Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dinner Party Series: A Feast from India (Bhutura)

Someone - please! - save me from myself! I could eat the fry bread called Bhutura all day long! It is decadent. Kuldip Ardawa, the superb home chef and caterer who showed me how to cook the past few days’ Indian recipes, calls this South Asian bread “something like roti” and a “cousin of naan.” I call it flat-out scrumptious. The secret to its intriguing flavor is the addition of cumin seeds to a baking powder dough. Here’s her lip-smacking recipe!
1-½ c all-purpose flour
Pinch of cumin seeds
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. natural yogurt 
Whole milk, as needed (Kuldip says you can use reduced-fat milk, but not skim)
Corn or canola oil, as needed
Combine dry ingredients. Add yogurt, combining with fingers to mix through. Gradually add whole milk until mixture binds together as a medium-soft dough. Knead until no longer sticky, adding no flour to your work surface but flouring your finger tips. Dough should be shiny, smooth, and pliable. Allow dough to rest 10 to 15 min. While dough rests, add oil to a depth of at least 3 in. in a high-sided pan or deep-fat fryer. When oil is hot but not smoking, drop small piece of dough into pan; if it puffs up and “bubbles”in the oil but doesn’t brown or burn, you’ve achieved the correct heat.
Keeping a watchful eye on the heat of the oil in your pan, pinch small balls of dough (larger than a ping pong ball, smaller than a tennis ball) from the larger one. Quickly dip each small ball of dough into a bowl of flour, rolling and flattening between your palms to 4 in. or larger. Working with one flattened round of dough at a time, drop into hot oil. Dough will puff up. Using tongs, turn over after a few seconds, deep-frying until Bhutura turns a light golden color. Drain on paper toweling, repeating with remaining balls of dough. Makes approximately 6 Bhutura.

Pinch off small balls of dough, rolling them quickly in flour
Flip the bread with tongs when it starts to bubble
Drain fat well, removing to paper toweling to drain further.
Seen on adjacent countertop, next Bhutura is ready to go!
Don't let these over-brown ... They need only a few seconds to cook!
Tomorrow: Gulab Jamun.

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