Babru is another Jammu/Himachal Pradesh special roti. Traditionally, they are a part of celebratory meals made during religious ceremonies and special occasion like childbirth (sutra), birthdays in the household, pre-wedding ceremonies etc, everyone right from the priests to other folk in the community were served khameeri roti as the savoury element and babru as the sweet element. This is quintessential Dogri celebratory food. The platter would also consist of other Dogri delights such as Ambal and Rajma.
Fun fact - in Jammu, this is supposed to be sweet tasting, but if you cross the state boundary and head over to Himachal Pradesh, their version of Babru is a savoury dish that's filled with black grams and salt. If you've ever heard of the Indian snack Kachori, it's very much like that in Himachal Pradesh.
The ingredients listed below will be good enough for around a dozen Babru and given this is a dessert, we're looking at a serving size of around 2-3 Babru per person.
Wheat flour - 300g
Baking powder - 0.5 tsp
Ghee/Clarified butter - 2tbsp
Brown sugar or Jaggery powder - 75g
Water - 75ml
Fennel Seeds/ Saunf (optional) - Approx 10 g.
Sunflower oil - for deep frying. You can use as much oil as necessary for deep frying.
Before I jump into the process, I'd like to point out that you can use the same technique as Khameerey for preparing the dough while swapping out the coriander seeds with fennel seeds. I've showcased a slightly different and quicker technique here as this is what my grandma uses.
We start off the process by taking the sugar/jaggery and making a syrup out of it by heating it up along with the water. We don't want it to be thick, it needs to be runny and the moment the sugar starts to caramelise, we're done. We will be using this syrup to knead the dough.
In a mixing bowl of your preference - ideally one that you use for mixing and kneading doughs - mix the flour, ghee, baking powder and the fennel seeds.
Mix the ingredients well
Start adding the sugar syrup to your dry ingredients as you continue mixing.
Keep on mixing until all the flour starts taking the form of a dough that is stiff and tight.
Once it becomes a dough, you need to knead this for at least 10 minutes, the texture akin to that of a puri dough. For those unfamiliar - we're after a smooth texture but not silky. If you press it with the tip of your finger, it should bounce back slowly and not stick to your finger.
This dough can be used instantly and doesn't need any extra time to set.
Making the Bread
Now that the dough is set, we can start our forming process. As I mentioned above, this recipe is good for around 10-12 babru. So, I suggest you start separating your dough into 10-12 equal parts now.
It's time to shape the dough now, and we can use a rolling pin if we like. The idea is to shape the dough into a nice even circle around 3.5 inches (or 9 cms) in diameter.
Get some sunflower oil in your fryer and heat up the oil until it's at a high enough temperature.
Insert your formed Babru dough into the oil, and deep fry it as you would. Make sure to get it nice and brown on both sides.
Once it's reached the colour and texture as shown in the image above, take it out of the fryer and pat it down with a paper towel to remove the excess oil.
And we're done. If you ever give it a go, I'd love to know your thoughts.
See you in the next one :)