celebrity

Recipe: Sarada’s Methi Theplas

What food do you carry in your luggage when you travel?

The Indian food item that has come to be most associated with travel is theplas, thanks to the food savvy Gujaratis.

Back in the days of those beautiful long train journeys, that bring on loads of wistful nostalgia, some of us travelled with tiffin boxes of puri and alu or gobhi when we puttered on a rail journeys, say between Jabalpur and Dongagarh or Patratu and Tundla.

For others, it was idlis with dry chutneys and a variety of delicious rices that could withstand a few days spent on a train maybe from Trivandrum to Delhi or Kanyakumari to Howrah.

Remembrance of those meals past, that felt more tasty when eaten to the khatkhat-khatkat rhythm of the train wheels, and the lazy pace of life, make our now jhatpat jet jaunts feel hollow and boring.

But if there is one food item that still accompanies me on even plane trips it is theplas.

Every time I head abroad I take a stack of theplas with me to feed friends or family, because the most travel-worthy Indian food item is perhaps the handy thepla.

A few days ago, I took a stack of 20 theplas to my daughter in Ireland, who is hankering for a taste of home, and what is magical about theplas is that they survive all kinds of climate, circumstances like an airline losing your luggage for a few days and can be stored in the fridge or freezer and when warmed up still taste absolutely marvellous and as good as new.

This recipe, with a few adaptions, is courtesy my sister-in-law, Sarada, who though a true-blue South Indian, has learnt to cook utterly perfect Gujarati meals.

For tips on making travel-hardy theplass, I once, a few years ago, consulted my friend, the ever-helpful Sheela, who made me speak to her sister, who unfortunately is now no more.

Bharti, Sheela said, knew the ins and outs of carrying whole kitchens of Gujju food between Mumbai and Chicago and did it regularly and would tell me exactly how to do it. Bharti’s valuable tips are at the end of this recipe.

When you go on an extended trip, dear reader, what food do you carry with you? Please send us your suggestions, tips and recipes at [email protected].

Sarada’s Methi Theplas

Servings: 20

Ingredients

  • 2 cups aata or wheat flour
  • ½ cup besan or gram/chickpea flour
  • Salt to taste, about ½ tsp
  • 4-5 tbsp dahi or yoghurt
  • Pinch whole jeera or cumin seeds
  • Pinch freshly-ground jeera or cumin seed powder
  • 1½ tsp hing or asafoetida,
  • 2 cups of loosely packed, well chopped green methi or fenugreek (leaves only not stems)
  • ½ tsp lal mirchi or red chilly powder,
  • Pinch haldi or turmeric powder
  • Water
  • Oil + ghee for frying

Method

  • In a large bowl or thali, sift in, using a sieve, the aata and the&besan.
    Add all the other ingredients, except the oil/ghee and water and lightly mix.
    Add water bit by bit to make a soft but not too, too soft dough.
    Knead well.
    Let the dough sit 5-10 minutes covered with a kitchen towel.
  • Portion the rested dough into 20 neat balls.
    Roll out each ball into a thin paratha of about 6-7 inches diameter.
  • Heat a tawa or griddle or non-stick frying pan over medium heat and place a rolled thepla onto it.
    Heat on both sides for a few minutes till the aata exterior loses its rawness.
    Add about 1 tsp of the a ghee-oil mixture on one side and flip the thepla and add about 1 tsp more and fry, like you would a paratha, till brown dots appear but not too crisp.
  • To reheat previously-made theplas, heat a tawa on very low and heat the theplas lightly or they will get too crisp.

Zelda’s Note: Be very careful while adding jeera and the jeera powder. It has a strong taste and can hijack the theplas recipe if not added judiciously.

Methi can be grown quite easily in a flower pot in your home or on your balcony using methi seeds.

Chopped fresh methi can be lightly fried in a little oil for a few minutes and stored in the freezer. In a pinch, use dried methi or kasuri methi but less than half the quantity you would use of fresh methi ie about 1 cup in this recipe.

Traditionally theplas are had lightly dabbed in choonda pickle — a sweet mango chutney. This pickle is available in any Indian grocery store — Mother is a good brand. Or if you aren’t partial to choonda, eat with dahi or regular mango pickle or fried green chillies.

Or try making Maharaj Jodharam Choudhary‘s Kacche Aam Ki Launji/

If you are making a bunch of theplas to have later, only semi fry them initially, with a tiny bit of oil and refrigerate or freeze and when taking out to actually eat, refry with ghee or/and oil.

Bharti’s method/tips for those wanting more long-lasting theplas that travel well: She suggested adding 2-3 chopped green chillies instead of lal mirchi powder, 1 tbsp oil, a pinch ajma or ajwain or carom seeds.

She recommended skipping the dahi which is the element that can eventually cause the thepla to go bad and frying the theplas in oil and not ghee initially, because ghee can get rancid after a time.

The chopped, washed methi that is to be added to the dough should be well-patted dry. In her theplas she would add half aata and half bajra or millets aata.

For vegan theplas, skip the ghee and the yoghurt.

For gluten-free theplas, use besan with millets aata or oat flour.

  • MORE AWESOME RECIPES

Source: Read Full Article