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Your Guide to North Indian Bread

Your Guide to North Indian Bread

Kulcha bread, one type of North Indian bread (photo by Creative Commons user Jasonlam)

Sid Khullar | Chef's Blade

Bhatura

Bhaturas are one of my all time favorites. Usually thick and soft, they can be crispy too and are traditionaly eaten with one of many varieties of chickpea curry. Refined flour forms the base for this bread, which is leavened with yoghurt and yeast and flavored with a little sugar and salt. After rising, the dough is rolled out and pulled from one side to make it slightly elongated, after which it is deep fried in hot oil.

Puri

Puris are made using the same dough as that for the Roti. The only difference is that a little oil is added and the Puri dough needs to be stiff as opposed to soft for the Roti. After allowing the dough to rest for 30 – 90 minutes, the dough is taken off the main mass in a hunk, rolled into a ball, a corner dipped in oil and then rolled in a circular shape to about 4 inches in diameter. When frying, the Puri must inflate and swell out, which is usually accomplished by tossing hot oil over it from the pan in which it’s being fried. When lightly brown on top, it is taken out and drained. Puris are usually eaten with potato or chicken pea curry. In some parts of India, puris are also eaten with a sweet mango puree or semolina halva (a sweet dish made using clarified butter, nuts and roasted semolina)

Another variation is the Luchi. Using the same dough as the Puri, it usually more than 2 feet across, sometimes nearly a meter in diameter. Luchis are made on festive occasions and obviously require special utensils for the oil and for retrieval. Quite light in texture, they are shallow fried, not deep fried like the Puri.

Sheermaal

Sheermaal is a baked flatbread from ethnic Muslim cuisine. It is made using a dough comprising refined flour, milk, a pinch of salt, sugar, clarified butter (ghee) and Vetivier (kewda). This dough is rolled into circular shape about 2 – 3mm thick. The saffron is mixed with some warm milk and used to brush the bread from time to time when it’s baking in the oven. This gives the bread its characteristic orangish yellow color. When done the sheermaal must be brushed with some white (freshly churned) butter and served immediately.

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