Oooh! Did you make those again? Is that what we're having for dinner?
Sorry, kiddo! I am just digging into my archives. [pout]Another day, maybe? When I get fresh methi or I remember to grow my own, like Shyam does?
You promise? But of course!
She went away rather morose, knowing that she would get a third instalment of rotisserie chicken makeovers for dinner. I thought of making dal with unripe mangoes just for her but slaving over a warm stove, no matter how inviting, was not something I wanted to do with an achy back. I helped pack-up the Book Fair at her school yesterday and I knew I should not have helped lift those heavy boxes or move chairs but what is done is done.
Thepla is a spiced unleavened flatbread from my husband's home state of Gujarat. Although I'll have you know that I knew how to make this much before we knew each other. There are as many variations to methi na thepla as there are to batata vadas, all of them without onions and peas. I know not where my version hails from but I learned it by watching a Maharaj at work.
Methi na Thepla
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/3 cup besan
- 1 bunch methi
- 1/2 bunch cilantro (optional)
- 2-3 tbsp oil
- 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
- pinch asafetida
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp red chilli powder (optional)
- 3-4 Thai chillies (more, if you want to up the heat), sliced thin
- 4-5 kadipatta leaves (optional)
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 1 cup yogurt, whisked (approx)
- Salt to taste
- Wash methi and use only the leaves, discarding the stems. Pat dry and then chop fine.
- Wash the cilantro and chop fine.
- Mix the two flours and salt in a bowl.
- Heat the oil in a small saucepan and add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add asafetida, followed by green chillies and then kadipatta. Keep a splatter guard handy to keep the mess at a minimum.
- Make a 'well' or a depression in the flours and put the chopped methi leaves and chopped cilantro leaves into it.
- Add grated ginger, turmeric powder, and red chilli powder.
- Pour the hot oil over the leaves. You will hear them sizzle!
- When the oil cools enough to handle, pick out the kadipatta leaves and if you wish, the green chillies, too. Gently rub the leaves and seasoned oil into the flour.
- Knead a firm dough using only as much yogurt as required to bind the dough. You do not want the dough to be too soft or sticky.
- Let the dough rest for at least 15-20 minutes. Cover with a damp paper towel or kitchen towel.
- Heat a tava in the meanwhile.
- Divide the dough into small balls, about 12-13 and roll them out till they are at least 6 inches in diameter.
- They must be translucent.
- Put the rolled out thepla onto the hot griddle. When its color has changed slightly or it developed little brown spots, flip it over.
- Drizzle a little oil over the surface and spread it. Let the thepla cook some more and then flip it over again and drizzle some oil onto this side and spread it.
- If you have the paratha-pressing contraption, press down on the thepla and rotate the thepla. Do this until both sides have cooked and have some pretty golden spots.
- Serve hot or at room temperature with chundo or with yogurt mixed with jiralu.
- I use a little more besan than what is specified in most recipes. We like the taste of besan and I remember seeing the Maharaj add a fairly large amount of besan in proportion to the whole wheat flour.
- Most thepla recipes do not use seasoned oil and I have found that this ups the taste-level significantly.
- Theplas need to be rolled out thin. If they are not transclucent, then you are making methi parathas, not theplas.
- Theplas need a large amount of oil and must be cooked using oil or ghee. They are usually stored at room temperature and are perfect finger food in lunch boxes as well as for picnics. You could use less oil but then you might end up with chewy or extra crisp theplas depending on how long you cook them.
- They are said to last at least 4-5 days in an air-tight container. Ours never last more than the next day.
Thepla recipes abound on the net:
Smita Serves You Right
Madhuram's Eggless Cooking