Living in a neighbouring town of Delhi, I never really had any exposure to Gujarati food. Except a little later around late 1990s, the market seemed to be flooded with namkeens and snacks by the Gujaratis. One would wonder, maybe sitting in the United States of America, how can an Indian not have experienced the Gujaratis or their food, their culture or even their mannerisms. But it is true that I really did not have any contact with the western state; no relatives, neighbours or friends who would go to Gujarat or Bombay in the summer vacations and get back those snacks for me (until much later). The television was full of ‘K serials’ and they were all eating khakras, theplas and ragda pattice (I still laugh at the name!) but I had very little exposure to this food.
The yummiest grab and go breakfast!
Until I went to Jamia for my masters and started carpooling with a Gujarati friend. She loved to cook. Every morning, I would drive to her house and wait for her as she would probably still be packing her lunch and making us both late.
The idea of missing the first lecture would make me mad but as soon as she came towards the car with a small plate or an extra methi thepla for me, I would forget it all.
The theplas would be warm, fresh, soft and done just right!
Of course, theplas and khakhras were all over the market but the homemade ones that she brought were far special!
Reading this you would imagine that soon she shared her recipe and I started making them. No, film school rarely gave us any free time for such exploits.
Store bought Theplas or Homemade?
I would still be buying them and it was not until recently that I finally learnt to make them when I didn’t get them at the nearby supermarket and would have to go to the big Indian supermarket far away to get them in Dubai. They are great for stocking for the summer where one doesn’t feel like standing in the kitchen for long. Just make a big batch and you’re good to go for a week!
This recipe reminded me of our Punjabi Missi Roti sans a few ingredients.
So here it is. The recipe to theplas with fenugreek leaves or Methi Theplas. I used dried methi leaves which are not as great as the fresh ones (highly recommended!). In case you haven’t yet had them, they are like an Indian flat bread, just thinner and the ingredients vary a bit. They are made of whole wheat but chickpea flour/besan is often added and the dough is kneaded using yogurt and some oil. Some people also add other grain flours but I was just starting out and kept it simple.
Here’s how you make easy soft Theplas at home
- Whole wheat flour, 1 cup
- Besan (chickpea flour) , optional, 1 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- dried fenugreek leaves (Fresh ones would be ideal, chopped), 1/2 cup
- coriander leaves (washed, chopped), 1/2 cup
- Finely chopped ginger, 1 tsp
- Green chilli, finely chopped, 1
- Cumin powder, 1 tsp
- yogurt, 2 tbsp
- vegetable oil, 1 tbsp
- red chilli powder, 1/2 tsp
- coriander powder, 1-2 tsp
- turmeric, 1/2 tsp
- carom seeds, optional, 1/2 tsp
- Oil for cooking
- Water for kneading the dough
Appliances and Utensils
- A dough maker or the biggest bowl you can find
- A tawa/flat pan
- A rolling pin
Knead a dough using all the ingredients listed above and let it rest half an hour. Make sure the dough is soft.
How soft is soft? You shouldn’t have to make too much of an effort to pull apart a rough ball of dough. Make small balls out of the dough and start rolling them into really thin preferably in a round shape. You can use some oil or dry flour to help it spread and not stick on the counter or the chakla base.
On a hot tawa on medium high heat, cook the theplas one by one, carefully cooking each side with a bit of oil till little brown spots appear.
Cook the entire batch and store wrapped in foil or wax paper, in an air tight container once they cool down. They can stay good for a while (typically days) are the good snack for tea time or a light breakfast. The oil helps the theplas to stay good for longer.
Serve warm theplas with some green chilli pickle or some Gujarati Choondo (sweet mango pickle)!
Thepla – spiced thin Gujarati flatbreads
- 1 A dough maker or paraat or the biggest bowl you can find
- 1 Tawa, Griddle or Cast Iron pan
- 1 Rolling Pin or Belan
- 1 Chakla Optionally use clean counter as a work surface
- 1 cup Whole wheat flour
- 1 tbsp Besan/ chickpea flour Optional
- Salt to Taste I used 1 and 1/2 tsp
- 1/2 cup Dried fenugreek leaves or Fresh Methi Leaves cleaned and chopped if using fresh
- 1/2 cup Fresh Coriander/ Dhaniya leaves washed, chopped
- 1 tsp Adrak/ Ginger finely chopped
- 1 to 2 Hari Mirch/ Green chilli finely chopped
- 1 tsp Jeera/ cumin powder
- 2 tbsp Dahi / yogurt
- 1 tbsp Tel / Vegetable oil Plus 2-3 tbsp more for cooking all theplas
- 1/2 tsp Lal Mirch / Red chilli powder
- 1 to 2 tsp Dhaniya / coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp Haldi / Turmeric
- 1/2 tsp Ajwain / carom seeds optional
- Water for kneading the dough
- Flour for dusting while rolling Alternatively you can use a few drops of oil for rolling
- Start by prepping fresh herbs, methi and coriander. Clean and chop rinsed herbs and do the same with the ginger. Gather all the ingredients for the dough in a dough maker/ paraat or large bowl except the water and flour for dusting.
- If kneading by hand, mix all the ingredients using a clean hand and rub the herbs in the flour to release flavour. Add just a few tablespoons of water in increments and knead to make a soft pliable dough. Make sure the dough is soft. You shouldn’t have to make too much of an effort to pull apart a rough ball of dough.
- Let the dough rest 15 minutes to half an hour.
- Make small balls out of the dough and start rolling them into really thin preferably in a round shape. You can use some oil or dry flour to help it spread and not stick on the counter or the chakla base.
- Place a tawa or griddle on medium high heat and let it heat up. You can hover your hand over the surface to check if the tawa is radiating heat. Once hot, cook the rolled theplas one by one, carefully cooking each side with a bit of oil till little brown spots appear.
- Cook the entire batch and store wrapped in foil or wax paper, in an air tight container once they cool down.
- Serve warm theplas with some green chilli pickle or some Gujarati Choondo (sweet mango pickle).
- They can stay good for a while (typically days) are the good snack for tea time or a light breakfast. The oil helps the theplas to stay good for longer.
More recipes on Kitchenpostcards!