One of the things that makes most meals complete is bread, specifically warm bread. Most of my Indian curries are served and eaten with some type of bread. Roti, Naan, Puri, Paratha, Kulcha Naans, Stuffed breads, etc…the list is endless depending on the region of India.
Well, recently I heard about Navajo Indian fry bread and was curious to see how it was made. I actually went onto Wikipedia to read about it and was pleasantly surprised to realize it was pretty much the same thing as an Indian “Bhatura” bread. In a nutshell, Bhatura is very similar to a naan but it is fried – its almost a cross between a naan and puri bread.
Bhatura can be made with or without yeast depending on how fluffy you want your bread. It is usually served with a popular chickpea curry called “Chole”, but honestly, you can eat this bread with literally anything. As a matter of fact, Bhatura can be eaten alone as a snack, with a curry, used as a base for a Navajo taco, or used as sandwich bread. It can even be made sweet by drizzling with honey and sprinkling of powder sugar and cinnamon powder. Regardless how you choose to use Bhatura bread, one thing will remain the same…a beautiful golden brown exterior with a soft, fluffy inside that is just so delicious to eat!
I’m sharing a recipe of a modified version of Bhatura that is a bit simpler to make than what I’ve seen elsewhere but absolutely delicious & incredibly addictive! Trust me! :o)
Bhatura (Indian Fry Bread)
Yields: 12-15 breads (5″ diameter)
- 4 cups of All Purpose flour
- 1 extra cup of AP Flour into a plate
- 1.5 tsp of salt
- 1.5 Tbsp. of baking powder
- 1 cup of plain yogurt (optional)
- 1.5 cup and a little more of hot water (almost 1 and 2/3 cup)
- 2-3 Tbsp. of oil (any type except olive oil)
- 2 quarts of oil for frying (any type except olive oil)
**See Notes for ADD-IN Ideas to your dough
- In a large mixing bowl, add flour, yogurt (optional), baking soda and salt. Mix together with fork or spoon. (See Notes)
- Gradually add the hot water and bind your dough until it is slightly sticky. Knead well until everything is fully incorporated.
- Take the 2-3 Tbsp. of oil and pour onto dough and knead again until dough is fully covered with the oil and there is a slight sheen to it.
- Cover with a clean hand towel or plate and allow to rest for about 2 hours. (See Notes)
- After resting period is done, knead the dough for about 1 minute just to “unstick” it from the bowl.
- Pour frying oil into large pot or frying pan and allow to heat to about 350-375 degrees. (Heat setting 5 or 6 on most stoves)
- Pull about a 2in diameter ball off the dough and roll around into a large even ball.
- On a clean, flat surface, dip your dough ball into the plate of AP Flour to lightly coat on both sides and roll out into a 5 inch diameter circle.
- Place rolled out dough circle gently into hot oil and allow to fry for about 30-45 seconds on each side OR until a golden brown color. (Using tongs or slotted spoon, you can gently push down on the fry bread in the oil to make it puff up a bit more while cooking.)
- Remove from oil with tongs and place on napkin covered plate to drain any extra oil from cooked fry bread.
- Repeat Steps 7 to Step 11 for remaining dough.
- For Step 1 -The yogurt is added as an additional softening agent for the fry bread and acts like a “yeast” to make dough rise. In my cooking trial – I didn’t use yogurt and the fry bread was still extremely soft. (Strictly optional)
- For Step 4 – To make cleanup and prep easier, I made and “rested” the dough in a large, plastic Rubbermaid container. All I had to do after making dough was cover with with plastic lid and leave on my island in room temperature for the 2hours.
- For Step 4 – Even though the dough does not “rise” – it will puff up a bit. The 2hrs of rest is for the glutens to break down in the dough, resulting in a softer and airier inside when the dough is fried.
- ADD-INS to your Bhatura dough: In Step 1, you can add a mix of assorted ingredients into your dough prep for extra flavor options:
- 1/2 Tbsp of cumin seeds
- 1/2 cup of diced jalapenos
- 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar (or preferred flavor – stay away from soft cheeses)
- 1/4 cup of chopped onions
- 1 Tbsp of minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp of chili powder
- 1 Tbsp of sugar
- You can coat cooked Bhatura with plain butter, or garlic butter, as well as sprinkle with sweeter options like cinnamon sugar, honey, agave nectar, etc.
If you get a chance to try this recipe, let me know your thoughts/comments below and feel free to tag me on IG @cmspiceculture.