Chole Bhature

Today I made Chole Bhature for lunch. I spent an hour going through various recipes online, and ended up combining the best of them to make mine.

I soaked the chickpeas overnight. Boiled water and added the chickpeas and covered the container. In the morning I realized I still didn't know how to go about the recipe. I'd decided the menu but had no recipe or cooking experience. haha

Making chole is easy. I boiled the chickpeas for about 3 hours.

Bhature was the tricky part. I realized I didn't have baking soda or baking powder. I also realized that yeast is a fungus and most people didn't use it. The chefs on YouTube had different styles of preparation. Some used only maida flour. Others added semolina ranging from a few spoonfuls to cupfuls. One even added gheu flour. Some added yoghurt and water, while others used yoghurt and milk.

A quick internet search reveals that both maida and gheu flour are made from wheat. But maida flour is very fine. Like fine powder. It's also very light and soft to the touch. Gheu flour is heavy. Quite an interesting discovery!

I added Eno to my dough. I also added coriander leaves, though I could hardly find any recipe with coriander leaves in the bhature. Well one lady added coriander leaves and cumin. I added ajwain, because I've got a history of stomach issues. Ajwain is apparently good for digestion. And so is Eno. Yay!

I forgot a few spices in the chole. Maybe next time I'll remember them all. There's just so many spices one can add, it's overwhelming. I didn't have a specific leaf spice in stock either. Now I'll have to look for it.

Rolling the dough with a rolling pin proved to be more difficult than I expected. The dough was so soft, it felt rubbery under the rolling pin. And the biggest bummer was that none of the bhatures rose up like balloons when frying. Well, portions of them had large pockets of air but I wanted a big balloon bhature, and it didn't happen! To save face, the bhature were soft and fluffy. They weren't hard like leather or rubbery like chewing gum.

I thought I was going to ace the recipes. Overall, I'm not satisfied and will give myself a B+ for first timer effort and enthusiasm. They were delicious. But not up to my standards! I WANT PERFECTION!

Speaking of perfection, I made ISKCON styled khichri for supper.

I made quite some improvements based on my previous reviews. But due to lack of some spices, I will give this one an A-. We're getting to the top though.

Cooking can be tiring. Especially when trying out new recipes. I slept like a log this afternoon because I couldn't fit in a morning nap. I also couldn't mop the floors because I was tired. This is my third month as a chef. I think with experience, things will get easier.

I had to put this down in writing because a part of me feels that I may not be doing this forever. And just like my services in ISKCON, which were brought to an abrupt halt by the pandemic, I think at some point, something else will eventually come up in life, and I may drift away from the kitchen. This is all valuable experience, which some day, just might save my life, and someone else's, if need be.

I've always been impressed by men in the kitchen. I've been going grocery shopping since I was a child. But I wasn't of much use in the kitchen. I think cooking is becoming a rare skill in developed countries. And this goes for both men and women. Most people spend all day working and usually prefer to eat out or order some takeaways. Nobody has time to cook a decent meal up. But I think it's a useful skill which can save you a lot of money in the long run. I used to get takeaways too. But if I compare the budget and food quality for takeaway meals and home-cooked meals, my kitchen always wins. I can always prepare whatever I want, the way I want it. I don't have to worry about shitty food or spicy food or straight up disgusting vomit-inducing food. Boy, I've eaten some nasty shit from takeaways! When someone else prepares your food, you don't always have a say in the quality, One day it may be finger-licking good, the next, repugnant. And it sucked because when you pay money at a restaurant, you expect top quality food; not some hodgepodge shit that was made in a rush.

Last time I bought groceries and they've lasted a good 10 days! That's a record for my weekly grocery shopping. Now if only I had a bigger refrigerator, I'd be able to stock up for 2 weeks at a time.