I grew up in the State of Maharashtra in India. In college, we frequented a fort called Sinhagad( The Lion’s fort).This fort has a tremendous amount of history. For more information please visit here.
This was a long trek and we went early to make sure we did not need to bear the brunt of the hot sun. By the time we would start our descent it would usually be noon. The fort is lined with little shops selling jowar/ sorghum bhakris ( rotis) and pithla or Zunka ( a spicy side dish made with chickpea flour), little earthen pots of sweetened yogurt, onion bhaji ( fritters) and hot chai! This meal is a little piece of heaven! I truly miss it. Recently, a friend visited home and decided to do the hike atop the fort and her pictures brought back fond memories of the worry free college days! The only closest thing I can do to calm myself down from the flooding of memories is to cook the food that I so associate with those memories, so I did! This is a quick and healthy meal. It is gluten free as well. But for me it brings back beautiful memories of growing in a state and country that is plenteous with so much history and culture and of course food. So without much digression here is the recipe –
Besan – 1 cup
Onions – 1 large chopped into small pieces
Green chillies – 3
Oil – 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder – ¼ spoon
Chilli powder – 1 tsp (adjust if you need it to be more spicy)
Water – 1.5 cups
Cilantro – 1 few sprigs chopped
Heat oil in a pan and add mustard and cumin seeds. When they splutter add green chillies and fry and then add onions. Let the onions cook. In a bowl combine besan,salt, turmeric,chilly powder and water. Mix and make sure there are no lumps. When the onions are cooked, pour the besan mixture into the pan and keep whisking till the besan is cooked. Add more oil if needed. The besan is cooked when it is shiny and dry. Add cilantro in the end.
Jowar /Sorghum flour– 2 cups
Hot water – 1 cup
Salt – as per taste
In a deep and wide bowl add the jowar/sorghum flour. Add salt and pour the hot water a little at a time. Mix with a spoon since it will be too hot to handle. Pour enough water to make a thick dough. The dough should look like playdoh. When it is cool enough to handle, knead with hand to make it malleable. Take a 5 X 5 foil and brush it with oil. Heat a griddle pan on medium. Keep a small bowl of water on the side. Now make several balls( a little bigger than gold size balls and a little smaller than a baseball ball). On the oiled foil paper, with the help of a little water flatten the ball to make rotis. When they are of desired thickness, slowly transfer them to the hot griddle. Apply water on the side facing the top. You will know the roti is cooked when the water on top dries out. Now turn over and cook the other side. Serve with Zunka.