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Rajasthani Baati

Updated: Aug 24, 2021

Baati - Mother of all bread and yet easiest and healthiest of all to make. Requires less kneading, no rolling, no proving, no raising agent. How good is that? Minimal effort with spectacular results.

Rajasthani food is my all-time favourite and when we talk about Rajasthan then dal baati is the top ranker. I grew up eating this as it was an integral part of our meal. You guessed it; my ancestors are from Rajasthan and you will see many more delicious Rajasthani dishes in my future posts. Any event, wedding, or celebration in Rajasthan is incomplete without daal baati as one of the meals. If you happen to visit Rajasthan then you must try the famous baati or else you will be missing something you would wish you didn't.

Did you know, baati was a war-time meal of nomadic warriors from the Rawal dynasty (the founder of Mewar)? It is said that soldiers would break the whole Wheat (gehun) or Pearl millet (bajra) dough into small round portions and leave it buried under thin layers of sand to bake under the sun (solar cooking during those times...brilliant). When they returned after a long toiling day, they would find thoroughly cooked baati for their meal which is enjoyed by dipping it in a good amount of ghee along with curd or buttermilk. It was the healthiest and nutritious meal in itself that gave immense strength to the troop to endure the harshest day on the battlefield. Amazing, isn't it? Simple and effective.

As time passed by and with the movement of people from one place to another, baati meal evolved from just baati to dal baati which is now Rajasthan's specialty. Some also added subji (curry), chutney, and other side dishes to go with baati. Not only that, there is even a sweet version of baati called churma and has an interesting story of how it came to existence which I will share in my churma post. So stay tuned.

For now, let's explore the making of perfect crumbly baati, not too hard and not too soft or chewy, just the right texture.

Skip to recipe Rajasthani Baati or continue reading for tips and stages of making the recipe

Here are basic ingredients that are easily found in every (Q)kitchen to make Rajasthan's famous dish, Baati.

Whole wheat flour, Semolina, Yoghurt, Ghee, Carom seeds (ajwain), and salt.

Stages of Making - 5 Simple and quick steps

1. Mix all the ingredients

Add wheat flour, semolina, yoghurt, salt, carom seeds (ajwain), and ghee into a mixing bowl. You can use hands or food processor, as per your convenience, to combine all ingredients The texture should resemble breadcrumb.

2. Knead the dough

Gradually add water and knead it like roti dough. Do not over-knead the dough as we do not want too much gluten to develop. Dough consistency should be soft but not sticky. See the pic below, how easily I can make a dimple in the dough and it retains the shape. Brush ghee all around the dough. Cover it with a damp tea towel or cling wrap and allow it to rest. The dough will become slightly stiffer after resting cause semolina will absorb water.

3. Make baati balls

Line baking tray with baking paper (tip: brush a baking tray with ghee first and then place the baking paper. This will help baking paper to stick to the tray and prevent it from moving). Now brush the paper with ghee this will help baatis to brown from the base.

Give a quick knead to the well-rested dough, tear a small portion of the dough and make smooth dough balls without any cracks on top (slightly smaller than tennis ball size) as shown in pictures below. It is important to keep all baati balls of the same size and shape for even cooking (tip: use a weighing scale to weigh each torn dough portion and ensure each one weighs the same).

4. Baking baati balls

Brush dough balls with a thin layer of ghee. Cover the tray with baking paper and then with aluminum foil to prevent the baking paper from burning and flying due to the heat and fan of the oven. Place the baati tray in the middle rack of the oven and cook for 30 mins at180°C. (tip: covering the baati helps it cook with its own steam from within and prevents it from drying out and becoming too hard).

After 30 mins remove the cover from the baati tray. You will notice that baatis have swollen slightly and the base has turned golden brown. If not then bake for 5 mins uncovered. Flip all the baati on its stomach and cook in the oven for 5 mins. This will make the top of the baati golden brown. After 5 mins turn the baatis sideways and cook for 2 mins and then keep rotating on the sides every 2 mins until almost all sides are lightly golden. Do not over bake or the baati will go too hard from inside.

5. Soak baati in ghee

Meanwhile, keep a heatproof bowl ready with 1.5 cup of ghee in it. Yes, it is a lot of ghee. As I mentioned baati and ghee go hand in hand. Without ghee, baati will taste dry and also hard to eat. So ghee is the quintessential ingredient for baati.

When the baatis are ready. Pull the tray out and turn off the oven. While baatis are hot, use a tea towel to lightly press the hot baati and create a crack but do not break it into pieces. Place them in the bowl filled with ghee and let it soak for 15 minutes. Ghee will melt with the heat of baati and gradually seep through the cracks and moisten the baati from within. Let it soak for at least 5-10 mins. If required with help of a spoon, scoop melted ghee from sides and pour it over the baati to coat it well with ghee. When serving lift up baati with tong or spoon and drain excess ghee.

Final result

Enjoy freshly made Rajasthani baati with piping hot spicy Rajasthani Dal and kachumber (cucumber and tomato salad). See the Q & A section towards the end of the post to learn how baati is eaten.

How to eat baati?

Your head must be spinning, thinking, baati looks inviting but how the hell do I eat it. Simple. Put away your spoon, fork, and knife. All you need is clean hands... fingers to be precise. Crush baatis with your fingers into tiny pieces. If baatis are made correctly (i.e crunchy outsides and soft crumbly insides) it should easily crumble. Now add more ghee if baati looks and feels dry. Mix well. Add Rajasthani Dal to crushed baati mix and enjoy. Since baati is naturally grainy and dry it will absorb all the liquid (dal) that is poured on it quickly. So at a time add dal to a small portion of crushed baati. Eat and repeat.

Baatis can also be served with other curries (subji), chutney, and pickle (achaar) along with dal. Feel free to add a small amount of curry or chutney or achaar to every bite of dal baati mixture and enjoy the explosion of flavour in your mouth.

Is there a particular type of dal that goes with baati?

Any type of dal can be paired with baati. Right from plain dal to spicy masala Rajasthani Dal, from a single type of dal to mixed dal. All goes well with baati.

Dal Options - Plain toor (Yellow split Pigeon peas) dal, Spicy toor (Yellow split Pigeon peas) Rajasthani Dal, Moong (Split green gram lentils) dal, Urad (Split & skinned black gram), Channa (Split chickpeas) dal, mix of 5 dal called panchmel dal.

Cooking options?

There is a number of methods that can be adapted to cook baati.

Traditional method: Traditionally baati is baked over the ambers of dried cow-dung.

However, we cannot achieve this in our new modern way of living. So my favourite way of making baati is in the oven.

Oven method: Bake as per my recipe.

Microwave and Oven method: You can also cook in a microwave and then roast it in the oven. For this place 6 baati on a microwavable greased plate. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes then place baatis on a baking tray and bake in the oven as per my recipe from the uncovered baking step.

Boiled and Oven method: Drop baati balls in boiling water and boil for 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and place them on a baking tray and bake in the oven as per my recipe from uncovered baking step.

Deep fry method: Some like to deep fry baati. For frying make smaller balls (half the size of a tennis ball). Fry them on low to medium flame.

What other flour can be used instead of wheat flour?

Any other grain flour can be used to make baati but make sure the flour is of a coarse texture and not a fine powder.

Instead of wheat, one can use Pearl Millet (Bajra), Cornmeal (Makki), Sorghum (Kowar), Amaranth (Rajgira), or a mix of flour.

Baati Variations?

Stuffed baati: Make a filling of your choices like potato masala or peas masala or dry fruit masala. Make small balls of masala. Take a small portion of baati dough and flatten it to form a bigger circle than the masala ball. Place the filling in the center of the flattened dough. Bring together all the sides of the dough enclose masala ball. Seal the joints. Bake as normal baati.

Gluten-free baati: Replace wheat flour and semolina with coarsely ground Millet/Cornmeal/Sorghum/Amaranth flour to make gluten-free baati.

Turmeric Baati: As the name suggests add 1 tsp turmeric powder to the baati dough before kneading it to make turmeric yellow baati.

No-Stuffed Masala Baati: To make masala baati without making the filling, add your desired masalas to the dry ingredient of baati dough and knead. When I make masala baati, I add red Kashmiri chilli powder, turmeric powder, a touch of garam masala, Fennel (saunf) seeds, cumin (jeera) seeds, dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi), extra salt.

Creative Baati: Once you know how to make basic baati, then the options are endless. Add in your flavour or twist to baati.

Storage and Shelf life?

Due to its dryness and high-fat content baati has an extended shelf life. Dip them in ghee and it can stay well for 2-3 days on the shelf at room temperature and longer for 4-5 days in the fridge. Many like to eat baati with tea the following day.

Looking at this ravishing thali packed with generously ghee coated baati, richly tempered dal, bowl full of sweet churma, cucumber tomato kachumbar and ample of pappadums, my heart is already singing "Kesariaaa.... balam.... aavo ni.....patharo mhare desh...".

If this Rajasthani thali filled with baati doesn't tempt you then I do not know what will.
After this hearty Rajasthani meal, an afternoon nap is a must. Yawn... I am off for a snooze... see you in my next post.

Recipe link below


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