Monday, July 25, 2011

Daily Dinner (8): Rajasthani Missi Roti (Plus a repost)

If I had to pick out anything absolutely essential, stand alone compnent to a North Indian meal, I'd point to the roti (chapati) or the unleavened tortilla-like flatbread. This may sometimes be the only ingredient in a thali; and yet enough for sustenance.
And I'm not talking only about those who can't afford to pay for food. Growing up, I had a cousin who'd only eat his roti with ghee-boora (powdered sugar mixed with butter). My treat at my naani's home used to be roti rolled around a thick spread of fresh malai (milk cream) sprinkled with sugar. My mom loved to coat her rotis with ghee- mirch (red pepper powder mixed with clarified butter) with a raw onion on the side. And on hot summer days, I remember coming home from school and sitting down for a lunch of Rajasthani Missi Roti with a glass of chilled Matha (spiced butermilk). This roti was the informal, no-frills attached at-home thali.

This missi roti was something that my mom would never offer her guests; because of the 'special' status that described 'athithi' in her mind. Looking back, I don't think I've had this roti for over a decade now. Which is probably why I lost the reference point for this meal from my mind in the first place. Then recently, at one of our Swadhyay picnics, we were with friends and somehow the conversation turned to 'what reminds us of our family time from our childhood?' I can safely assume that more than half the inputs were food related. When some one said 'khichdi', because it gave their mom a chance to sit and eat with the family, it instantly flashed a picture of my family sitting together over missi roti. It was such a strong association, that I just fell compelled to make my mom's Rajasthani Missi Roti for dinner one night.

Rajasthani Missi Roti

Atta / whole wheat flour 1 measure*
Besan/ bengal gram flour 1 measure*
Salt and red chilli powder to season
Coriander powder 1/2 tsp
Finely chopped red onion 1 measure *
Water to knead
A little oil to coat the dough

Optional : Chopped green chillies and mint leaves

* Use the same measure for everything
  1. Mix the two flours and spices together with your fingers in a large flat mixing bowl (like a paraath).
  2. Add the onions, green chillies and mint (if using), and coat the flour. This helps flour absorb moisture from the veggies.
  3. Using luke warm water, a few drops at a time, bring the dough together. This is a fairly sticky dough, so do not over work it.
  4. Coat your palms with oil generously, roll the dough between your palms, and then let it rest for 5 min or so.
  5. Using a ziploc bag cut open*, roll a golf-sized ball of dough into a flat tortilla.
  6. Transfer the roti to a hot skillet/tawa and cook till brown fleck appear. Flip, and cook on the other side.
  7. Slather with fresh butter (or ghee) and enjoy.
* For details on how to roll and cook this rotis, follow the instructions here.

My two cents: I wasn't sure of A's reaction to this roti, so I did have a baingan-bharta on the side. Which he was thankful for. I think, being a non-Rajasthani, he doesn't really appreciate the good thigs in life!! There are definitely no rules on how you should serve or eat this meal. I had mine with tons of yogurt, and the girls just ate the roti slathered with ghee. I didn't add the green chillies or mint because of the kids; but I really feel that the spice and flavor from these two add a uniqueness to this roti.

All in all, a very memorable meal for my Daily Dinner series. I welcome all of you to share your family meals with me on FaceBook, and I'll either feature them or invite you to talk about those dinners on this space.

Linking this Missi Roti and my Gatte ki kadhi to the Flavors of Rajasthan event hosted by Sonu of Palate Corner and started by Nayna of Simply Food.