B for Baati and Dal (Whole Wheat Flour Balls with Thick Lentil Soup)

BToday for the A to Z challenge, I thought about sharing a recipe which is not much known in other parts of world. People eat and are aware of the ‘Butter Chicken Masala’ and its Indian origins but many preparations which are vegetarian are not known to western countries. If only the marketing and advertising of such dishes were handled properly, those who have turned vegetarian would get many more options to eat healthy food.

India has 28 states and boasts of a different cuisine specific to each state. India, being basically an agricultural country, there is a huge variety of vegetarian food to choose from though there are meat and poultry dishes too. The vegetarian food is not difficult to make and is very easy on stomach.

It is a misconception of western countries that all Indian food is spicy and fattening. In fact, obesity and its associated problems that have increased in our country are not because of the food we eat but because the generation today is indulging more into eating the junk foods like burgers, fries, breads, cakes, pies etc  introduced from western countries.

“Baati and Dal” is a traditional dish of the state of Rajasthan which is famous for its forts, palaces, Thar Desert, colorful turbans, big moustaches, folk dances, stone carvings and brave men and women alike. I was no good a cook when I got married 15 years back but now I have tried my hand at quite a many food items and can boast of being a good cook if not perfect. This preparation has come to my rescue quite a many times when six to seven bachelor officers have “bounced”(arrived unannounced to have food), as is quite acceptable in the military crowd, at our place carrying a tub of icecream as post dinner sweet dish.

It takes all of 30 minutes in all to prepare and there is no time consuming cutting and chopping of veggies involved! Here is the recipe for this delicious meal :

Ingredients for Baati:

3 cup coarse whole wheat flour

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp turmeric powder (optional)

  • Mix all ingredients and knead the dough with luke warm water. The dough should be stiff and not easily pliable. Let it rest for ten minutes.
  • Make small balls little smaller than the fist.
  • Preheat oven to 220 degrees centigrade and on the high rack bake these balls for 20 minutes.
  • These golden brown balls are Baati which locals dunk in a bowl of clarified butter(seperated from the milk). (Though I prefer not to dunk in ‘ghee’ or the clarified butter as it definitely adds inches to my waist. Instead I put a teaspoon of clarified butter in the soup later while eating baati with it. Yet Clarified butter or drawn butter is definitely healthier than the butter)

Ingredients for Dal(Thick Lentil Soup):

1/2 cup split green gram(moong chilka)

1 tbsp each split and skinned bengal gram(chana dal), pink lentil(masoor dal)

2tbsp split and skinned pigeon peas(arhar dal)

  • Wash and soak all lentils (preferably for an hour, but it cooks even if there is less time at hand)
  • In a pressure pan cook the lentils with two green chillies, small piece of ginger, 1tsp turmeric powder and pinch of asoefetida.
  • Once the lentils are cooked add some chilly powder, cumin powder and salt.
  • For seasoning:

1tbsp clarified butter

1tsp each mustard seeds, cumin seeds

small piece of cinnamon, 2 dried red chillies

Heat clarified butter and let the spices sputter. Add this seasoning to the boiled lentils and dal is ready.

To serve:

garnish the ‘Dal’ with chopped corriander and juice of a lemon.

To eat this meal in a traditional way, crush the ‘Baati’ or the baked wheat flour balls in a bowl and immerse it with ladles of ‘dal’ or the lentil soup. Add a teaspoon of clarified butter to the bowl and its ready to eat.

Dal and Baati

While one kneads the dough for baati, the lentils can be cooked in pressure pan simultaneously thus saving on time!

This image is sourced from free stock images because I had not planned on sharing this recipe and hence did not click the picture of home-made Bati and Dal before finishing it off two days ago!!

Try it people…..it is simple to make and definitely tastes goooooood!!

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