The Dogras were a dynasty of Rajputs from the Shivalik hills in the Himalayas. They ruled the region that we now know as the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. These brave warrior-kings had a rich culinary legacy with a varied oeuvre that included both vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian delicacies prepared with an exciting blend of spices and cooked in cold-pressed Mustard Oil. In particular, the Dogra community had a tradition of cooking special dishes to commemorate and celebrate occasions like weddings, births, anniversaries and festivals. The dish that we will be making today is a Dogri flatbread called Gheur (pronounced “khyoor”) and it is usually prepared as a welcome dish for a new bride or when a family member returns after a long stretch of time.
The list of ingredients that you will require is short and simple. Ingredients: • All Purpose Flour (Maida): 100 grams • Peas, fresh : 50 grams • Mustard Oil: 50 millilitres • Carom (Ajwain) Seeds: 1 teaspoon • Coriander (Dhania) Leaves: 30 grams • Salt: to taste
The quantities mentioned above are for one serving. Adjust the quantities proportionately to suit the number of servings that you require.
Preparation: Take the all purpose flour in a bowl and add around 300 millilitres of water. Mix well to create a batter that is thin and runny in consistency. It should be thin enough to drip from your fingers – but not completely watery. Keep this batter aside for an hour or so and let it ferment. Place the peas in a grinder and grind them into a coarse paste. Coarsely chop the coriander leaves. After leaving the batter to ferment for an hour or so, add the carom seeds, chopped coriander leaves and salt to taste. Then add the coarsely ground peas and mix well.
Method: Heat the Mustard Oil in a pan on a High flame. After a while the oil will reach its smoking point and white streams of aromatic smoke will rise gently from the surface of the hot oil. Turn the flame down to Medium. You are now ready to start the frying process. Use your hands to drip (pour in a thin stream) the batter in the hot oil. Pour the batter in a circular pattern, repeating the rotary action to create a net-like effect with the strands of batter. Some people say this pattern makes the batter take on a shape that looks like a bird’s nest. You do not need to turn the fried batter over – only one side is fried while making this dish. There is an interesting (and offbeat) piece of equipment that you will require for the next part – a knitting needle! Traditionally, a knitting needle is use to gently ensnare the fried batter and remove it from the pan. Your Dogri Gheur is now ready. It is usually eaten with curd (Dahi) or with a rich and spicy preparation of potatoes in gravy (known as Tari Wali Aloo Ki Sabzi). Enjoy your wholesome Dogri welcome!
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