Sada Thepla (Spiced Flatbread) – the simplest form of spiced flatbread from Gujarat. Very often the first question asked by people in the morning in any Gujarati household is “What’s for breakfast?” and every so often the answer is theplas. In Indian, thepla are prepared on average every alternate morning. Here in the UK, thepla are a treat and are made less often.
Thepla are made with whole wheat flour otherwise known as atta or chappati flour with a mixture of dry spices like turmeric, red chili powder and asafoetida and fried to make sada thepla. The more popular version of thepla is methi thepla where fresh fenugreek is added to the flour.
Earlier in the week, I was having a debate about whether thepla and paratha are the same type of flatbread with different names in according to different regions of India. The answer is no. Thepla & paratha are two very different Indian flat-breads from difference regions of India. Thepla are primarily a Gujarati flatbread and have an authentic yellow colour whereas parathas are primarily Punjabi and are brown in colour. Also when making thepla, ingredients are usually added into the flour and kneaded into the dough. Parathas are usually stuffed with potatoes, veggies or dal. While whole wheat flour is the base of theplas, they can also be made with a combination of flours whereas parathas are made with whole wheat flour alone. Lastly, thepla can be kneaded with yogurt and water whereas parathas are kneaded with water. So as you can see there are differences which can make a world of difference when make and cooking these two breads. The texture is very different when you consume them too.
The best manner in which to make Gujarati thepla is in the dough and the way in which they are fried on the tawa. Here are some tips to ensure you make the best theplas:
- The dough should be kneaded using hot water which will aid in making the theplas nice a soft.
- Ensure the dough is nice and soft. Stiff and firm dough will make the thepla hard and crispy.
- Allow the dough to rest for about 10 minutes before you begin to roll them.
- Fry the thepla on a medium heat without too much pressing to prevent them from becoming hard.
- If you are making thepla for travel, adding extra oil when fry will increase the shelf life of the thepla.
Enjoy with yogurt, chaas, or pickle and a nice mug of masala chai.
Sada Thepla (Spiced Flatbread)
500g whole wheat flour
1 ½ teaspoons red chili powder
1 ½ teaspoons turmeric powder
1 teaspoon asafoetida
1 ½ teaspoons sesame seeds
Salt as required
Olive oil for roasting theplas, as required
- In a large mixing bowl, add whole wheat flour.
- Add all the spice powders, sesame seeds and salt.
- Add 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil.
- Add hot water.
- Start mixing together the flour and spices with a rolling pin or wooden spoon.
- Continue to combine and add more hot water as required slowly.
- Once the dough begins to bind together and is cool enough to handle, start kneading with your hands.
- Continue to knead with your hands to bring the dough together.
- Add some oil to the dough to smooth and seal it.
- Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.
- Make a small lemon sized ball with the dough and flatten.
- Begin to roll softly and then lightly dust with plain whole wheat flour.
- Roll to a 5-6’ diameter.
- Place on a heated tawa or skillet.
- After about 5-7 seconds turn to the other side.
- On the cooked side, lightly spread some oil.
- Turn once again. You will hear the oiled side sizzle and splutter slightly.
- Spread oil once again on the dry side.
- Turn once more to cook the final oiled side.
- Remove from heat and place on paper towel. The thepla should be golden brown and soft in texture.
- Repeat this with the entire dough.
- Thepla are now ready to serve! Thepla go well with sweet mango pickle called chundu, bateta nu shak, sweetened yogurt, masala chai or chaas.