Winters are rapidly setting in and what accompanies a balmy afternoon better than Rajasthan’s classic daal-baati-choorma? This unparalleled stereotype of standard Rajasthani cuisines finds an omnipresence that closely rivals the South’s idli-dosa-sambhar. But their touristic connotations aside, these traditional meals find varied renditions in most traditional households of the state-urban as well as rural. The unsuspecting foodie or wayfarer can expect to be fascinated by the sheer diversity in which they are prepared. Whether in the affluent mansion of a Marwari businessman, or in the humble peasant’s rasoda (kitchenspace), its omnipresence justifies the baati as Rajasthan’s most staple bread. This November, Chef Akshraj Jodha unravels the legacy of the Rajasthani baati, from its regional origins to its artisanal evolution; and the multiple varieties in which it can be enjoyed in our times.
Historical records date the Rajasthani baati as far back as the 8th century AD, when Mewar’s founding father Bappa Rawal was militarily crusading for a stronghold over the region. Many armies, starting from his own would tread the arid lands of Rajasthan sustaining themselves on the baati as a traditional wartime meal. Various chronicles account for Rajput soldiers burying balls of wholewheat dough under layers of sand before setting out towards the battlefield. By the time they returned, the day’s scorching sun rays had naturally baked these into earthy preparations that they later enjoyed with desi ghee. The simplicity of its cooking method, coupled with the rich yet easy nutrition that it provided to the brave vanquishers made the Rajasthani baati stand the tests of time. Over the next couple of centuries, news of this famed martial bread had spread far and wide. A famous painting at Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort depicts a horse-mounted Veer Durgadasji baking baatis with the help of a spear. This particular context makes it rather charming for the bystander to observe the same dough ball being fanned and flipped over by today’s householders.
Parallel to the adoption of baatis by Rajputs in their war campaigns, domestic kitchens welcomed them with equal fervour. Baniya (trader community) settlements of Mewar generously adopted Bappa Rawal’s humble dough ball and paired it up with panchmel dal (a preparation of five lentils cooked together), hence paving avenues for what is today known as daal-baati. As a logical answer to sweetmeat, the churma followed in similar fashion, which was simplistically made by mixing crumbled baati with desi ghee and sugar or jaggery. Just like daal, the baati experienced a significant evolution and presently exists in an innumerable range of variants that are oft-associated with different regions and households.
Indeed, Bappa Rawal and Veer Durgadasji are commemorated just as fiercely off the battlefield, not just by the people of Rajasthan, but also the Marwari diaspora all around the world.
Based on their cooking methods and styles, baatis can be classified into three broad sections:
i. Roasted/baked: Cakes of dried cow dung, locally referred to as upla(s) are stacked in heaps to form an organic incinerator in the slow heat of which, whole wheat dough balls are turned upside down in frequent intervals. Baatis prepared through this traditional method are usually hard and hence, require a soak in desi ghee and dal to soften.
ii. Fried: A more contemporary and convenient baati-making method requires smaller whole wheat dough balls to be deep fried. Many have modified the classic plain dough by mixing spices/ masalas into it. Alternatively, bharwan baatis are prepared with a stuffing at the centre, often made of gram flour and spices.
iii. Steamed: The softer version of baati, also known as baafla is prepared by steaming roasted or fried baatis. Historically, it is believed that as a result of marriage alliances between Rajputs and Mughals, Rajasthani cooks used this cooking method to soften baatis for the Muslim emperors, whose palettes were relatively unaccustomed to the tough baati.
Regional reinventions of the baati are also plenty in number. For example, while the Bikaner region is known to fry its baatis, regions encompassing Kota and Bundi are known for the Hadoti baafla, which is stuffed with besan (Bengal gram) and whole wheat flour. Similarly, Jodhpur’s popular baati contains a stuffing made of a wheat variant known as mota atta. Paania, a more fibrous variant of the baati is made of maize flour and is popularly eaten in Udaipur and parts of Madhya Pradesh as well as Gujarat. Some select recipes of these baatis have been shared with Rajputana Collective as a courtesy by Chef Akshraj Jodha for more readers to try their hand at and savour. After all, an expert food connoisseur to the zenith, he makes no delay in spreading the joy emanated by these rustic and flavoursome bread dumplings that continue to win us over, one morsel at a time.
To read Chef Jodha’s full recipes, kindly visit www.rajputanacollective.com.
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ACTOR VIKAS KALANTRI RELEASES A SHORT FILM ON LOCKDOWN
MUMBAI: Vikas Kalantri is an actor, producer, director has done films such as Dil Bechara Pyaar Ka Mara, where he appeared alongside actor Mallika Kapoor. Vikas has made a short film on lockdown and how the entertainment industry has been hit.
Vikas spoke to The Daily Guardian about his short film. How did the idea came to you about short film ‘Work From Home’? Well I am not such a fan of work from home, but the situation is such that we have to abide by this. Hence I thought of putting my frustration and of a lot of people I spoke to out there for all to see and relate. Any specific challenge that you faced while shooting the film? Not actually as we had the equipments and everyone was shooting from their homes so no such challenge. Everyone has been dealing with the pandemic, how is it treating you? Well it’s a bit mentally exhausting, I believe in normal life, and seeing people go through what they are going through is not a good thing. Its getting exhausting & to be honest a bit tiring fatigue is setting in.
CYCLONE TAUKTAE: KARTIK AARYAN URGES PEOPLE TO STAY INDOORS
MUMBAI: Sending out a social message to spread awareness with a hint of humour, Kartik Aaryan, who frequently treats his fans with amusing social media posts, on Monday gave another reason to stay at home: Cyclone Tauktae. The star took to Instagram and posted an intriguing throwback picture from his teenage days. The picture sees a younger Aaryan dressed in a black T-shirt and matching wayfarers. The actor shared the picture and connected it with Cyclone Tauktae that has claimed the lives of many.
The actor wrote in the caption that the cyclone has given us one more reason to stay indoors amid the coronavirus pandemic. With cyclone Tauktae advancing over Mumbai, the ‘Pati Patni Aur Woh’ star captioned the post, “#Tauktae One more reason to stay inside.” Celebrity followers including Kiara Advani and more than 3.1 lakh followers liked the post within 53 minutes of it being posted.
Scores of fans chimed into the comments section as they left red heart and laughing with teary eyes emoticons in appreciation of the post. The cyclone storm that originated over the east-central Arabian Sea has turned into an extremely severe cyclonic storm, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) stated. Time and again, Kartik has used his social media platforms to create awareness about public service announcements.
5 ACTRESSES WHO STOLE THE SHOW WITH THEIR KNOCKOUT PERFORMANCES
Over the last couple of years, a significant shift has been witnessed in the Indian cinema. While once it was believed that only a male star can turn a movie into a blockbuster, today this formula doesn’t exist anymore. Being at the forefront now, Bollywood actresses are taking up strong and meaty roles in order to be ultimate voice of change. Celebrating these powerful women, we list down 5 top actresses who stole the show with their knockout performances over the years.
1. YAMI GAUTAM
Ever since her dreamy Bollywood debut with ‘Vicky Donor’ in 2012, Yami Gautam has managed to strike the right chord with the audiences. In her career spanning over eight years, Yami has successfully established herself as one of the most versatile and talented actors in the industry today. The diva is being credited for various potent performances including ‘Kaabil (2017)’, ‘Uri: The Surgical Strike (2019)’, ‘Bala (2019)’ and her recent release ‘Ginny Weds Sunny (2020)’. Meanwhile, ready to take box-office by storm, Yami Gautam has 8 releases lined up this year. Taking a note of her recent performances, the diva seems to be in no mood to stop and continue surprising cinelovers with her breakthrough performances. Yami’s upcoming projects include spooky adventure comedy ‘Bhoot Police’, ‘Lapata’, ‘A Thursday’ and ‘Dasvi’.
2. PRIYANKA CHOPRA JONAS
Destiny’s favourite child and a celebrated name globally, Priyanka Chopra Jonas has been breaking glass ceilings for the longest of time. Her global superstardom is proof that she’s unstoppable and why she enjoys a massive fanbase. In her two-decade long Bollywood career, Chopra has delivered several pathbreaking performances including ‘Aitraaz (2004)’, ‘Fashion (2008)’, ‘Kaminey (2009)’, ‘7 Khoon Maaf (2011)’, ‘Agneepath (2012)’, ‘Barfi! (2012)’, ‘Mary Kom (2014)’, ‘Dil Dhadakne Do (2015)’, ‘Bajirao Mastani (2015)’, ‘The Sky Is Pink (2019)’ and latest global release ‘The White Tiger (2021). The National and Filmfare Award winning actress will be next seen in ‘Matrix 4’, ‘Text For You’ and ‘Citadel’.
3. ALIA BHATT
Hailed as one of the most bankable new age actors in the industry today, Alia Bhatt is known to be a directors favourite. Over the years, Alia has delivered some extraordinary performances in her career. Right from Imtiaz Ali’s ‘Highway (2014), ‘Udta Punjab (2016)’ to Gauri Shinde’s ‘Dear Zindagi (2016), Meghna Gulzar’s ‘Raazi (2018) and Zoya Akhtar’s ‘Gully Boy (2019)’ – Bhatt has surprised both, the critics and the audiences with her every performance. After making her debut with ‘Student of the Year’ in 2012, the multi-talented actress has grown to become a household name in a span of just eight years. Her upcoming releases include Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’, ‘Brahmastra’, S. S. Rajamouli’s ‘RRR’ and Karan Johar’s ambitious project ‘Takht’.
4. ANUSHKA SHARMA
Known for always giving something new to the audiences, Anushka Sharma has time and again won hearts with author-backed roles. The actress who turned producer with ‘NH 10 (2015)’, one of her most impactful on-screen characters, has delivered various powerful performances including ‘Sultan (2016)’, ‘Sui Dhaaga (2018)’ and ‘Zero (2018)’. Anushka will be next seen in the biopic of the former captain of the Indian women’s cricket team, Jhulam Goswami.
5. TAAPSEE PANNU
Think Taapsee Pannu and you know we are talking about a stellar performer. The Filmfare Award winning actress made a lot of noise with her 2020 release ‘Thappad’ which undoubtedly is her most potent performance. She is also known for her performance in films like ‘Saand Ki Aankh (2019)’, ‘Manmarziyaan (2018)’, ‘Mulk (2018)’ and ‘Pink (2016)’.
SCARLETT JOHANSSON GETS SLIMED BY HUSBAND
WASHINGTON: American actor Scarlett Johansson’s husband Colin Jost interrupted the actor’s acceptance speech by dumping green slime on her head. The actor received ‘Generation Award’ honour’ at the ‘MTV Movie & TV Awards’ on Sunday as she commemorated her almost three-decade-long career in the film industry.
According to People magazine, midway through the ‘Black Widow’ star’s acceptance speech, husband Jost dumped green slime on her head — a prank that happened to be inspired by the wrong award show. She tells her fans while appearing virtually from home, “This award is made possible by all of you, in fact. And it’s because of that that it’s so meaningful to me.”
Johansson goes on to introduce a clip from ‘Black Widow’ when the goo falls on her head. “What the f***!” she shouts, as Jost says with a smile, “MTV! ‘You got slimed!’
HUMA QURESHI SHARES BTS THROWBACK PICTURE FROM ‘ARMY OF THE DEAD’ SETS
WASHINGTON: Huma Qureshi on Monday treated fans to a BTS throwback picture from the sets of her Hollywood debut in zombie heist film from Zack Snyder titled ‘Army of The Dead’. The star hopped on to Instagram and posted a picture as she posed in a haphazard and distorted hotel room. In the picture, Qureshi is seen seated cross-legged as she observed the hugely destroyed room. The star is seen donning an all-black ensemble – a black shirt and black denim, and a pair of brown shoes. By having a look at the room one can reckon that a couple of zombies wreaked havoc at the place. Showcasing what she terms the ‘Hollywood Glamour,’ Qureshi captioned the post as, “Me just hanging out on the set of #ArmyOfTheDead waiting to check-in at the Zombie Hotel surrounded by zombie entrails.. You know just regular on set Hollywood Glamour.” She added, “#glam #hollywood #hollywoodglamour#bts #throwback .. And that is @ella_purnell aka Kate hidden behind my giant shoe..This spectacular film is playing on the BIG Screen (select theatres) in the US right NOW!! So everyone in the US watch it now ..and rest of us get to see it on @netflix @netflix_in on the 21st of May #netflix #zombie #zombies.”
GAUTAM GULATI GETS CANDID ON NAILING THE MENACING LOOK TO PLAY GIRGIT IN RADHE
There are characters that come to you once in a lifetime, and Girgit from Radhe is just that for actor Gautam Gulati. Ever since the movie released, his phone has been ringing off the hook on what a good job he has done when it comes to playing the villain. Incidentally, all of Gautam’s favorite characters till date have been the ones that are either all out negative or have negative shades. So, when the dream role of Girgit came his way, he knew exactly what nuances to add in order to enhance the character further such as the smile, something that can be so genuine but in the case of a negative role, it must give you chills down your spine and that is exactly what Girgit succeeds in doing.
Gautam affirms, “I watched several shows on OTT platforms to just gauge and see how to nail the negative character shades right from the look to the expressions and more. And then I added my own shades to Girgit along with Salman sir’s conviction and that is how the character was brought to life. The tattoo and haircut was also conceptualised and decided by Salman sir. The action scenes did require a lot of training, and it has surely paid off.” the transformation was tough, time consuming and mentally draining, but when you see the results that are now visible, we know it was totally worth it!
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