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Rajasthani Gatta

There comes a point in your life when you decide to change your diet in some way for health or social reasons. It could be as small as drinking more water or as big as cutting out gluten completely. Either way it feels like you’re venturing off the beaten path. That suddenly you have to figure out a whole new way of sustaining yourself. Often the stress of figuring out how to make this change is what leads many to go back to their original way of living. I’d like to propose to you that the change you’re trying to make is in fact not off the beaten path. The problem of figuring out how to live with the new changes in your diet has been solved and all you need to do is apply the existing solution to your life.

I decided to have a gluten-free diet after having some serious health issues. The motivation to change my diet was pretty high — yet initially the change was really difficult. Every day I’d come home from work and stand in front of my refrigerator just wondering what in the world I could make for dinner. The worst part was everything that came to my mind had exactly the things I couldn’t eat. It’s funny how that works.

I finally came to a grips with my situation when I realized that my ancestors had already solved this problem for me. I am of Indian descent – specifically from the desert region of India: Rajasthan. The interesting thing about the Rajasthani diet is that it focuses heavily on the use of lentils and gram flour. Also Indian cuisine in general is filled with LOTS of flavorful gluten free options. Knowing that I had hundreds of years of experience to bank on while I made the shift in my diet suddenly made the whole change easier and honestly – exciting.

I know you may not be of Indian descent. But I believe if you look back far enough you’ll find in your ancestral tree that they ate a lot less sugar or that they had figured out a way to live without grains or that they had plenty of gluten free options or dairy free. And if the solution is not in your ancestral tree – likely you’ll find it in someone else’s. All you have to do is tap into it. And trust me – if they could do it while living in a tent in the middle of a desert – you can most certainly do it with a high tech modern kitchen with running water.

This recipe is another beauty passed down to me through generations of Rajasthanis. I rarely see this on any Indian menu in the United States but if you ever have the pleasure of visiting the state of Rajasthan, India – you will most definitely see this on every restaurant menu. This curry is so good that when my husband and I visited Rajasthan – we ate gatta every night for a week. And even then we were really not tired of it.

I’m writing this post in celebration of the launch of The Balanced Platter, a website dedicated to share healthy, balanced gluten-free living tips and recipes from different points of view. Being healthy, especially when it comes to diet, is not something new to the human race. So why re-invent the wheel? Maybe just start by looking to the past.

Enjoy!

PS – This has been shared at Sweet and Savory, Gluten Free Wednesdays, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Wellness Weekend, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday

Gatta

Makes: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 1 cup gram flour (besan)
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt (a little more if needed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon gram masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric powder (haldi)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon melted ghee
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
  • 2 – 3 cups of water

For the curry:

  • 1 tablespoon organic canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger
  • 3 – 4 curry leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon asafetida (hing)
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Chopped fresh coriander leaves for garnishing

Directions

1. Put sifted besan in a medium bowl. Mix in cayanne pepper, garam masala, turmeric, salt, yogurt, ghee, ginger. Kneed into a dough.

2. Take small parts of the dough and roll using your hands into 1/4 inch thick rolls.

3. Boil water (enough to cover the dough rolls). Add the rolls into boiling water – it’s fine if they touch or are on top of each other. Cover and boil rolls for about 10 – 15 minutes. They’re done about 5 mins after they start floating.

4. Remove rolls from the water and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Save the water for the curry.

5. In a pot heat oil. Once the oil is hot (you can test by dropping a couple of cumin seeds – they should sizzle) add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric powder, ginger, curry leaves and asafetida. Stir and let the seeds pop. Once they are a little brown, add the coriander and cayenne powder.

6. Ground up the peanuts using a blender or even just a pestle.

7. Add the water (about 2 – 3 cups) that you boiled the rolls in. Add enough water to make the gravy as thin as you like. Add the ground peanuts. Add the gatta pieces, garam masala and salt. Let it boil for 5 – 10 minutes to allow the gatta pieces to marinate in the gravy. Serve garnished with fresh coriander leaves.

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17 Responses to Rajasthani Gatta

  1. Kalinda says:

    This is not something I’ve ever heard of but it looks awesome. Kind of like gnocchi made with chickpea flour. And I finally found some GF chickpea flour last week!

  2. Magg says:

    What a fun and beautiful recipe. I love your suggestion about where to find the solution to the problem! My Grandmothers ate more like we’re eating now – I know they’d both be proud of me and that makes me happy :) Thanks for supporting our launch!

  3. Vicky says:

    This sounds fantastic! I’m definitely going to try this!

    • Raj says:

      Omg.. I can’t begin to tell you Vicky how much I love this dish. I may be a bit biased because I’ve been eating this since I was a wee girl and am a big fan of besan (gram flour).

  4. Jen A says:

    this looks amazing…could you suggest substitutions for the curry leaves and the asafetida? thanks!

    • Raj says:

      Hi Jen! Whenever I don’t have these ingredients, I just leave them out. It doesn’t taste quite the same but generally there is enough other flavors to still make the dish taste good. I have heard that some people have substituted green onions or shallots for hing.. but honestly I just haven’t tried anything.

      Btw – both hing and curry leaves are easily found in any Indian grocery store. You might want to hunt one down in your area (or borrow a bit from a Indian neighbor) :)

    • jayu says:

      Hello Jen A,
      Yes, this is one of the best Rajasthani veggie to eat with Rice or Tandoori roti/Naan or alone! the Asefetida powder has unique aroma and flavor that I really don’t think it matches the flavors of onion or garlic as they say on some websites to use as. A little bottle of this powder from any Indian Grocery store will last you for a long time, cause we use very little of this spice. substitutes.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asafoetida this site gives a lot of info on Asafoetida. For curry leaves I bought one small plant for my cooking from Indian store when i saw them selling it there. It doesnt take too much caring and its easy to grow. Looks great in my kitchen too! If you live in the warm weather climate you can even plant it outdoors and it grows nice and big.
      Regards
      Jayu

  5. Raj, while you were inspired to post in honor of the Balanced Platter, I was inspired to post about velvet aroma :) Hope you don’t mind me gushing over it in my recent post. It’s really helped out my meal planning now that I feed 5 mouths instead of 2!

    And what an insighful post. I have recently begun sprouting chickpeas, dehydrating, and grinding them into flour (it’s time consuming but super cheap…well free since I have several bags of chickpeas given to me!) and I have been experimenting with baked goods, but am loving this savory dish. Cannot wait to try it.

  6. Amber says:

    Thank you for stopping by and sharing on Allergy Free Wednesdays! Check back next week for recipe highlights (including the top 3 reader choice submissions and hostess favorites).

    Best,
    –AFW Hostesses

  7. Pingback: Vegetarian, Gluten-Free Roundup: Mike thought the beets looked good, until he found out they were beets.

  8. Ricki says:

    This is exactly the kind of dish that I swoon over! I love the sound and look and ingredients here! Thanks so much for submitting to Wellness Weekend this week. :)

    • Raj says:

      Thanks Ricki. I swoon over this dish too. The best part IMO is the preparation.. where the aroma of the spices just takes over the entire kitchen.

  9. this was fantabulous!! I used peanut flour instead of ground peanuts (partially defatted, lower calories!). We really loved this, thank you!

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