Mama’s Punjabi Recipes — Bhature (Deep Fried Bread)


When a Punjabi thinks of chole (chickpeas), the word bhature (deep fried bread) probably comes to his mind right away as it is one half of the very popular dish, chole bhature. One half the flavor comes from each of the two parts: you can certainly eat chole with roti or chawal (rice), but the bhatura is made to go with the chole. (See the separate recipe for chole.)

There are two types of bhature: filled with aloo (potatoes) or paneer (Indian cottage cheese). Bhature are made of finely milled, refined and bleached wheat maida (white flour) which is low in dietary fibre. Pastry flours available in United States may be used as a substitute for maida.

Bhature are made with white flour, yogurt and oil: some people and especially restaurants use yeast or baking powder, as it reduces the time needed for the dough to rise. This recipe is for the most popular type – plain bhature.

 Ingredients: •  250 gm maida (bleached white flour)

•  1 cup dahi (plain yogurt)

•  1 measure of pani (water) tmake the dough soft

• Vegetable oil to fry in


1. Mix the flour and yogurt thoroughly then slowly add the water and knead the dough till it has a soft consistency.

2.  Put the dough in a bowl, cover it and place it in a warm place to rise, like inside the oven but do not turn the heat on. Leave for 8 to 10 hours: if you prefer, make the dough at night and leave it aside; by the morning the dough will have risen quite well and be ready to use.

3. Once the dough has risen it will fill up the entire bowl. Place the bowl in the refrigerator till you are ready to cook.

4.    In a kadai (deep skillet or wok), heat the oil up till it is very hot.

5. Meanwhile, grease your palms with some oil so that the dough won’t stick and then break the dough into several small balls. Coat the balls with a little oil and set them aside.

6. The dough is not rolled with a walan (rolling pin) because it is quite soft. Spread the ball between the palms till you form a 4 inch round patty.

7. Carefully slide the patty into the hot oil and then see if the bread starts to puff up and then turn slightly brown. If it does, then the dough mixture is the right consistency. If they fluff up only a little, then the dough is hard and should have been softer.

8.  Repeat the steps and cook all the dough. As the bhature come out, place them on paper towels on an inclined plate to soak up and drain the excess oil. Keep the heat on high until you are done with cooking.

9. Serve hot with the chole, with your favorite garnishes.

MAMA'S 2Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the old-fashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur, India before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. People have often admired her cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her mid-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share some of her delectable Punjabi recipes.