Doli Roti is a delightful Flat Bread leavened with a Spiced Sourdough. The bread belongs to the region of Multan and undivided Punjab and was a summer staple before urbanisation killed recipes like these.
Doli Roti is a traditional deep-fried flatbread from Multan. Though it’s origins are in Multan, it is also prevalent in other regions of Undivided Punjab. The most interesting thing about this bread is the way it is leavened. A gorgeous spiced sourdough is what gives the bread a unique texture and flavour.
In summer days, the ladies of the house always had a pot full of Pani”. Pani is essentially fermenting water with jaggery and spices like poppy seeds, nutmeg, cinnamon and more. This Pani is then mixed with atta (whole wheat flour) two days before they had to make the bread to create a starter or the base of the bread. The starter is then kneaded to make a stiff dough for Doli Roti.
The ladies of the house would then fry a huge batch of these to last the week. This would be eaten as snacks with chai, in the field as lunch with shakkar (powdered jaggery) and somedays even for dinner with a thin gravy. This would pretty much be a summer staple in her house while growing up but like many such recipes, it is getting lost today.
The more I read about fermentation and naturally leavened breads in India, the more I get amused and impressed. Especially in the region of Punjab, there are so many of these. Some like bhaturas which are common and known and others like Doli Roti getting lost somewhere.
Interestingly, the name of the bread suggests that this was the bread given to the bride along with doli. Though honestly, I haven’t seen that happening even as a shagun anywhere. When I checked with mom she didn’t know about it either. So maybe it was a custom that died before my mom’s generation. So she does seem to have many memories of eating these in summer.
We at home have been chomping on it for a week and I am sure you will love it too.
Doli Roti : Multani Flat Bread with Spiced Sourdough
For the paani
- 1 cup hot water
- 1/4 tsp garam masala
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
- 4 tbsp jaggery
For the starter
- 1/2 cup paani (as made above)
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 tbsp sourdough starter (optional)
For the dough
- Starter from above
- 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
- a pinch of salt
- ghee or oil to fry
- Mix all the ingredients of paani and set aside in a jar for 2 days. You want this to start forming bubbles
- If you have a sourdough mother on hand, add 2 tbsp of the starter along with 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour. Whisk and set it aside for 24 hours to ferment. If you don't have the starter, just skip the same, whole wheat to paani and let it aside for 48 hours or so. We are looking at this to bubble nicely
- To this add 1.5 cups of whole wheat flour, salt and knead to a firm yet soft dough. You won't need any more water but if it is feeling very dry, add some more paani. Cover and set aside to rise for 2 hours or approximately doubled in size.
- Distribute in 10 balls, roll out as thick pooris and deep fry in ghee or oil. Store in an airtight container for upto a week.