In old days, people traveled from one town to other by bullock carts and sometimes for days! And they traveled light, with minimum belongings with them. Women of the house would carry enough things to eat for everyone for a day or two. If you were going to travel more, then they carried wheat flour, toor daal, some chili powder & salt, couple of plates, couple of big vessels. Hotels and motels were almost impossible to find in smaller towns or villages. If traveling through a bigger town with market and have enough money to spend, then they bought vegetables etc. If not, then cook with whatever is available.
Daal Batti is one such dish that was prepared mainly on such long journeys. It is very similar to the Daal-Baati of Rajasthan but still different. My father-in-law narrates the whole process of making this Khandesh special dish very well. This is just an attempt to write all the details in a post.
A ditch of size 3'x3'x10" is made in the ground by digging evenly. While that is getting ready, few people will start making fire using coal, collected firewood and dried cow dung. Wait until the flames subside and coal is burning nicely then half of the coals is spread at the bottom of the ditch. Fire is now covered with Banana leaves. While this is going on, few people are preparing the dough.
Coarsely ground wheat flour, ajwain, salt, turmeric and some hot oil is mixed together in a dough. Dough consistency is kept hard and kneading very little (just like pie crust). Dough is then divided in equal parts and made into 3-4 inch balls.
Once all the balls are ready they are spread in single layer on the banana leaves which are spread over the fire. These balls are then covered with few more banana leaves, remaining coals are spread over these banana leaves and completely covered with soil. Let it cook for an hour without disturbing it.
Meanwhile, a make shift stove is made from three big rocks and some firewood collected from around. Toor daal, water and pinch turmeric is cooked in a large pot. Add salt once the daal is cooked well. Let it cook bit more adding water as needed. Simple daal is ready!!!
Carefully open the ditch, remove coals, and take out fully cooked Battis. Everyone takes one or two or more per their appetite. The battis are done well and break easily when pressed in the palms. Its crumbled and made into a well on a banana leaf. Pour as much plain daal in the middle of the well. Add ghee if you have any and enjoy!!
Now let's see a quick demo of how these battis are made in our home in India -
Let's see the recipe -
3-4 cups of Coarsely Ground Wheat Flour
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Ajwain (Carom Seeds)
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 cup Oil
Salt per taste
Water as needed
Start making fire with coals and firewood in a small BBQ pit.
Mix salt, ajwain and turmeric powder in wheat flour.
Make a well in the flour.
Heat oil in a small kadhai. Add a pinch of dry flour, if it sizzles immediately then the oil is ready.
Pour hot oil in the well. Mix carefully with spoon.
Mix little water at a time just enough to make the ball. Do not make soft dough.
Make 3"-4" size balls carefully pinching the rough edges and making the balls smooth.
By now fire should be subsiding and coals are hot and ready.
Place the balls carefully on the coals.
Keep turning the balls and avoid burning. Balls should be roasted from all the sides.
Remove from the heat, set them aside. If there is ash on the battis, wipe them with wet tissue.
How to serve/eat?
Make plain daal - Cook toor daal, add water salt, turmeric and hing. Boil for few minutes.
Brake the battis with hand, crumble into coarse crumbs.
Make well with these crumbs, add plain daal in the middle and little bit of ghee.
Enjoy as many as you am with Eggplant bhaji and Amsool kadhi.
- If you do not have BBQ pit, you can bake these in oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If making in the oven I will suggest making the balls flat.
- Bake one side for 15 min, other side for 10 min.
- Another way to cook these, is boil the battis in hot water until they look whitish from outside. These are called Daal-Bafale. Once these are boiled, some people deep fry them in ghee(!!). Or bake then by spraying oil over them.