Dal Bati Churma (pronoun: Choorma) is a traditional and probably the most popular part of the Rajasthani cuisine.
Rajasthan (Raja- King, Sthan-place), a state that borders the north western part of India, surrounded by the age old Aravalli ranges, is rich and beautiful.
the lyrics of kingdoms, wars, chivalry and victories,
Victory Tower, Chittorgarh – Rajasthan
Forts and the Palaces,
Lake Palace, Udaipur – Rajasthan
City Palace, Udaipur – Rajasthan
Heritage and Art
A visit to the Tribal Handicraft Station
have made this place ever so enticing and intriguing.
Known to be one of the top destination for tourists from all over the world, this otherwise arid, dessert like landscape has been enlivened by pretty colors
Above: Peacock’s visit at home and the Road Side Stalls
and a culture rich and brimming. A visit to this state is a trip taken to the past, a lot of which still remains and is amalgamated with the present traditions. It is a spell binding experience that invokes awe and reverence.
The cuisine as you can imagine is equally rich and varied.
Dal, Bati, Churma as I have mentioned above, is made of three items: Dal (lentils) , Bati (a kind of whole wheat bread shaped in balls, sometimes stuffed and baked) , and Churma, a coarsely ground whole wheat cooked in ghee and sweetened with sugar or gur (jaggery). Churma accompanies the Dal and Bati.
(see this video/youtube to have an idea about the preparation and serving of Dal, Bati and Churma)
There happens to be a lot of variation in making of the Churma or the Churma Laddoo. While this recipe is an authentic one from home where the dough is divided and deep fried, there are the kinds where the dough is baked, or flat breads are made with the dough on the griddle and then powdered – mostly to avoid the deep frying. The Laddoos come in different flavors too. Sometimes dried fruits and nuts are added or even fenugreek/methi seeds, depending on the season and the occasion. These ones here are the basic plain ones flavored with powdered cardamom seeds.
The dish as it shows above is Churma – in the powdered form; the whole wheat processed, cooked and sweetened with sugar.
Another form of this is the Churma Laddoo – when this powder is shaped into spheres.
I have never made the Churma or the Laddoo myself; I always stood by and watched, measuring, kneading and helping and the last time she made them, I photographed too. Thanks to A’s mom that we have the recipe here today and a big thanks to A’s sister in law that we got a big boxful of Laddoos back here from India. She sat in the heat and humidity for hours and made innumerable Laddoos and we are indulging on right now.
It is a recipe as rich as the history of the state, and it is kind of a multi step process, each step is important and vital to the making of the final perfect Churma or the Churma Laddoos. I have the detailed recipe below, but will go over the process one time before you start reading through the recipe.
(Follow the collage below in the clockwise direction):
The first step is making the dough, followed by dividing the dough into portions,which are then deep fried in ghee until light golden.
The fried dumplings/muthiyas are allowed to cool for a while, each broken into halves and deep fried in ghee again until they are golden brown. After cooling these fried halves, they are crumbled and then processed in the food processor until it resembles a coarse powder without lumps.
To make the Churma, sweetener (sugar) is then added along with cardamom powder to the powdered wheat.
To make Churma Laddoos, sugar or gur/jaggery (as per preference) is added, along with more ghee to bind the powder and shape them into balls or Laddoos.
Churma and Churma ke Laddoo
Ingredients: (makes approx. 50 Laddoos, depending on the size they are rolled into)
- 6 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup melted ghee + 1 cup ghee (for Laddoos) + more ghee for deep frying
- Approx. 3 cups lukewarm milk
- 18 small green cardamom, seeds only – made into a fine powder
- few tablespoons of lightly toasted chopped nuts (Optional)
- 2 lbs/or 3/4 kg gur/jaggery (approx. use as per your taste) or as much sugar to taste (if you are not using gur/jaggery)
Combine flour, and one cup of ghee and mix until it forms crumbles. Now add the milk slowly to make a stiff but smooth dough. (if you need less than the above 3 cups of milk, use less, and if you need more, add more). The dough should not be sticky.
Divide the dough by tearing off fist size amount from the dough. Take each portion and roll it in a cylindrical shape/dumplings/muthiyas and squeeze it between your palm and with your four fingers in such a way that the portions have a dent/imprint of your fingers. Process each portion in the same way above.
In a thick bottomed wok/kadai, heat the ghee for deep frying. Fry in batches till they are golden and set them aside.
Now break each fried portion into half. Deep fry these broken halves in ghee again. Set them aside to cool.
Use a food processor to grind the fried dough into a powder. There should be no big lumps. I usually use a sieve and separate any remaining bigger portions and process them again in the food processor till they are powdered.
To make the Churma:
Add powdered sugar (adjust to your taste) and cardamom powder to the powder above and combine well. Add a couple of tablespoons of ghee and the nuts if you want. Combine well. Churma is ready.
To make Churma Laddoos:
Sugar OR Gur/Jaggery may be used to sweeten the Laddoos.
If you are using gur/jaggery, the jaggery should be broken into small pieces with any tough hard part removed. If the jaggery is too tough, it is a good idea to sprinkle some water and microwave it for a few seconds to soften it. Use a rolling pin or a mortar and pestle to process the jaggery into a smooth soft dough kind of form. If you are using sugar, make sure the sugar is ground up smooth or use caster sugar.
Combine one cup of ghee, jaggery or sugar to the powdered fried dough. Add the cardamom powder. Mix everything together really well.
To make Laddoos, take as much as your palm can hold to make balls/laddoos, and try to tightly bind them. The powdered wheat with the ghee and the sugar/or jaggery added, should now be able to form into tight balls which will crumble when bitten. If it is difficult to form the balls, add more ghee till you are able to make the Laddoos.
Store them in air tight containers at room temperature.