Homely Flatbreads That Sum Up A Sindhi Life
Back in the day, Sindhis much preferred jowar and bajra rotis before whole wheat rotis called phulka or maani became a staple. The whole wheat flour is also used to make Koki (a savoury flatbread made from flour, onion, chillies etc) and Lola (flour kneaded with syrup and ghee, rolled and shallow fried) while the deep fried puris are made on festive occasions.
If a Sindhi is not kick-starting his/her day with Chai Koki, then perhaps it would be stuffed parathas for breakfast. The dough is made from whole wheat flour and depending on the stuffing used, the parathes are known as Patate Waaro Phulko (aloo paratha), Mungan Waaro Phulko (boiled green gram stuffed paratha), Moori (radish), Dal (split moong dal) and Kaat (sun-dried bitter gourd peels, shallow fried) paratha! The seven-layered Satpuro Phulko smeared with white butter when eaten with piping hot Dal Moong (creamy green gram and lentil preparation) makes for a satiating meal.
The Dodo/Dodoh is a patted, spiced up flatbread made from either jowar or rice flour, and is relished with curd, dal or subzi. During winter, saayi thoom, the fresh green garlic is added to the Juar jo dodo, that lifts the flavours a few notches higher.
Besani/Besareen is also a popular unleavened flatbread made from gram flour and is generally cooked for Sindhi ‘cold food festivals’ like Gogo (Naag panchmi) and Thadri (Jogmaya), along with Koki and Lola.
Same rice flour is used to make Gyarsi dodoh, the patted, flatbread made from bhagar, mashed boiled potatoes and black pepper powder, which is consumed on Ekadashi with a delicious potato and lotus stem curry. Puris of Amaranth flour are also made for the same occasion.
Pakwan, the crunchy, fried maida puri paired with chana dal, is a hands-down winner when it comes to signature Sindhi dishes. Busri, also known as Ghudeli or Bhitto Phulko is a kind of roti that is now disappearing from our menus. The atta roti stuffed with crushed jaggery, cooked with dollops of ghee was once considered as the breakfast of champions, especially during winters. Ghudeli could be made either by folding a stuffed roti to make a semi-circle or by spreading the jaggery on the rolled roti, and covering it with another roti, which is then sealed on the edges and cooked.
Recipe for Busri (Busree) (Serves 2)
1 ½ cup whole wheat flour (chapatti flour)
1-2 pinches of black pepper powder or red chilli powder
Water to knead flour
½ cup finely crushed jaggery
Oil or ghee for shallow frying
Salt to taste
1. Add salt and pepper to the flour and using little water at time, knead soft dough.
2. Let the dough rest for a while.
3. Divide the dough into 2 portions.
4. Roll one portion into a roti and place ¼ cup crushed jaggery on one half of the roti.
5. Pull over the other half to make a semi-circle. Press the edges and by pinching and twisting all along the sealed edges make a gujiya kind of stuffed roti. Repeat the same with the remaining dough.
6. Cook on a hot griddle, flipping intermittently and pouring some ghee, till brown specks appear on both sides.
7. Serve hot with yoghurt or white butter.
Alka Keswani is a microbiology graduate, a hands-on mom and food blogger. Besides contributing articles to various magazines and newspapers, she has also co-authored a food section in ‘We The Sindhis’ book. Her blog Sindhi Rasoi won the Best Regional Food blog in 2013 and Best Vegetarian food blog in 2014 at the Food Bloggers Association of India awards. She also manages another blog called Recipeonclick for non-Sindhi recipes.
Follow Alka on Twitter @Sindhirasoi