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February 2006

January 2006

Bhakri / Jowar Roti- Indian flat "bread"


Jowar Roti

A few posts ago I wrote about Jowar Bread thinking everone knew how to make a chapathi out of jowar (sorghum). But after receiving several emails I promised to write about making bhakri, that filling and tasty roti, made from jowar or bajri flour, which is the staple diet of most Maharashtrians, especially in the rural areas.

Two rotis are generally enough for 1-2 people.


1 cup jowar /sorghum flour
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup water

Put the flour in a wide plate or mixing bowl and add salt to it. Mix well.
Jowar dough

Now add the water bit by bit till the flour can be gathered up into a ball of dough.

The amount of water  required to do this may vary, so add the water a bit at a time. On a floured surface knead gently for a minute or so.There is no need to knead more ( ahah notice alliteration !) as with wheat dough.

Divide into two large portions.

Form round with fingers

Form into a thick circle   working with your finger tips with the patty between the palms of your (floured) hands. (If the flour is not fresh the dough starts cracking at the edges, so freshly ground jowar flour is absolutely necessary).

Jowar roti formed.

Turn out onto floured surface and continue to form a circle pressing it out with the finger tips. Make each roti about 8" in diameter.

Place on tava/ griddle.

Heat a tava or griddle and put the roti on it. After a few minutes the roti starts becoming opaque.

Sprinkle water on roti

Sprinkle some water on the surface by hand.

Turn and cook

After two minutes turn the roti around and cook on the other side for some more time.

Turn and cook more

Turn over twice more till the roti develops brown spots all over and becomes a lighter colour in between. Look at the pictures on top for reference as to when it is done.

Eat hot with butter and lasun chatni/ garlic chutney.
Makes 2 rotis.

Apricot Chutney


It is getting really cold here in spite of my protestations that winter in Pune is non existent and equivalent to a Meditteranean summer. Actually Delhi temperatures are now some degrees below 0. And that affects us too even though we are a 1000 miles away.
So one thinks of soups and stews and slow cooked meats with thick gravies. With that sort of food there is nothing like a good, piquant chutney and what better than this one made from a recipe given to me by my mother. It is made with dried fruits and raisins. It cooks up really fast in a pressure cooker the use of which Id suggest for several chutneys.


  • 2 cups dried apricots
  • 4 cups raisins
  • 4 large onions chopped
  • 1 1/4 pints vinegar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tsps lal mirchi /red chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp ginger, ground
  • 1/2 tbsp dhania/ coriander powder
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 tbsp mustard , prepared.

Soak the apricots in boiling hot water for an hour.

Chop the onions and put into a pressure cooker. Add the vinegar and simmer in the uncovered cooker for 10 minutes.
Now add the apricots, raisins, salt, chilli powder, ground ginger and coriander.Remember to check that the cooker is not more than half full. Bring to high pressure ( the whistling stage), reduce heat a bit and cook for 20 minutes.
Take off the fire and allow the cooker to come back to room temperature before opening the lid. Stir in the sugar and mustard. Put the cooker back on a low fire and cook till sugar dissolves, then boil till the chutney had thickened to the right consistency. Stir it frequently in between. Check the seasoning. Bottle while hot in sterilised jars. Fill the jars upto 1/2 inch from the top. Cover while still hot. This keeps well for at least three months.

A Feisty Salad for Paper Chef #14


When on a diet one thinks of food more often than usual. This is not helpful. It makes one tend to snack ,as if a little bit of this or that or the other is not going to count. But as any idiot knows ofcourse it does count. I think dieting reduces one to idiocy. Maybe its the lack of glucose feeding the brain.

So I don't diet. I just cut back...just for now.

The need is to see that every little bit counts for something in vitamin and protein and such terms.No useless food can be ingested. I never go as far as counting calories because its too much of a bother. I figure if the amount is half I'm going to get to half my size as well.Oats replaces bread for breakfast, a salad replaces more than half any carbohydrate and my protein is in the form of lentils, yogurt and fish. Butter is out, oil is 1 teaspoon ( and the type of oil is changed frequently for flavour...sesame, mustard, olive or peanut oil)
As the carbohydrate is the one thing I need to substitute, my repertoire of salads is run through in no time and I'm always looking out for alternatives. So the list of ingredients announced by Owen of  Tomatilla's  Paper Chef # 14 (and by the judges at Belly Timber ) spelt salad to me.Yogurt, Quinoa, Cashews and 'Baby anything" ( to celebrate the "infant year")

Quinoa Salad


  • 3 tbs quinoa
  • 1 cup beans, cut into 1/2" pieces and boiled.

  • 1/2 cup baby corn, boiled and cut into 1/2 " pieces.

  • 1/2 cup spring onions chopped fine.
    • 18 cashewnuts roughly chopped.
    • 1 apple , peeled and chopped, .Squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon over pieces to prevent discolouration.

    • 3 deseeded brown dates sliced fine

    • 1 tbs of raisins
    • Dressing

    • 1 1/2 cup yogurt, thickened .

    • 2 cloves of garlic chopped fine.

    • Salt and Pepper to taste

    Wash quinoa well and soak in water for a day. Drain and let it stand in a covered strainer for a night. Wash well again and cook in double the quantity of water till all the water has been absorbed.( This is not absolutely necessary. I was actually trying to sprout it and then lost my patience. Also I wasn't sure whether this was the way it would sprout!)

    Hang 1 1/2 cups of yogurt for a couple of hours till most of the water has drained out and it has become thick. Makes about 1 1/2 tbs.Add salt, a generous amount of freshly ground pepper and the chopped garlic to the yogurt.

    Boil baby corn and beans. Combine the quinoa with the beans, corn, apple, spring onions, dates and mix well.Add yogurt dressing just before serving.Sprinkle the raisins on top.

    I love quinoa . It is so nutty and gives you something to bite on. Not a slop food. With all its goodness I think of this tiny innocuous "grain" as being a feisty ingredient that raises the quality of almost anything it is added to.

    PS: Uma brought me the quinoa,which is otherwise unavailable in India-she is the selfsame person who brought me an oven thermometer, bless her.)

    PPS: The line up is posted and there are some GOOD recipes up there->