“All desirable things in life are either illegal, expensive, fattening or married to someone else” so says a famous quote. When it comes to the humble zunka bhakar though, apart from the married part everything else is untrue. It is one of the must-try recipes for every foodie, simple to make and is unbelievably tasty! What more, it is one of the best options to tingle your taste buds while keeping your calorie concerns at bay. 🙂
Zunka bhakar is the staple food in rural parts of Maharashtra. It is often branded as food of the poor for its simple ingredients and non-fussy serving and eating methods. Bhakar is a chapati made from coarse-grained flours like jowar, rice or bajra. Zunka is a semi-solid curry made with besan or gram flour. They are typically served with fisted onions (yes, not cut!) and a spicy green chillies thecha. This dish is often associated with farmers as they carry it with them in potlis to their fields and lunch there.
Let me make a confession, I made my dislike for this dish quite clear to my Mom early on. I was a fussy eater and downed even regular wheat chapattis only with a select few of my favourite vegetables. (Not proud of it now! 🙁 ) My Dad, on the other hand, loved jowar and bajra bhakars and Mom often made them for him. He looked at me through fiery eyes as I fidgeted with one tiny bhakar for hours together. Reluctantly, we reached a mutual settlement that I’ll have besan with regular chapattis and let peace prevail in our household.
I can’t thank my Mom enough for making me learn how to make bhakars though. “Learn to cook even if you won’t eat it!” she chided me often. Her insistence saved me a lot of embarrassment as a newly married bride, and still does. Although, I do not claim to be proficient yet. Bhakars cannot be rolled out like chapatis, they’re spread out on an even surface by applying the right pressure with the palm. This knowledge itself was enough to escape making a fool of myself. 😛 It requires a little skill but is quite interesting to do really.
Both zunka and bhakar are comparatively bland, hence the onions and thecha are a must. Zunka bhakars are now served at restaurants and also extensively at Zunka bhakar kendras spread across the state. They’re different from regular food and are a great option to try out for a happy palate. Not to mention, this dish is high in fibre since it uses whole grain flours. I’ve often been told to make the switch to jowar bhakars for its various benefits but let’s just say, I’m taking my time. 🙂
Have you tried zunka bhakar? Ho was your experience? Do tell me.
This post is written for #BlogchatterA2Z and #AtoZChallenge for April 2019