Out of Dough: Of Bhakras and Gharis

If Parsis made doughnuts and baklava, they’d taste like bhakras and ghari. Mirror looks at tea-time darlings in Bawa homes

Article By Roxanne Bamboat | Source: Mumbai Mirror

Baklava is one of the oldest sweets known to mankind, and no less than 10 civilizations and countries, Including the Assyrians and. Turkish, have claimed ownership.

India’s Parsis did no such thing. They went ahead and thought up their own version.

image Like the early avatar of the baklava.— which was made from dough, not phyllo pastry—the khajur ni ghari carries a crunchy casing of flour stuffed with a Oiling of pitted dates and nuts.

This one involves a complicated cooking process, so Instead of getting down and dirty, we suggest you walk into Ratan Tata Institute’s snack shop. The kitchen staff makes magic from maida tossed with semolina, baking powder, rosewater, chopped dates, and of course, generous dollops of ghee to stock the counters with four dozen gharis every day {Rs 40 each).

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At a neighboring counter In their spotless kitchen, a staffer is deep frying plump bhakras. Think doughnuts, but smaller, fatter and with, a texture like the muffin. While a packet of 12 bhakras will cost you Rs 79 at RTI, a ten-minute drive away in Tardeo, Belgaum Ghee Depot sells them for Rs 60.

The 70-year-old establishment looks no more than a snack stall but is something of an Institution in the area. What was set up in 1943 by the Joginas and Workingboiwallas as a ghee centre, gradually Introduced ice-creams, and finally included snacks in 1987. In the absence of a kitchen, the goodies that its ancient counters hold are made in kitchens across South Mumbai by homemakers, and not all Parsis. The bhakras are In fact, made by a Maharashtrian homemaker who mastered the recipe from the Parsi lady she worked for, says third generation partner Farrokh Workingboxwalla. The Depot’s tempting roster also includes chapats, pickles, pod, chicken farcha, kopra pak, patrel, mutton samosas, chicken cutlets and sandwiches.