Friday, March 08, 2013

Cooking with friends : Dhebra

This is the third part of the Sonali Trilogy. 
Every Tuesday,  when Sonali has  a day off from work, she works on the home front.  All working women out there know what I am talking about.
In top gear, she whizzes around the house, cleaning, tidying up, laundry, running errands and  as pre-arranged, we meet at her apartment and she has some nice Gujarati dish for me to taste!

For a while now, I have been pestering her for a hands-on session at making something. 
Since methi (fenugreek) is in season (psssst- we get a big bunch as low as .50 cents! I had discovered that when we first moved here. I actually did the ridiculous Dharmendra dance at getting Methi leaves that cheap! ) We decided on Dhebra. 

For someone who claims that she is not fond of  Gujarati food, Sonali does a fantastic job of cooking all things Guju in her kitchen. 
I arrived, armed with my camera and the desire to learn.

These Dhebras are a great  tea-time snack. I loved rolling up one and nibbling on it with my cup of chai.These  are also good picnic food or lunch-box option.

You Need:
2 cups Wheat flour ( gehun ka atta)
1 cup Bajra flour (pearl millet flour)
1 bunch Methi / Fresh Fenugreek (leaves only)
1 Tbsp. each,  grated Ginger and Garlic
2-3 Green Chilies paste (+/- to taste)
Salt to taste
2-3 Tbsp of chopped Cilantro
Jaggery, a small lump, about the size of a key lime ( traditionally, sugar is used, but  jaggery being a healthier option, I prefer that)
1 Tbsp, Toasted Sesame Seeds
1/2 tsp. Turmeric powder
1/2 tsp. Red chili powder
1 tsp.Ajwain / bishops weed
3 Tbsp oil
Yogurt, whisked-  approx 1 cup, use this measurement as a guide only

Wash the methi/ fenugreek leaves and chop them.
Mix the flours and add all the above  listed ingredients, except the yougurt.
Mix with your hands  to ensure that the chopped methi as well as the spices are well incorporated (see notes)
Now slowly add the whisked yogurt and start making the dough. Be careful when adding the yogurt,the dough has to be a bit stiff. 
Cover and let the dough rest for 10-15 minutes.
When you are ready to start making the dhebras,  heat a skillet on med- high and pinch off a small portion of the dough about the size of a lime.
Dredge it  in wheat flour and roll it, uniformly, into a disk, about 6-7 inches in diameter.
Carefully transfer the flat-bread onto the hot skillet.
As the underside bubbles,turn and flip over to the other side and drizzle a few drops of oil  on top.
Flip and cook the oil smeared side, if you have it, use the 'fulka press' ( the wooden flat headed hammer thingy, as shown in the pictures below). By gently pressing with the 'press', till brown spots form on the underside. 
Drizzle some more oil on top and flip, press and cook till brown spots appear. take off the heat and place on a tissue. 
In the same manner, make dhebras from the remaining dough.
Serve hot off the skillet with a bit of pickle. 
Umm- ummm! 

If you wish to freeze  some dhebras, once cool, place them between sheets of parchment paper and tuck them in a freezer safe bag or container. 

- If you have hard jaggery, you might want to grate it and then add it or add a teaspoon of water to the grated jaggery and nuke it in the microwave for about 25-30 seconds to soften it
- Alternately, just add the grated jaggery to the whisked yogurt and leave it in there for a few minutes to soften.'

- If you have white sesame seeds, just add them to a small sauce pan and toss over medium heat to toast them to a light brown. 

-Because of the  bajra content, these dhebras tend to harden up if kept for long. To soften them, just before eating, place a dhebra between 2 sheets of tissue, dampen the tissue with a wet palm and microwave for 15-20 seconds and serve.

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  1. Lucky you and Sonali. I so badly wish a day off on a weekday to do all girl friend activities. These dhebras look like theplas or is it different. You are one lucky girl, to have such an awesome friend and enjoy your Tuesday afternoon cup of chai. This girl time will keep u both charged the rest do the week, If you know what I am talking about, Specially the S days of the week.
    Love Ash.

    1. Thank you, Ashwini. I am a very lucky girl to have friends who want to spend so much time with me!
      Dhebras are different in the way that they contain Baja flour, which we do not add in Theplas.
      Sonali tells me that wheat flour is traditionally not added. I understood it as a masala bajra bhakri, when she explained it to me.
      But time and experimentation has brought about this change and hence a newer version.

  2. OMG.. mouth watering here.. Awesome clicks dear :)

  3. I want to have a friend like yours and i love that brown gadget she is using too.

    1. Thanks, Finla. That gadget is certainly handy. My Mom had it in Mumbai. I wish I had it here. We do get it in the Indian store here, but the quality is not as good.

  4. Nice recipe & pics but traditional dhebra does not contain any atta or whole wheat flour!

    1. Thanks Aruna, yes, I was given to understand that by my friend. In fact as I understood from her, it is like a masala bhakri.
      This is another version, a modern twist maybe?

  5. Friendsss, the word itself means a to have a friend like you..such a healthy rotis.

  6. Wholesome and delicious looking rotis. Glad to read that both you friends had a great time together.

  7. lovely clicks...Manasi. they luk soo inviting.

  8. are on my favorite food making spree!!! 1st puran poli and now dhebra!!!

  9. How delicious- I'll take this savory tea time treat over cookies any day. My theplas always turn out a bit chewy though. No idea why.

    1. Hey Nupur, assuming that you are already adding oil and curd, You can try increasing their amount for soft and non chew Dhebra/Thepla...Ideally you should add enough oil, so that when you hold the flour mixed with oil in your feast, it should get a bind. Also while cooking on tawa press and cook nicely on both sides by applying oil on both the sides...

    2. Nupur, I am just guessing, but flour may also play an important role. Recently I used multi-grain atta (pillsbury) and it was horrid. My fulkas were chewy, tough.
      Secondly, oil. If you use very little oil, specially when the thepla is on the tawa, it might turn chewy.

  10. an all time favorite and this is on the menu EVERY WEEK ya every week in our house

    1. I am going to start on making these every week too, tasty bhi, healthy bhi!

  11. Haha, the Dharmendra dance, of course. I had a good laugh thinking of you doing it. :) Because I am in a Gujju food mood right now I think I am going to try these very soon. I love these spicy, complex breads filled with veggie goodness.

    1. Thank you Vaishali. I do hope you try this, I would love to see the vegan version.

  12. Wish I could live in the neck of your woods. I am adding Dhebra to the weekly meal plan for this week. It should be out in tonight

  13. We enjoyed this thoroughly with a bowl of yogurt and vegetable pickle. Thanks once again for sharing this recipe. I will make them again.


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