Considering this was my inspiration for the name of the blog, one of my first entries had to be my attempt the make the Gujarati bread, known as Dhebra. My first thought when I was starting the process was :”Let’s hope this first try goes a lot better than the Puffed Rice Dosa attempt”!
This recipe for Gujarat Spicy Millet and Squash Bread is taken from Julie Sahni’s Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking (with a few slight changes). Millet is used in many of the breads of Gujarat and Rajasthan.
1 cup millet flour (plus an extra cup added later – read on to find out the details)
1 cup chapati flour (or whole wheat)
1/2 cup besan (chickpea flour)
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
4 green chiles, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons yogurt
1 1/2 cups grated snake squash or zucchini
water, as needed
1/2 cup ghee
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients (only 1 cup of the millet flour), except the water and the ghee. This was easy enough. Then things changed.
In the recipe, it says you may need to add a little water, as this is a coarse dough. I took it too far. The dough was so dry.
I added 1/4 cup of water and mixed. It still seemed dry so I added another 1/4 cup. I mixed and kneaded and after a few minutes it came together and formed a moist dough. The recipe then said to cover it and let it rest for 1/2 hour.
I did this and I had a dough that was just way too moist and gooey, but I still tried.
I used the procedure for rolling out the dough detailed in her recipe. Place a ball of dough into between two pieces of plastic wrap and roll out. This didn’t work because the dough was so sticky it stuck to the plastic wrap and would not release to go on the tawa/griddle.
So I added more flour. Even though I added a whole extra cup of millet flour, I still had a pretty soft dough, but one I was able to work with.
I used the procedure of taking a ball of dough in between two pieces of plastic wrap.
I did not even need a rolling pin. I just pressed down with the palm of my hand, until the dough spread into a circle. I did this with all 12 balls of dough.
Next, was to cook them and I just prayed that these would release from the plastic, as the dough was getting softer from air exposure. I heated my tawa/griddle and brushed with ghee. I then removed one piece of plastic from one of my flattened dough balls. It came off easily enough. So next was to remove the plastic from the other side and place on the griddle. I felt this was too risky and could see the dough falling apart in my hands and me being in tears at the thought of the wasted time and ingredients.
Instead, I placed the exposed side down on the griddle and removed the top plastic, when the dough was already on the griddle. This has to be done carefully and quickly, so the plastic does not stick to the griddle.
Cook 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
As I proceeded to cook what I think are Dhebra’s, I realized the consistency was not that of any Indian flatbread I had ever had. Even with the additional flour, these were a little too fluffy and I realized I had made my own version of savory millet pancakes; not Dhebra. I think they are a little closer to what an Adai is; but not quite!
It’s ok – because I created my own recipe by accident and they were still delicious, had here with some Tomato-Apple Chutney (purchased from a British market in NYC) , Cucumber Salad (persian cucumbers, chiles, curry leaves) and Roasted Masala Potatoes (fingerling potatoes, olive oil, Sabzi/Bhujia Spice Mix). They are delicious and I will probably be making this “accident” again.
However, I still want to learn to make the traditional Dhebra, so I do have to try again and this time – don’t go so crazy with the water! I need to knead for a lot longer to fully incorporate, before I start going pani crazy! Look out for Dhebra Attempto #2…coming soon
Sending this recipe to Spicy Treats’ Fiber Rich Event