stove ( med-high heat) and cover and cook
My MIL cooks the thalipeeth on one side only. This makes the thalipeeth very soft and no, the dough does not remain uncooked.
Covering and cooking over a medium flame / heat setting ensures that it is fully cooked.
I prefer cooking on both sides, however, I too like my thalipeeth soft and so, I cook it on the second side briefly, just until the side is lightly blistered
Serve hot with a pat of freshly churned butter (loNi or makkhan) or a pat of butter and a side of pickle or thick home made yogurt
I use a pizza slicer to make wedges of the thalipeeth and serve with both butter and yogurt, my guests can choose the accompaniment they want.
I am thinking of re-visiting some of my old recipes and posting different versions that I have tried and liked. Do you all have any special recipes that you have re-visited or re-evaluated?