Babra or Bobra, whatsoever you want to call it, is my most favorite chhattisgarhi sweet dish. Why? Because I’m not really a sweet lover and this savory dish is just about the sweetness I like and when made in pure ghee has the capability of taking you to heaven…
My early memories of having unlimited number of babras has to do with my nani (maternal granny) who spoilt me with it whenever she came over to our place or whenever we went to her’s, during the monsoon breaks. Nani was a very strict and hardworking lady with eight children and twenty four grandchildren. That’s a lot! Well, yeah at our times that IS a lot! 🙂 All her grandchildren would gather during these monsoon breaks as out maternal home and she would make sure all of us had our share of her love in the form of sweet and savory food that she would prepare and keep in advance. It wasn’t customary of her to hug and kiss us to show affection. Her way of showing affection was to provide for an unlimited amount of food and to make sure none of us got bored. She had plans for every single day we stayed with her and every single plan was related to food. And yes the food was never over in her kitchen, I don’t remember her ever telling us that the food was over! The food would just increase day after day in her kitchen. Also, the food was made in enormous amounts, whether there were guests or not; I’ve never seen her cooking anything in lesser quantities. And, about babras? Well there was never a holiday of mine without her babras. 🙂
Babra is essentially a sweet savory type of a pancake that can be stored for days without getting spoiled. Nani would make and store babras in the traditional dohni. Our damp, gloomy monsoon afternoons would brighten with fluffy babras and a never ending supply of chai. Ah! That makes me smile!
Babras, like most Chhattisgarhi dishes, are made of rice. It’s one of the easiest sweets prepared in Chhattisgarh, and you can whip it up in matter of minutes only if you soak the rice overnight. For making babras, the rice is soaked in water and grinded to a thick paste and mixed with jaggery before frying them into fluffy discs. If you can lay your hands on some fragrant rice from Chhattisgarh then the babras taste and smell much nicer. It is important to remember not to make the paste too runny. My nani would judge a babra by its edges, if you get scalloped edges on your babras (see picture) after frying, then you have mastered the art of making perfect babras!
So, let me lead you step by step to my world of scalloped edged, fluffy babras!
Soak the rice overnight. In the morning, drain the excess water and grind the rice into a thick paste. You can add very small quantity of water while grinding if the rice becomes too dry to grind.
Add jagerry and cardamom powder to this mixture and grind again.
Make sure the paste is not very runny or too fine. It should be little thicker and coarser than the idli batter.
Heat the ghee (you can also use oil or vanaspati ghee instead) in a heavy bottomed pan and add a drop of the above mixture in it to check if the mixture floats immediately. Once the ghee is hot enough add a ladle full of mixture in the hot ghee. You’ll see that the mixture is collected like a disc at the bottom of the pan and looks like a fluff poori. This is your babra in the making. Lower the heat to medium and fry the babra by splashing the hot ghee on top of it.
Turn it to the other side and fry in the same way. Once the color of the babra starts turning brownish, remove it on a plate.
You’ll see that the babra will now have a golden brown color and scalloped edges.
Your babra is ready.
Serve it hot or save it for later. This can remain good for up to 8 to 10 days without the need of refrigeration!
Preparation time: 10 minutes (excluding the soaking of the rice overnight!)
Cooking time: 15 minutes
- 1 cup raw fragrant rice
- 1 cup grated jaggery (gur)
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder (optional)
- Ghee, for frying
- Soak the rice overnight.
- Grind the rice adding very little water.
- Add grated jaggery and cardamom and grind again. The batter should be little thicker and coarser than the idli batter.
- Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed pan.
- Once the ghee is hot add a ladle full of batter in the middle of the pan.
- You will see the batter settling down like a disc and then quickly rising up.
- Fry the babra by splashing ghee on top until it fluffs up like a poori.
- Fry the other side as well till the babras are golden brown.
- Remove in a plate.
- Enjoy these babras hot or cold to your liking – they taste heavenly either way!
I would love to hear from you if you liked this recipe or have suggestions, questions, comments or feedback.