Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Chola Fali - A gujarathi snack
Last year it was around Deepavali we moved to this country. We moved in to the empty apartment that very evening, purchased frugally and set up the house. Two days into Lagos, it was Deepavali. I had to be content with a simple home pooja and offering fruits. However, friends who live in the building invited us over to join in their celebrations and we had a good time.
One of my neighbours is a young mother who hails from Gujarat. She had prepared many typical Gujrati farsan and we were treated to. The chola fali is one that I liked very much and had requested her to teach me making the same. The opportune time did not come by until errr....yesterday, yes, a year later :(
I would be not doing justice if I did not introduce her to my readers. Did I mention 'young mother'? oh yes, I did! Rekha Adodra is a great cook who has trained her Nigerian maid to make perfect, thin crisp Khkaras among many other indian dishes, an artist who paints as a hobby and undertakes assignments too.
She paints pots and gifts them to friends - I have two of them adorning my home now!
All these, while she takes her three year old toddler to play school, gives in to the little girl's fancies and plays with her among many more regular duties as a parent.
Having said that, I shall also tell you how randomly we chose to make these chola falis. I asked her to be taught some traditional fare that she makes at home for trying and sharing in my blog.
She said I can walk in any time and we can have fun cooking up anything I decide to. She usually has stock of necessary ingredients. Thus yesterday evening about 5 PM I walk up to her apartment and we decide on Ghathiyas...as we chat up I say that we make kara sev and tell her that it has gram flour as base and spiced with carom seeds. She said then the recipe is similar and we shall try it some other time.
Then I asked her if she can teach me the same savoury treat I had at her place last year and that decided what I will learn...and oh yes, learn it, I did! And what is use of knowledge if not shared?
That is the purpose of the post!
Simple ingredients, some time on hand and loads of patience with the dough gives you this excellent snack which can be as versatile as you can make it. Today's recipe is basic enough for people not familiar with this.
It tastes like the pappadoms that we deep fry. Spiced with black salt and paprika, it keeps you picking at those strips one after the other. It takes all of your will power to stop snacking.
She used store purchased Mathia flour, a readily made mix of Urad dhal powder and Moong dhal powder. However, people who do not find it in your area can powder the dhals and mix them.
2 cups gram flour
2 cups mathia flour (alternately, mix 1 cup each of powdered urad dhal and powdered moong dhal)
2 tablespoons ghee
1/8th of a teaspoon bi-carbonate of soda (cooking soda)
Salt as required (dry roast the salt until warm prior to adding to the flours. Do remember to add lesser salt than required as you will be sprinkling black salt mix on top)
4 tablespoons oil for pounding the dough and to grease the surface on which you will roll the dough.
Oil for deep frying
For sprinkling on top:
3 teaspoons red chilli powder
3 teaspoons black salt
Method of preparation:
Sieve together the flours and soda-bi-carb, to mix well.
Heat the pan in which you will deep fry the chola falis. When the pan is warm, drop the salt in it and toss for a few minutes. When the salt has been roasted, add it to the flour mix.
Add the ghee to the flour. Mix well.
Add very little water and make a stiff dough. The dough should be so stiff that you may feel it crack.
Rest the dough for a few minutes.
Clean a portion of the kitchen floor / counter top (or better if you have a granite mortar/ aattukkal, ammi kal).
Divide the dough in smaller portions. Using a pestle, beat the dough down on the clean surface adding few drops oil every now and then. Repeat the fold / beat/ grease/ fold operation until the dough feels light and elastic and acquires a lighter shade.
Repeat with the entire portion of the dough.
Keep this dough covered while you pinch out small balls off it and roll out thin discs.
No flour is used for dusting the surface. You will have to grease the surface with very little oil and roll as thinly as possible. (My friend rolled out so thin that the dough looked transparent.)
Keep the rolled discs also covered to avoid drying by exposure to air.
Keep the oil for deep frying on.
Cut out strips off the dough.
Meanwhile, mix the black salt and red chilli powder in a bowl and keep ready.
Deep fry the strips, few at a time in hot oil.
They have to puff well. Fry them until they are crisp.
Remove from the oil with a slotted ladle and transfer to a dish.
Check for the crispness and sprinkle the chilli-salt mix on top immediately while the falis are warm.
Serve them as a snack and enjoy!
They dough has to be prepared very stiff.
Beating it down well ensures that the falis puff well.
Also rolling them very thin makes them perfectly enjoyable. Thick strips will become soggy.
Caution should be exercised while adding oil also during the process of beating the dough don and rolling. Do not be tempted to add more oil. The end result will be oil dripping falis.
The roasting of salt in the same pan aids a small addition of salt to the oil, which ensures that the deep fried stuff does not become oily.
Serve them as such, serve them as chaat, serve them with dips and your party is on fire from the starters :)
I will soon be making them and adding my own twist...stay tuned!