Nothing spells winter like a warm bajra roti, ladled with ghee, and eaten with seasonal greens. Across the country, the pearl millet, as it is also known, is made into a myriad dishes—be it a khichdi, porridge or pongal. Satyajit and Ajinkya, who co-founded Two Brothers Organic Farms, a bio-diverse, organic ecosystem certified by ECOCERT in the village of Bhodani, Maharashtra, suggest a bajra bhakri paired with gur (jaggery) and ghee, as a soulful and hearty dish, perfect for the season. According to the co-founders, working with the bajra flour offers an emotional connection to an ancient way of living and eating.
“This meal, eaten as a family huddled together inside the humble dwellings of thatch, straw and bamboo, speaks of the richness of the relationship between humans and the soil. Millets were grown and cultivated in the most arid regions of India and as a result different recipes using the same came into existence,” they say. The secret to making a bajra bhakri lies in the slow amalgamation of water and flour. It needs to happen slowly in order to make a soft, stretchy dough. Try this recipe before the wintry sunshine melts away and scalding summer heat replaces the cold.
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(makes 6 portions)
2.5 cups bajra flour
2 cups water
A large mixing platter
Add bajra flour to a large platter. Add a little water and keep the fingers in a stiff claw-like position. Start mixing water into the flour. Keep half the flour to one side, drawing a little portion in each time, while adding a bit of water. Once you get a slightly wet dough, start kneading by pushing the dough out with the base of the palm and pulling it back in with the fingers. Continue kneading for 10-15 minutes until you get a soft dough. Take a portion and shape a disc using your fingers. Let the centre remain thick. Keep rotating the disc to give it a round shape. Repeat this with the remaining dough.
Keep the discs aside. Now sprinkle a little flour on to the large platter. Place one disc on top of the flour, and using the palm of the hand keep rotating the disc until it flattens out into a roti of medium thickness. Place a tava on medium- high heat. Carefully place the rolled out bhakri on the tava. Dip a cloth in water and place it at the centre of the bhakri and keep rotating to cook it evenly. Alternatively, you can also sprinkle water directly on to the bhakri and pat it before rotating with the cloth. Cook on both sides until spots appear. Take it off the tava and keep warm. Repeat each time for the remaining dough. Serve hot with ghee and jaggery.
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