Monday, March 23, 2009

Theplas - Perfect when 'on the go'

I decided to write about this phase of my life however disgusted N is about it. I studied in a prominent Engineering college in Gujarat and lived the true life of an Engineering student. I fear N may edit the post if I elaborate more than that. However, one of the perks of living in Gujarat was eating its simple food. Outside. Outside the college hostel mess. Our mess served disgusting food and any legitimate chance to go out and eat was always welcomed. So was going home. The train journey from Gujarat to Madras was long and we mostly travelled unreserved. And we NEVER bought food or packed food for the train. We arrived early on the train for 2 reasons. One, to grab seats and two, to grab seats near old Auntyjis/huge families. It is well-known that Gujaratis love their food and carry lots of food while traveling. Typically in large metal tiffin carriers. Its got a variety of snacks. and invariably one namkeen :D A lot of their food is travel safe. This was just what we wanted. Next step was to make a sad, starved, poor boy face. We looked SO depressed that the families offered food. This trick never failed :D This was the routine.

1. Board the train and seat yourself next to a family.

2. Look out for the big metal suitcase (baksaa in Hindi :D). Offer to get water for books/magazines rom the platform every single time the train stops.

3.Don't talk about girls in front of the families.

4. Look sad and homesick always.

Voila! At exactly dinner time or any time (in case of some families which carried snacks also!), we'd have the aunties call us and offer us Theplas with or without sabzi. Doesn't matter. Nothing matters when you have a couple of free Theplas in hand. Home-made, served with achaar or pickle and given with love. Nothing came between us and the Theplas. N gets disgusted at what she calls 'cheapness' every time I reminisce about such events during my college life. However, she did good. She took this as a hint to shut me up and made Theplas for dinner one day. I haven't narrated this story after that day :) Here is the recipe. We adapted it from Manisha's recipe. N loves besan and so, she added more besan than the recipe asked for. Reproducing Manisha's recipe with due credit to her with a couple of changes, in N's words.

Ingredients:

1/2 (or a little more) cup besan or chickpea flour
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup Methi (fenugreek) leaves- chopped finely
2 tbsp jeera or cumin seeds
1/4 cup onion chopped finely (optional)
1/4 cup cilantro chopped finely
4-5 green chillies, chopped finely
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1tsp chilli powder or cayenne pepper
1 cup yogurt
1 tsp ghee
4 tbsp oil
Salt to taste



1. Mix both the flours and salt and keep aside. Make a depression in the middle of the flour mound.

2. Add the greens - cilantro and Methi or Fenugreek leaves to the flours into the depression.

3. Fry cumin seeds/jeera and green chillies in ghee and add on top of the leaves. I didn't hear it sizzle like Manisha did :( though I love the sound and was waiting for it.

4. Add the rest of the ingredients except the yogurt and mix well

5. Use the yogurt to bind the dough. Make sure not to add too much yogurt and make the dough too soggy. It will be tough to roll out later.

6. Heat the tawa to screaming hot.

7. Roll out theplas as thin as possible. Mine weren't as thin but well, I cannot have everything: Good Theplas and A to stop talking about the same incident over and over again ;)

8. Fry on the tawa with little oil or ghee. Serve with a dollop of butter on them. Nothing tastes like good butter. But then, well, some of us have other concerns. So, I ate them with yogurt and Mango pickle leaving the buttered ones for someone else. Sigh. Buttering him up, literally!

The theplas were gorgeous and I loved the extra besan in them :D I felt I should have followed the original recipe thoroughly though. So, next time, I plan to do just that. I love Theplas and this is a regular in our home now :) Sending this to Lakshmi's Meals on Wheels event. This is literally like that for A!

Anything to stop A from talking about how 'efficient and smart' he and his friends were! Really.

48 comments:

Nags said...

hehe that's a really nice story. Did you also carry some backup food, just in case you didn't chance upon any generous aunties?

I haven't heard of theplas before so bookmarked, of course,

N, I share your love for besan, I add it to practically all gravies in the guise of 'thickening' it but really, I love the flavour ;)

Mahimaa's kitchen said...

lovely theplas.. looks nice. now u have reminded me that i have some methi leaves in the fridge and i shud finish them by making these theplas :)

aquadaze said...

LOL @ A!

N, I am totally with you on the besan..for good measure, I also throw in some garlic in my theplas.

Bharti said...

Funny story...I love theplas. Reminds me of gujju friends and their tiffins during recess time.

Deepa Hari said...

Nice post..enjoyed reading it...Lovely theplas...never tried them....looks great.

Cham said...

A not only N, even I thought How "cheap" is that, boarding without food or is that a techni the opposite party will talk you first :)Luckily, some old good aunties are always to rescue these heroes! Now, I want this post be edited by N and get clear some of the situation, so what did u talk when the family was not there to those gals (of course if)??? (just kidding not serious guys)
I never made theplas but look like u guys are pro of making them.

Priya Sriram said...

Oh really? You guys!! :D :D
Enjoyed that story! Ha HA!!
Btw, lovely looking theplas(as you call it) Good idea for meals on the wheels! :)

Donna-FFW said...

Oh , you are too funny. Thanks for the smile, and for the introduction of this foodas I have never heard of it before, but it looks wonderful!

Arundathi said...

that's too funneee! :-) god bless indians and their big tiffin carriers and their generous hearts!
bookmarked the recipe - thanks for sharing - I love theplas!

sra said...

Nice story. I used to make that face with my tuition master who had a tendency to cancel the class if I was upset about my marks.

Elyse said...

What a great story! Theplas sound fantastic!

Sanghi said...

Delicious recipe..!:)

Chitra said...

theplas sounds interesting:)

SJ said...

Hey...hey that happens only in India!!! I love besan too..must make these...

Jayashree said...

Loved the story.....I've seen these huge dabbas that Gujaratis carry and have always been curious about what's inside....

Soma said...

nice read:-) Bless the generous aunties!

BTW i never fry the spices when i make theplas.. but it does enhance the flavor.. never thought about it. next tile i will do it this way.

Asha said...

I can imagine steel dabbas jingling all over the train and aroma!! YUM! :)

I bought tiffin carriers last year. When Trisha is in the dorm,I will be cooking and hauling it to U! ;D

Theplas look yum, very healthy too too, enjoy.

Sandeepa said...

Ahh those steel dabbas make you drool anyway
Theplas look good, have heard but never had any

Usha said...

Nice story ! The theplas look very yum :-)

Holler said...

I loved your post! You are cheeky, but to good result it seems :) These look really tasty.

AnuSriram said...

Nice story! Delicious theplas!

Vani said...

Funny story! :) My nephew is now in a college hostel too and it seems like he's always hungry! He actually orders an entire cake and eats half of it at one time and stores the other half for later that day! Of course at that age, nothing turns to fat..envy, envy..

Theplas look delicious!

Valarmathi said...

Nice story. Funny. Never tried this. Should make a try.

Bianca said...

Food with a story behind it always tastes better! And I'm a huge fan of flatbreads.

Varsha Vipins said...

Hehe..Thats a nice trick..lol..i have seen aunties carrying big carriers of food,in train,as if they havent had food for years at home,or more ,they get into train just to eat..:D
Thepla looks perfect n yum..:)

DEESHA said...

ha ha that was hilarious .. anything for theplas I bet .. When we guys were on our honeymoon, there was this cute gujarati couple too & once I gathered all the sympathy by telling them how much I loathed outside food, the couple generously gave me a few theplas & there I was sooo thrilled on the inside. Gujjus are generous with food I say

Lisa said...

Great post and wonderful recipe. I suppose I could substitute dried methi leaves for the fresh ones?

Ingrid said...

LOL1 That's funny. I personally love to hear guys outlandish college stories. My honey has a bunch and am always shocked but amused at their antics.
~ingrid

miss v said...

this looks really good and i have all the recipes to make it! thanks for sharing your story!

LG said...

We lived in Gujarat for 4 years and I could easily imagine what you said :D Theplas and Khakras are a must while traveling ;)

Shama Nagarajan said...

lovely recipe...looks perfect

Meenal Mehta said...

what a funny story and rings so true :)

delicious looking theplas

-Meenal

Priti said...

Gud trick indeed...ahh that's a nice idea...well the theplas looks so delicious with the dollop of butter )

Laavanya said...

Ha ha.. brought back memories of our train trips. But since I travelled with parents, grandparents, uncles & aunts - we had our share of puliyodhaira, potato curry, rotis packed so didn't really look get to taste the theplas. But i remember the huge tiffin carriers and how they devoured something (remember it being a bit crispy - khakras maybe?) every couple of hours with a pickle...

I've not made these before - sounds delicious.

Maria said...

Great post! These look fantastic!

Jaishree said...

Theplas is my fav.Never tried this at home. Should make a try.your looks delicious, nice click A&N:)I loved your post!

Suma Rajesh said...

theplas looks soo delicious.v 2 take these on trains with achhar..just loved it..

Bhawna said...

Ur story says u really had a nice time while studying in college. Theplas looks good My son loves it, so kind of must at home.

Uma said...

LOL @ the train story! Nice one. Thelpas look so gorgeous and mouth-watering.

Natashya said...

Mmm, that looks good! The breads have to be my favourite part of Indian cuisine.
I love the look of the tiffin boxes too, very cool. Hopefully I can find one here.

Cakelaw said...

Mmm, yoghurt and mango chutney on bread sounds delicious. We have an Indian takeaway called Tiffins, and now I know where they got their name. I have just this afternoon been reading about Gujarati cuisine in a book called The Land that Thyme Forgot - it's a cracking foodie read if you can get a hold of it.

burpandslurp said...

lol! you crack me up. I'll remember that trick!
btw, I changed to wordpress!

Ramya Bala said...

theplas look delicious.....
just noticed ur profile..u in ATL? ;)

A_and_N said...

Thank you! :)

@Ramya Bala: Yes! You too? :)

@Cakelaw: hey, I've seen it somewhere. Borders, I think. Shall check it out! :)

@Cham: :D he never spoke to girls, Cham. he is good boy ;)

Food Fanatic said...

theplas are my favorite

Sarah said...

Yum, these sound tasty. I don't think I've ever had them before.

Manisha said...

You guys are funny!!!

Sorry for not replying earlier - we were away on vacation and I am still wading through the backlog.

Glad you liked the theplas. I don't think there is any rule about more or less besan - use more if you like the taste. Did you add ginger? It makes the theplas sing!

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