Monday, 14 March 2016

Zunka Bhakar Recipe / Jhunka Recipe / Bajra Chi Bhakri Recipe / Gram Flour Curry Recipe / Bajra Roti Recipe ~ Flavours of Maharashtra


I never tire writing this that how lucky I am to be born in a country where within every few miles there is a change in cuisine. Countless number of dishes abound this traditionally rich culturally diverse country. I don't think one lifetime is enough to be able to gather knowledge of all the different types of dishes that exist in the nook and cranny of India. I am thankful to the Culinary Hoppers because of whom it has been possible to cook so many different dishes from different regions of India in the realms of my kitchen every single month for the past one year and two months. This time the regional fare to experience was Maharashtrian food and I must say that I loved doing the research online and taking to friends and reading books to know more about the food and the nitty-gritties that go into making it in this particular region.

The selection of dishes to cook and post in the Blog of a particular region becomes so difficult because of the simple reason that one is spoilt for choice and for me, I fall in love with almost all the dishes and find it impossible to select only a few to cook for the Blog Hop. Before coming to the dishes that I am just about to share with you, lets take this quick yet very fulling journey and familiarise  ourselves with the cuisine of Maharashtra. 

Maharashtra has a mammoth culinary wealth, which reflects its years of deep rooted culture and the way of life of different communities who inhabit different parts of this State. Its wonderful to see how so many types of cuisine have not only co-existed but thrived in this State for years together. As a major part of this State lies on the coast of the Arabian sea, culinary wise also Maharashtra is divided in two major sections ~ 1) the coastal and 2) the interior. The Coastal cuisine of Maharashtra primary comprises of the well known Konkani cuisine which again is a combination of Malvani, Gaud Saraswat Bhramin and the popular Goan cuisine. Whereas the interior of Maharashtra called the Vidharbha has its own distinct Varadi cuisine.


Rice is the staple food grain in Maharashtra and this cuisine also sees the use of a wide variety of vegetables. Maharashtrian cuisine is also marked by the use of lots of fish and coconut either fresh or in powdered form are used in many a dishes. Another ingredient indigenous and most rampantly used here is Kokum, a berry with a deep purple hue and which imparts both sweetness and tartness into many a dishes in which it is used. My favourite kokum infused dish is the Sol Kadhi, a very pretty pink colored drink which has amazing digestive properties and I have seen many of my Marathi friends serve Sol Kadhi as a welcome drink .

Dear friends the dish I have chosen for our Blog Hop themed Maharashtrian Cuisine is one very rustic yet a dish which you will find everywhere here. Zunka Bhakar also called Jhunka Bhakri is a main staple of the Varadi cuisine, which can be distinguished by the use of a lot of Besan or Gram Flour. Zunka or the gram flour curry which is eaten along with Bhakri , flat breads made out of Bajra or Jowar mostly. Zunka Bhakar is known for its simplicity and for me coming from a different Indian region, the first experience of this dish was a unique amalgamation of earthy flavours.

My Maharashtrian friends tell me that these two, Zunka Bhakar are a like an eternal pair and have always been served together. Served along with this duo always is a fiery Garlic Chutney or Lasanachi Chutney which actually peps up this dish totally. Finally to mellow down all the sharpness imparted, especially by the garlic chutney a buttermilk drink is also served along with this dish. Mattha or Masala Chaas is a lightly spiced and very refreshing beverage and totally soothes the gut. In this post I am sharing with you a detailed step by step pictorial procedure on how to make Zunka, gram flour curry. The remaining three recipes with pictures will be posted in subsequent posts.

ZUNKA / JHUNKA / GRAM FLOUR CURRY RECIPE ~


Zunka is a very simple curry with gram flour and onions being the two primary ingredients. This gram flour curry has a distinct taste, uses oil in moderate quantity and the only spicy streak in this dish is imparted from the fresh green chillies used . I have found this dish to be a saviour when guests arrive un-announced as it can cooked within no time or I want to add some novelty to my everyday menu. My Maharastrian friends tell me that Zunka Bhakar is a diabetic friendly, fiber rich dish. Comprising primary of whole grains it is a yummy dish to eat especially when you are on a weight watch. For me this dish is a perfect example of the use of humble ingredients to put up a taste bud ticking dish. 


SERVES : 4
CUISINE : MAHARASHTRIAN / INDIAN
TYPE : MAIN COURSE / CURRY / SIDE DISH
TIME : 15 MINUTES PREPARATION + 15 MINUTES COOKING

INGREDIENTS :

FOR THE GHOL / THE WATERY MIXTURE

1) 1 Cup (250 Gms) Besan / Gram Flour / Roasted Chickpea Flour
2) 2 Onions , finely chopped ( should be approximately 1/2 Cup )
3) 1/2 Tsp Red Chilli Powder
4) 1/2 Tsp Turmeric Powder
5) 1 Sprig Curry Leaves
6) 1 Tbsp fresh Coriander Leaves, chopped
7) 1 Cup 250 ml Water ( use more or less to get the desired runny consistency)
8) Salt to taste

FOR THE CURRY

1) 1/2 Tsp Mustard Seeds
2) 1/2 Tsp Cumin Seeds
3) 1/2 Tsp Garlic Paste
4) 1/2 Tsp Ginger Paste
5) 1 Small Onion , chopped ( 2- 3 Tbsp approximately)
6) 1/2 Tsp fresh Green Chillies, chopped
7) 4 Tsp Oil
8) Salt to taste

Cook With Me In Easy Steps ~

To Make The Ghol 

1) In a large mixing bowl take the gram flour.
  • To the gram flour add red chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt, followed by chopped onions, fresh coriander and curry leaves.
  • NOTE : I always chop the curry leaves in my dishes as I feel it not only gets incorporated in the dish nicely but also prevents from popping up as a whole in your mouth, which many people may not like.
  • Add water to the ingredients in the bowl.
  • Using a whisk mix all the ingredients in the bowl.
  • Mix well ensuring that there is no lump remaining in the mixture.
  • You can add more water in order to get a thin liquid of runny consistency.
Your Ghol is now ready. Keep it aside, ready to use.

TO MAKE THE CURRY ~

2) In a wok or thick bottom frying pan add oil. When the oil is hot add the mustard and cumin seeds and allow them to crackle.
  • Once the cumin seeds changes colour and becomes fragrant, add the ginger garlic paste. Saute for a few seconds or till they release their aroma.
  • Add the onions.
  • Follow it up by adding the green chillies
  • Fry the ingredients nicely till the onions become golden brown in colour.
3) Add the Ghol or Gram Flour liquid mixture into the wok. Add salt to taste.
  • Nicely stir and mix all the ingredients in the wok together.
  • Allow the gram flour to cook. You can also cover the wok at this point to allow the gram flour to cook fast. You may cook uncovered too.
  • As the gram flour cooks and the water evaporates the mixture in the wok will thicken. You know when to remove the wok from the burner, when all the water has evaporated. 
  • You can leave the wok with the Zunka curry for a minute and it will thicken further as it cools down. 
  • Transfer from the wok into a serving bowl.
  • Serve hot along with Bhakar or Indian flat breads made of Bajra, Jowar etc. Do not forget to serve sliced onions, whole fresh chillies, garlic chutney and buttermilk drink along with your Zunka or Gram Flour curry.

Pictorial Step By Step Procedure Of Making Zunka ~

1) In a large mixing bowl take the gram flour.


To the gram flour add red chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt, followed by chopped onions, fresh coriander and curry leaves.
NOTE : I always chop the curry leaves in my dishes as I feel it not only gets incorporated in the dish nicely but also prevents from popping up as a whole in your mouth, which many people may not like.

  • Add water to the ingredients in the bowl.

  • Using a whisk mix all the ingredients in the bowl.
  • Mix well ensuring that there is no lump remaining in the mixture.
  • You can add more water in order to get a thin liquid of runny consistency.

Your Ghol is now ready. Keep it aside, ready to use.

TO MAKE THE CURRY ~

2) In a wok or thick bottom frying pan add oil. When the oil is hot add the mustard and cumin seeds and allow them to crackle.

  • Once the cumin seeds changes colour and becomes fragrant, add the ginger garlic paste. Saute for a few seconds or till they release their aroma.
  • Add the onions.
  • Follow it up by adding the green chillies
  • Fry the ingredients nicely till the onions become golden brown in colour.

3) Add the Ghol or Gram Flour liquid mixture into the wok. Add salt to taste.

  • Nicely stir and mix all the ingredients in the wok together.
  • Allow the gram flour to cook. You can also cover the wok at this point to allow the gram flour to cook fast. You may cook uncovered too.
  • As the gram flour cooks and the water evaporates the mixture in the wok will thicken. You know when to remove the wok from the burner, when all the water has evaporated. 
  • You can leave the wok with the Zunka curry for a minute and it will thicken further as it cools down.
  • Transfer from the wok into a serving bowl.
  • Serve hot along with Bhakar or Indian flat breads made of Bajra, Jowar etc. Do not forget to serve sliced onions, whole fresh chillies, garlic chutney and buttermilk drink along with your Zunka or Gram Flour curry.

Bajra Chi Bhakri / Bajra Roti / Indian Flat Bread Made out of Pearl Millet Flour ~


Bajra Roti is an Indian flatbread made out of the flour of Bajra or Pearl Millet Flour. This is gluten free flour and very rich in fibre. Tastes delicious when served with any curry. Making these Flatbreads with bajra flour requires a wee bit practice. As there is no gluten in this flour therefore rolling out the breads needs to be done carefully as cracks might appear all over the bread and finally the bread might break into pieces even before reaching the griddle.

But if done with a little care and a little practice you get the perfect Bajra Bhakris. Follow my easy cooking procedure and be ensured of getting the perfect looking bajra bhakris time and again. Pictorial step by step procedure to follow in a subsequent post.

YIELDS : 6 MEDIUM SIZED ROTIS OR FLAT BREADS
CUISINE : MAHARASHTRIAN / INDIAN
TYPE : BREADS / INDIAN FLAT BREAD
TIME : 10 MINUTES PREPARATION + 10 MINUTES COOKING TIME

INGREDIENTS :

1) 1 1/2 Cups ( 1 cup = 250 Gms ) Bajra Flour / Pearl Millet Flour
2) 1 Tbsp Oil
3) 1/2 Tsp Salt
4) 100 ~ 150 ml approximately Hot Water 
5) 4 Tbsp of Bajra flour to roll the dough into rotis
6) 2 Tbsp Oil (optional)

Cook With Me In Easy Steps :

1) Let's start by making the dough. In a large bowl add the Bajra Flour.To this add salt and oil. Mix well with a spoon or your clean hand and incorporate the salt and oil into the flour.
  • Add hot water a little, about 2 Tbsp into the flour. 
  • Using a spoon mix. You will not be able to use your hand here as the water will be too hot to handle.
  • Wait for a few seconds and when you can handle the heat start kneading the dough. You can use a food processor to knead the dough too. this will make it easier as you do not have to handle the dough wit your bare hands.
  • Knead the dough into smooth and not very hard neither too soft dough.
  • NOTE : Every time you add hot water into the dough, wait for it to cool down a bit, so that you can comfortably handle the heat without burning your hand. The amount of water mentioned above may vary depending of the type of pearl millet flour used. Also the water used to knead the dough should be hot and not luke warm to get the perfect dough.
2) Sprinkle the work surface with bajra flour. Take the dough onto to your working surface. Roll the dough in the shape of a log. Divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Take one piece of the dough and roll it into a sphere in between your palms.
  • With the help of your hand flatten the sphere on the working surface.
  • Sprinkle Bajra flour a little lavishly over the flattened dough. Using a little more flour, will help you to easily roll out the dough without it sticking to your working surface.
  • Carefully roll out the dough into a roti.
  • NOTE : Do not use the same pressure as you would use while rolling out a roti made with wheat flour. Here the presuure used should be light. Start working your rolling pin from inside out. Do not stretch the rotis much or else it will break. Also flatten out evenly so that the entire roti remains of the same thickness. Also these rotis will be a little thick and the outermost circular edge of the roti will be uneven.
3) Heat a griddle / Tava and place one roti at a time on the hot griddle. Once the roti is on the griddle, reduce heat and let the roti roast till tiny brown spots appear on its surface.
Once the brown spots appear, carefully turn the roti over and roast the other side too. Once both the sides are done transfer the Bajra Bhakri onto a serving plate.
NOTE : I do not place the roti on a wire mesh on the direct flame like the normal wheat flour roti. But if you want you may do so. Also I add 1/2 tsp of oil on one side of the roti and smear it all over just before transferring the roti from the griddle onto a plate. You might skip this if you wish.
I do not rest the dough once kneaded. I find the dough getting crumbly with time. So I immediately roll out the rotis, right after kneading.

Serve the Bhakris hot with Zunka.

Recipe with Pictorial Step By Step Procedure to Follow soon. 

Lasun Chutney / Maharastrian Style Garlic Chutney / Lasanachi Chutney ~


A fiery chutney with the perfect balance of heat and tartness. Made by grinding dry roasted coconut shreds, hot dry red chillies, sesame seeds, cumin seeds and peanuts along with a good quantity of garlic cloves and finished off with a dash of tamarind, the Maharashtrian style garlic chutney is indeed a pep up to any humble meal.

Do look out for the pictorial step by step procedure to follow soon.

MATTHA ~


This is the perfect drink to cool off your gut and soothe your senses just after an onslaught of the utterly delicious but too hot to handle Maharashtrian Style Garlic Chutney along with Zunka Bhakar. This midly spiced buttermilk beverage contains roasted hand pounded cumin seeds along with a ginger, mint and coriander leaves and a pinch of kala namak or black salt. All of these ingredients not only make the drink refreshing but also aid in digestion.

Do look out for the pictorial recipe to follow soon.



Recipe Reference : NDTV FOOD
Reference : MaharashtraWeb.Com

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Dishes By The Culinary Hoppers for the theme Traditional Dishes of Maharashtra ~

+Anu Nagaraja ~ Shengdanyachi-Amti-Recipe
                          ~ Varaicha-Bhat-Recipe

+Parvathy Vijayakumar ~ Sol-Kadhi / kokum-kadhi

+Poornima hegde ~ Jwarichi-Bhakri / Jolada-Rotti
                              ~ Bharli-Vangi / Stuffed-Brinjal-Curry

+marudhus kitchen ~ Recipe of -Batata-Wada / Maharashtrian Vadaaloo-Bonda

+padma veeranki ~ Maharashtrian-Bhakarwadi-Recipe
                              ~ Sabudana-Vada-Recipe-Low-Oil-Sago-Vada

+Swati Saxena ~ Maharashtrian-Green-Peas-Curry
                         ~ Tomato-Rice

+Shubha A ~ Bhajaniche-Thalipeeth-Spiced-Multigrain-Flatbread
                   ~ Kulith-Pithale / Kulith Pithla
                   ~ Piyush
                   ~ Metkut-Maharashtrian-Spiced-Powder

+jayashree trao ~ Kothimbir-Vadi
                            ~ Mumbai-Pav-Bhaji

+Shobana Vijay ~ Kolhapuri-Thecha / Lal-Mirch-Thecha