“An exquisite and complete meal from the desert lands of India”
Hailing from the western desert state of India, Rajasthan, I have vivid memories of baatis floating in ghee, strong aroma of tadka in dal, and perfectly round ladoos of churma being prepared. Dal Baati Churma was the most repeated, yet awaited dish on the menu for any occasions at my place, be it a family get together or for any celebrations. There used to be a big platter with small portions of baatis (fried wheat doughs), a bowl of dal ( boiled lentil, infused with spices), churma (crushed wheat with ghee and sugar), mirchi ke tipore (green chili, fried with spices), cilantro mint chutney and my favorite; pure Indian ghee.
I used to love digging in to every bit of it, but later always had a guilt trip for the extra pounds I might have gained. I often wondered, if there was a healthy version of it. After years of experimenting, I finally came up with my light, easy and healthy recipe of this rich Rajasthani delicacy. I prepare Dal Baati with Bihari choka (aloo bharta) and serve it with smoked green chilies, cilantro-mint & garlic chutney and kuchumber (cucumber-onion-tomato salad) on the side, for a wholesome and healthy version of the Indian essence.
Maintaining the authentic, smoky and raw savor of Rajasthan, instead of frying, I choose to bake the whole wheat dough on a charcoal grill. I also picked a combination of three lentils (moong, chana, and toor) to make a nutritious and healthy dal and fire roasted mashed potatoes with spices to deliver a satisfying and bold feel to the recipe.
An iconic dish like this, one truly close to my heart, is a superb winter meal or makes a real showstopper at a party!
Rajasthani Dal Baati
Dal Baati - this iconic Rajasthani dish features oven baked baati, triple lentil dal and churma. Serve it with some smoked green chilies, aloo bharta, chutney and kuchumber salad for a wholesome and healthy version of an Indian classic!
- 2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup semolina, coarse
- 1/4 cup ghee or olive oil
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp ajwain (carom seeds)
- 1/2 cup yogurt
- salt to taste
- water, lukewarm
- 1/2 cup toor dal (split pigeon peas lentils)
- 1/4 cup chana dal (yellow split peas lentils)
- 1/4,cup moong dal (petite split yellow lentils)
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- half cinnamon stick
- 1 black cardamom
- 1 green cardamom
- 1 dry red chili
- 2 cloves
- 1 tsp ginger, crushed or paste
- 1/2 tsp garlic, crushed (optional)
- 1/2 tsp green chili, finely chopped
- 2 tomatoes, medium size, finely chopped
- 1 tsp yogurt
- 1/2 tsp fenugreek powder (kasoori methi)
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1/4 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- pinch of asafoetida powder (hing)
- salt according to taste
- For preparing dal, wash all of the lentils and then soak them in water for 1 hour. After, drain the water and add the lentils to a pressure cooker.
- Add 3.5 cups of water into the pressure cooker along with some turmeric powder and salt. Cook the dal for about 3-4 whistles. After the first whistle, make sure the flame is at medium intensity.
- While the dal is cooking, the tadka can be prepared. Add ghee in a pan and once it heats up, turn the gas to a lower intensity and add cumin seeds, asafoetida, bay leaf, cinnamon, green and black cardamoms, cloves, and dried red chili.
- Sauté the spices for a few minutes. When it starts to crackle, add in some ginger, green chilies, and garlic. Now add tomatoes, chili, kasoori methi, and very little turmeric powder because it was added earlier.
- Stirring occasionally, add 2-3 tbsp of water and cook on a medium heat till the ghee separates. Then add beaten yogurt and cook for another minute.
- Add the cooked dal to the tadka. Season with garam masala, lemon juice, and salt (as needed). Let it simmer for 10 mins until the ghee rises. Garnish with cilantro and your dal is ready!
- For preparing baatis, combine wheat flour, semolina, salt, baking powder, ajwain and ghee/olive oil. Mix them evenly. Now, with the help of yogurt start making a firm dough and use lukewarm water as required. Make sure that the dough is firm, and not like a soft chapati dough. When done, cover it and let it rest for 15-20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven on 375°F or 190°C.
- Now, knead the dough well for 3-4 minutes. Divide the dough in 10-12 equal parts and shape them into balls . In each ball, make a small indentation in the center with your thumb and keep them aside. When done, arrange all the baatis in a baking tray and bake them for 30-40 minutes. One side usually take 15-20 minutes or until their top turns golden brown. Once it’s done, flip them and let the other side bake till they are golden brown . You will start seeing cracks in them, which is a sign of perfect baatis .
- When done, take the baatis out. Then press them gently with your fingers which will help them to crack a little. This will allow the baatis to absorb ghee when they are dipped in it and make them moist.
- Now in a dish, take 2 tbsp of ghee, dip or roll each baati in it and arrange it in the serving dish.
- Your Dal Baati is ready! Serve it with Bihari choka (aloo bharta), smoked green chilies, cilantro-mint & garlic chutney, kuchumber (cucumber-onion-tomato) salad and some ghee in a small bowl.
- Enjoy the Dal Baati in the traditional Rajasthani way. Crumble the baati with you fingers, mix it with dal, add some salad and chutney and relish the richness of flavors.
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