You are here

Chapter VI: Breads

Bujeas are always eaten with native bread. For these breads the flour is always ground in the home. The mill used is exceedingly primitive. It consists of two large circular stones, one fitting into the socket of the other. By revolving the upper stone over the lower the grain which is poured between the stones is crushed. It is the women of India who do the grinding, and "two women grinding at a mill" is a familiar sight everywhere throughout the land.

The bread made from this home-made flour differs very much from the bread we know. It is not made into loaves, but into little flat cakes, which are baked over coals on a griddle. No yeast is used.

Although India is one of the greatest wheat countries in all the world, the great majority of people in India do not eat wheat bread. They are too poor for that. They eat bread made from the flour of coarser grains. Some of these grains, such as millet and rye, we are familiar with; others are quite unknown to us. Corn and oats are but little used in India.

The bread made from these coarse grains is hard to digest. It is made by simply mixing the flour with water. The dough is then patted into little cakes. The bread made from wheat, however, is much finer, and Europeans living in India soon grow to be very fond of it. Some of the varieties would not be practical in this country. However, a few forms of Hindustani bread are quite easily managed here, and will well be worth a trial.

68. Chupatties.

Take a pound of whole wheat and mix it with water until a soft dough is formed. Knead this well. Put a damp cloth over it, and let it stand an hour or so. Then knead again. Make out into balls, each ball about as big as a walnut. Then roll each ball into a flat cake about as big around as a saucer. Bake these cakes one at a time over a very thick iron griddle that has been well heated. Keep turning them over and over while they are baking. Fold them up in a napkin as they are baked and keep in a warm place. The inside pan of a double boiler is a good place for them. To be properly made these cakes should be patted into shape instead of rolled, and the Hindustani women always do it that way. These chupatties are eaten with bujeas and curries.

69. Chupatties (Americanized).

Make a dough from a pound of whole wheat flour, a half teaspoonful of baking powder, and a little salt. Knead well and let stand. When ready to bake them, divide into balls as big as a walnut. Roll each out, spread a little oil or crisco over it; fold up and roll again. Grease an iron griddle and bake, turning from side to side. These are not actually fried, but the crisco in them and the greased griddle prevents them from getting hard, as they are apt to do if made according to No. 68.

70. Prahatas.

This is a very rich and satisfying form of native bread. Take a pound of whole wheat and make a dough according to No. 68. Divide the dough into eight equal parts and make each part into a ball. Flatten each ball a little and spread with crisco. Double it up and repeat this three or four times; then roll thin and fry. Use as little grease in frying as is possible.


Puris are similar in appearance to chupatties, except they are fried instead of baked.

71. Potato Puris.

Equal parts of mashed potatoes and flour, mixed to a paste and rolled very thin. Make each puri about as large as a saucer. Fry as you would fritters. These sound rather expensive, and they do take a good deal of fat; but they are to be eaten without butter. Eat with curry. Nothing else will be needed at a meal where these puris and curry are served, for they are very satisfying.

72. White Flour Puris.

Knead for ten minutes a dough made from a pound of fine white flour and water. Let stand four or five hours. Divide into little balls and roll until they are as thin as paper. Fry as you would fritters.

73. Sweet Potato Puris.

Take equal parts of mashed sweet potatoes and whole wheat. Work together into a soft dough. Roll out into cakes, but not too thin. Fry in as little grease as possible.