Zunka Bhakar is a rustic food from the belly of Pune, a city that lies southeast of Bombay. A flatbread of millet flour is served alongside a stir-fry of vegetables with chickpea flour. It is spicy, savory, delicious, gluten-free and, of course, vegan.
For the zunka
- ¾ cup chickpea flour (garbanzo bean flour or besan)
- 1 green bell pepper (finely diced)
- 1 onion (finely diced)
- 4 scallions (both green and white parts finely diced)
- 1 teaspoon cayenne (use less for less heat, more for more heat)
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- A generous pinch of asafetida (hing)
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoon cilantro (finely chopped)
For the bhakar
- 2 cups millet flour (or bajra flour. Subbing half the millet flour with whole wheat makes these easier to roll out. Otherwise place between two sheets of cling wrap and roll out the bhakar)
- Water to knead
- Salt to taste
Make the zunka
Roast the chickpea flour lightly, stirring, until it smells fragrant, about 5 minutes on medium-low heat.
Spray oil in a skillet. Add asafetida and sustard seeds. When the seeds sputter, add the onions. Saute until the onions turn translucent but before they start to color.
Add the cayenne, turmeric, scallions and chopped bell peppers. Saute for a few minutes until the vegetables start to soften.
Add the chickpea flour and salt and stir in. Add 1 cup of water.
Stir well, cover, and cook on medium-low heat about 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the water has been absorbed.
Turn off heat. Garnish with the cilantro. Serve hot with bhakri (recipe follows).
Make the bhakar
Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Add water, a little at a time, kneading the flour until the dough comes together in a ball.
Pull off a large lemon-size piece of the dough. Sprinkle the rolling surface liberally with all-purpose or wheat flour and roll out the bhakri carefully into a circle about 4-5 inches in diameter. These bhakris are extremely difficult to roll, so it might take some time to get it right. I sometimes substitute half the millet flour with regular whole-wheat flour which makes them easier to roll.
Heat a cast-iron or other griddle. Place the bhakri on it and leave alone until the surface starts to turn opaque. Flip over. Smear a little oil over the bhakri. Cook both sides until golden-brown spots appear.
Serve hot with the zunka, and raw, chopped onions.
Calories: 332kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 20mg | Potassium: 422mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 359IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 4mg