The moment I think of a scrumptious breakfast recipe from maa’s kitchen, phara comes to my mind without any second guess. Most of us know, from our general knowledge, that Chhattisgarh (CG) is called the rice bowl of India and it’s indeed true and reflects so in our recipes. Phara is the most loved breakfast dish at a CG household. More so, because it stands strong for so many reasons as the most loved breakfast. It can be eaten as a breakfast dish, at a brunch or as a snack in the evenings. Additionally, it is a very good recipe where you can use the leftover rice!
I remember how we as kids would wait for maa to make crispy pharas on Sundays and would plead her to make more rice on Saturday nights to be converted into pharas the next morning. Only a passionate phara lover will remember to make extra rice on the previous night to make phara the next day for breakfast. 😀
But yes, most of the time phara is seen as a healthy, tasty and leftover-rice-saving option by our thoughtful CG mothers!
I consider this as the easiest CG recipe ever. However, it’s a bit tricky to make the dough for this recipe. I have many friends and cousins who would love how maa makes phara and would often ask her for recipes. Yet, many would complain that it didn’t quite become the way maa made it. Well, obviously there is a “maa ke haath ka khana” reason, but eventually I realized that they were going the wrong way about the dough.
So here in this recipe – I’ve tried to be as descriptive about getting the dough right.
Start by mixing the rice, salt and sesame seeds together. Add the flour gradually to the rice and knead the mixture to make a soft dough. You may not need the entire one cup of flour if the rice is too sticky.
Do not add any water while making this dough. The moisture from the rice should allow the dough to be formed.
If you stick to this “no water” rule you are going to achieve the perfectly shaped pharas that are neither going to break while frying and become a halwa, nor are they going to be rock hard to chew on! 😀
Now start rubbing the dough between your palms. You will understand it very well if you have seen your granny making the cotton ‘batti’ for the everyday ‘diya’. It’s the same process!
Once all sticks are ready, prepare for the seasoning or ‘phoran’ as we Chhattisgarhis call it!
You will see, from this and the coming recipes, that the spice load is minimal in CG cuisine and still the dishes can taste amazing even with such less usage of spices. Here, we are only using some curry leaves, sesame seeds and few dry red chilies.
Take oil in a pan and add the ‘phoran’.
Now, add the phara sticks to the pan, add a quarter cup of water and cover the pan. Lower the heat and let simmer for five minutes.
Open the cover and dry roast in the pan for about five to ten minutes.
Add chopped fresh coriander leaves and serve hot!
Enjoy the crunchy snack with the sauce or chutni of your choice!
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
For rice sticks:
- 1 cup cooked rice. (You can use the left over rice from the previous day, but make sure it is not very dry)
- 1 cup rice flour (approx.)
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- salt to taste
- 3 dried whole red chilies
- 1 sprig of curry leaves
- 2 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon oil
- chopped fresh coriander leaves, for garnish
For rice sticks:
- Add salt and sesame seeds to the cooked rice and mix well.
- Gradually add rice flour to the rice and start kneading into a soft dough. Remember to add only a small amount of flour at a time and knead the rice into dough that is soft enough to shape into sticks but stiff enough to retain that shape.
- Do not add any water while making the dough. The moisture from the rice should allow the dough to be formed.
- Once you have achieved the perfect dough start making the phara sticks.
- Dust your palms with a little bit of flour and take a small piece of dough at a time and shape into sticks.
- Do not make the phara sticks too thin or too thick. Make them a quarter of an inch thick and not more than three inches long.
- Heat oil in a pan.
- Add sesame seeds and let them crackle.
- Add dry whole red chilies and curry leaves.
- Add phara sticks and coat the sticks with oil and sesame seeds.
- Sprinkle a quarter cup of water and cover the pan.
- Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for five minutes.
- Open the cover and dry roast it in the pan itself for five to ten minutes, occasionally tossing the phara sticks from side to side.
- Once done add chopped fresh coriander and serve with chutni or sauce of your liking!
I would love to hear from you if you liked this recipe or have suggestions, questions, comments or feedback.
Much love ❤