I'm very excited that the lovely Aparna "My divers kitchen" is our kitchen of the month. Secretly hoping for a recipe that was Indian (or from that part of the world at least) that I'd never heard of... and yes she delivered. She found us a wonderfull recipe for small layered flatbreads, the Bakharkhani. This is what she wrote about them:
"Bakharkhani (also called Baqeerkahni, Bakharkhoni or Bakorkhani) are flatbreads that came into the Asian sub-continent with the tandoor and other breads of Turkish and Mughal traders and invaders sometime in the eighteenth century.
Bakharkhani is a layered and very rich bread, made in the manner somewhat like puff pastry, and is popular in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. In India, it is typically found in states where history, food and culture are influenced by the Mughal rule like Lucknow, Hyderabad and Kashmir.
This flatbread seems to be different in different parts of the world where it exists. It can be a savoury or slightly sweet, leavened or unleavened, soft or crisp, eaten for breakfast or served with tea, and even like a paratha (Sylheti Bakharkhani from Bangladesh). The softer leavened versions of Bakharkhani are usually served with kebabs and meat curries."
Not only a new way to make flatbread, but we also had to make 'Mawa" (never heard of that before) and Ghee (I knew that, but never tasted or used it). Well of course there are shortcuts for both, I thought it would be nice to make both from scratch. The ghee was easy and what a wonderful smell. The Mawa take time, about 1 - 1,5 hours to get 1 litre reduced. It needs stirring, so it's best to make it while you're in the kitchen anyway and you can do your stuff and stirr in between. It's so fun to make something that's totally new and that it works! I love that. I watched the video several times, especially the rolling, folding and shaping, then went ahead and made them. The layers broke open in several places when rolling them out, but even though they don't look as perfect as the ones you can see at Aparna's blog, they still taste very good! We ate some when still warm... and the rest we had with some soup, so not with tea.
Come on and have a go at baking these too. Bake, post and become our Bread Baking Buddy. Check out the information on Aparna's blog how to send in your information and we're looking forward in seeing your Bakharkhani!! Deadline 29th of this month.
(makes 10-12 small flatbreads)
1 litre full fat milk (2% will also do) - makes approximately 3/4 to 1 cup mava
2 cups flour, (plus a little more for rolling it out the dough)
1/4 cup mawa
1/4 cup ghee* (plus a little more for spreading on the dough while rolling it out)
1/4 tsp teaspoon salt
2 tsp sugar
2/3 cups water (a little less or more if needed)
Sesame seeds, to sprinkle (optional)
*Ghee is nothing but clarified butter and should be available readymade in Indian stores. It is quite easy to make your own at home. Since you are making the effort you can make a little extra and store the rest for later use. Ghee can be stored at room temperature and keeps for a while.
Melt 250 g of unsalted butter and let it cook until the milk solids in the butter start turning golden brown (do not burn them) and the liquid fat is a golden colour. You should get a rich aroma from it.
Let it cool to room temperature and then decant or strain the golden liquid into an airtight jar.
Making the mawa
Pour the milk into a heavy bottomed saucepan, preferably a non-stick one. Bring the milk to a boil, stirring it on and off, making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
Turn down the heat to medium and keep cooking the milk until reduces to about a quarter of its original volume. This should take about an hour to an hour and a half. The important thing during this process is to watch the milk and stir it frequently to make sure it doesn’t stick to the sides or bottom of the pan and get burnt. The danger of this happening increases as the milk reduces and gets thicker.
Once the milk it has reduced to about one fourth, 1/4 quantity, lower the heat to low and let cook for a little while longer. Keep stirring regularly, until the milk solids (mawa) take on a lumpy appearance. There should be no visible liquid left in the pan, but the mawa should be a bit moist and not stick to the sides of the pan.
Let it cool. Once it has cooled, it should still be dry,but a little moist and you should be able to crumble it.
And here are two links to substitutes to mawa (or khoya) which you might prefer to use. made with other sorts of milk & made with ricotta.
Making the Bakharkhani
In a large bowl, put the flour, salt and sugar into a large bowl. Crumble the mawa into it and mix in. Then add the ghee and use your fingers to rub it into the flour. Add the water, a little at a time, and knead well until you have a smooth and elastic dough that can be rolled out very thin.
Please see this video to get an idea of how the dough is rolled out, layered with ghee and flour and folded. The language in the video is Bangla but the visual is quite descriptive.Cover the bowl with cling wrap or a damp kitchen towel to prevent it from drying. Let it rest for about 30 minutes to an hour. Then lightly coat the dough with a little ghee and then let it rest for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 170ºC (325ºF).
Also lightly coat your rolling pin and board (or your working surface) with some ghee (or oil).Now divide the dough into two portions, working with one portion at a time. Roll out one portion of the dough as thin as possible into a rectangle, without adding any flour. It should be thin enough for you to see your work surface through the rolled out dough!
Brush some ghee (not too much) all over the surface of the rolled out dough with your fingers. Sprinkle some flour evenly over this, enough so that the ghee is absorbed when spread out. The flour layer should be thin. Brush some more ghee, again, over this and then sprinkle some flour over this like previously.
Fold the dough into half and once again repeat the process of brushing the ghee and sprinkling the flour over this twice, as before. Fold the dough for the second time (see the video) and repeat the brushing with ghee and flouring, twice.
Now roll up the dough into a long cylinder and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Pinch off lemon sized balls and roll each one into a small, round flatbread about 4 mm thick and approximately 10 cm in diameter. Sprinkle sesame seeds (optional) and lightly press into the dough. Make three cuts centrally and lengthwise on each flatbread using a knife. Place on parchment lined baking sheets and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until they’re light brown on top. Do not over bake. Let them cool and serve with coffee or tea.
(Adapted from Honest Cooking (http://honestcooking.com/bakarkhani-bread/)