Chattisgarh, a state in the centre-east of India, is famous for its temples, forests and waterfalls, and its abundant natural beauty in general. For this month’s Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge, we travelled (albeit virtually) to this beautiful state in search of their indigenous cuisine.
The state has a number of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes to offer. Gond, Parghi, Bison Horn Maria, Raj Gond and Korwa (a few of the many tribes to whom Chattisgarh is home) have a variety of tribal delicacies of their own. The non-tribals living in Chattisgarh have their own delectable cuisine as well. Tribal or non-tribal, the use of rice in Chattisgarhi cuisine is rampant – steamed rice and rice flour are used in many different ways here. The use of local leafy greens – lal bhaji, kohda bhaji and bohar bhaji, for instance – are quite widespread, too.
From the multitude of very interesting dishes from Chattisgarh, I chose to make a light, steamed snack called Daal Bafauri. This dish uses absolutely zero oil and is, hence, perfect for the aged and infirm, weight watchers, and children alike. It tastes lovely, and makes for a perfect tea-time snack. What’s more, it is very, very simple to put together as well.
Now, let us check out the recipe for daal bafauri, shall we?
Recipe Source: Mandvi’s Kitchen
Ingredients (makes 8-10 pieces):
- 1 cup chana daal
- 1 medium-sized onion
- 1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves
- 2 green chillies
- A 1-inch piece of ginger
- Salt, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- Red chilli powder, to taste (optional)
- 1 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
- A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
- 2 teaspoons oil, or as needed to grease steaming vessel
1. Soak chana daal for 3-4 hours, in just enough water to cover it. Then, place in a colander and drain out all the excess water.
2. Chop the green chillies, coriander and onion finely. Peel the ginger and chop finely.
3. Take the soaked and drained chana daal in a mixer jar. Add in salt to taste, chopped green chillies and ginger, turmeric powder, and red chilli powder (if using). Pulse a couple of times, stopping to scrape down the mixture on the sides of the mixer. You should get a coarse mixture, not a smooth paste. Transfer this ground mixture to a large mixing bowl.
4. Now, add carom seeds, asafoetida, as well as chopped onion and coriander to the mixture in the bowl. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings as required. Make medium-sized balls or oval shapes out of this mixture and keep aside.
5. Grease a wide vessel with the oil, for steaming, and keep them ready. Arrange the balls/ovals that you shaped in the vessel in a single layer, leaving a little space between each two.
6. Take about 1 cup water in a pressure cooker bottom. Place on high flame and let the water heat up. Now, place a stand within the pressure cooker, and place the vessel containing the balls/ovals on top. Close pressure cooker and steam (without putting the whistle on) for 12-15 minutes or until the balls/ovals are well cooked. Serve hot with spicy green chutney and/or tomato sauce. You can serve them alongside a cup of tea as well, the way it is done in Chattisgarh.
- You can add a few cloves of garlic while grinding the mixture, too. I skipped that.
- Ghee can be used to grease the steaming vessel, in place of oil. I used refined oil.
- Skip using the red chilli powder, if you think the heat from the green chillies and ginger is enough.
- Use more or less green chillies, depending upon your personal taste preferences. The same goes for the quantity of onion you use in the daal bafauri.
- This is how I make the spicy green chutney that I served the daal bafauri with.
- You can use idli plates for the steaming, too.
- Cumin (jeera) can be used in the daal bafauri, in place of carom seeds (ajwain). Here, I have used ajwain.
- Daal bafauri can be made with various lentils – moong daal, masoor daal, toor daal, dried green peas, et al. You may even use a combination of two or more types of daals to make this snack.
- I made another batch of batter the same way, shaped little balls out of them, and deep-fried them in hot oil. They tasted absolutely delicious as well.
- You can eat daal bafauri on its own, as a snack, as we did, or use them to prepare a tomato-based sabzi.
You like? I hope you will try out this daal bafauri recipe too, and that you will love it as much as we did!
This recipe is for the Shhhhh Cooking Challenge. The theme for this month is ‘Recipes from Chattisgarh’. I was paired with Sujata Shukla of Pepper On Pizza for the challenge, who assigned me two secret ingredients to cook with – chana daal and onions.