The bafla is a whole-grain wheat bread, unleavened, with minimum water, cooked in boiling water like a dumpling. The dough is the same as the Rajasthani bati. The traditional way of preparing crispy deep-fried bafla is from wheat flour mixed with ghee and spices. This is usually made on special occasions. The old-fashioned maharajs, or cooks, still use dried cow dung as fuel because they believe that’s the only way to get the right temperature to cook this. While the standardized samosa, jalebi and peanuts are the common street snacks, bafla blurs the meal borders—it suits any time or mood and, with great versatility, accompanies dal, pickle or curry.
2 cups whole-grain wheat flour
1 cup melted ghee
1/2 cup warm water
A pinch of salt
Melted ghee for rolling
For the dough: Mix salt and flour. Put in ghee and rub it in well so that the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Gather flour to make a mound with a well in it. Add warm water and start mixing the dough and knead well. Divide the dough into balls of 11/2-inch diameter and cover them with a damp cloth or plastic film. Rest it for an hour at room temperature.
Next, slightly flatten the balls with your hands. Do not use a rolling pin. Brush the exterior with melted ghee.
Boil water and add salt to it (1/2 tsp of salt to 1/2 cup water). Put in the dough balls and bring to boil. Turn down the heat to simmer. Cook for 20-25 minutes. Drain the bread in a colander. Heat the oil in a kadhai (wok) till light smoke starts to rise. Fry the dough balls till the exterior is a hard crusty brown (it should take 7-8 minutes, sometimes more).
Recipe courtesy chef Sahdev Mehta, executive chef, Courtyard By Marriott Pune Hinjewadi, Hinjewadi, Pune.