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Sweet Dhebras — Flat, Unleavened, Griddle-Cooked Parsi Bread

Sweet Dhebras — Flat, Unleavened Parsi Bread

Sweet Dhebras are another of the lost-Parsi-Zoroastrian-recipes. The Sweet Dhebras are flat, unleavened, griddle-cooked bread. Though not originally Persian, the Sweet Dhebras was bread much enjoyed by the Parsis and is still spoken of with nostalgia.

After coming to India, initially the Parsis adapted a lot of the Gujarati cuisine and adapted it to suit their taste buds. The ingredients, for these adapted foods from this unfamiliar cuisine, were freely and easily available in their newly adopted home in the land of the Jadav Rana (Jadi Rana). Sweet Dhebras, were eaten with great relish with a number of ever delightful dishes like ‘Fajeto’, ‘Summer Potatoes’, ‘Kachi Kairi ni Kari’ (raw-mango curry), ‘Lasan nu Eedu (garlic scrambled-eggs) and umpteen such dishes.

Making Sweet Dhebras is as simple as making chapattis and the daily diet may very easily be substituted by the Sweet Dhebras. Versatile, the Sweet Dhebras lends itself to be also eaten as a snack (try it with sour curds or ‘Lasan or Nariel ni Chutney’ {Garlic or coconut Chutnies}, Methia nu Achar {mango or any other pickle}). Make it, Taste it, and Device your own combinations.

Closer to the original Guajarati Dhebras are the Savoury Dhebras made by the Parsis. Unlike the Parsi Sweet Dhebras, the original Guajarati Dhebras are basically made from Sorghum (Jowar) Flour or of Pearl Millet (Pearl Millet) Flour and are Savoury with the addition of some vegetable and dry spice powders. The modern Thepla and Guajarati Dhebras are interchangeable names for the same flat bread. In recent times, borrowing from North India, the Guajarati Dhebras is made also from Corn Flour (Makkai ka Atta). The Gujarati Sweet Dhebras are made like the savoury Dhebras the only difference being the additional ingredient, Sugar to sweeten the mix of flour, vegetables and Masala. The ingredients of the Gujarati Savoury Dhebras are not replaced by sugar, it is merely an extra ingredient included.

Parsi Dhebras, whether sweet or savoury, are always made from Whole wheat Flour (Atta) and the cooking method and ingredients are different for each.

RECIPE:

INGREDIENTS:

350 grams jaggery;

3 tablespoons Ghee/cooking medium of choice but avoid Olive Oil as it will alter the Indian Flavour of the bread;

2 cups whole wheat Atta;

sweet dhebras
SWEET DHEBRAS

½ teaspoon salt.

METHOD:

Cut the Jaggery into small bits,

In a thick-bottomed vessel, heat 2 ½ tablespoons of Ghee,

When fairly hot, put all the Jaggery into it,

Reduce the fire,

Melt all the jaggery, stirring occasionally so the jaggery does not stick to the bottom or burn,

And once all the jaggery has melted to a smooth rather viscous paste,

Take the vessel off the fire.

Once off the fire,

Sieve the Flour over the melted Jaggery,

Mix well, fast but not too vigorously (vigour will make the dough sticky and difficult to handle and cook),

When the dough is cool enough to handle,

Knead with your hands to make soft Dough (like for paronthas),

Add water while kneading, if necessary.

Roll the dough into a large circle, about a ¼ inch thick,

Dust the edge of a round mold, bowl or glass with dry flour,

Use it to cut the dough into small roundels,

Put aside.

Heat a griddle,

Grease the griddle with a little of the remaining Ghee,

Place each Dhebra on the Griddle and cook, like chapattis flipping over twice, until brown on both sides.

Grease the griddle each time you place the next Sweet Dhebra to cook.

A sprinkling of sesame seeds on the Sweet Dhebras before cutting into Roundels makes a tasty variation.

 

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