A bhatura (pronounced “bha too rha”) is essentially a fried naan, the ingredients and the technique are basically the same. In India, bhaturas are usually deep fried but you can shallow fry them instead. Bhaturas are the flatbread of choice when eating chole (spiced chickpeas) and this combination is a favorite classic especially among Punjabi food lovers.
Bhaturas are not be confused with pooris which are made using atta (whole wheat flour). Bhaturas are made using all purpose flour (maida).
The key to a soft bhatura lies in the kneading. You must knead the dough properly until it becomes soft and pliable; until you can actually physically feel a change in the texture of the dough. Trust me, it makes all the yummy difference in the world. My home made bhaturas are always a big hit.
BHATURA (Fried Indian Flatbread)
1 cup + 2 tbsp (9 ounces) of all purpose flour (maida), sifted
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt to taste
2 tsp sugar, to taste
2+ tbsp oil (vegetable or canola), you can use melted butter or ghee of you prefer
2 tbsp yogurt
½ cup of milk
oil (vegetable or canola), enough for shallow frying
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sifted flour along with the other dry ingredients (baking powder, salt & sugar). Stir well to combine all of the ingredients & set aside until needed.
Now in a smaller mixing bowl, combine the wet ingredients together (milk, oil & yogurt). Mix well & set aside until needed.
Now in the dry ingredients mixing bowl, make a small well in the center & slowly add the wet ingredients while incorporating the flour from the sides of the well. Your clean hands are the best tools for this job, keep mixing until the dough comes together. Sometimes the dough may seem to have a mind of its own and can be affected by such factors as high altitude, dryness or humidity. So use your culinary instincts & judgment – if your dough seems too “wet” or sticky, just add a little flour as needed. If it’s a little too dry, just add a little milk as needed. You basically just need the dough to come together so it can be kneaded.
The easiest way to do this is on a clean countertop with a little sprinkling of flour so the dough will not stick. So now transfer the dough from the bowl to your work surface. Start kneading the dough until it becomes soft & pliable. This may take anywhere from 10-12 minutes. Next place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth or towel for at least 15-20 minutes. Keep the bowl in a warm place, do not refrigerate. The dough should rise slightly.
Now out of your dough, you can easily make 5 smaller balls of dough. Knead the dough ball for just another minute or so before rolling it out. Make sure to keep the rest of the dough balls covered with a damp cloth or towel so they don’t dry out. Using a floured rolling pin on a well floured surface, start rolling out your dough balls into thin flat circles about 6-7” in diameter.
Meanwhile, heat a deep skillet with enough oil to shallow fry. When hot, carefully add the bhatura and fry until golden brown on both sides - flipping it over after a few minutes. You may need to fry them one at a time & in batches. Drain well and serve immediately with chole or your favorite Indian meal.