In Surat, almost every snack stall, general store and even some of the chemists, sell packets of Thepla. When hunger strikes, Thepla is the ultimate go-to food item for us, especially when one is at office or is travelling. Packed with a small pouch of pickle, a Thepla pack makes for a complete meal. When I was studying in Bengaluru, I totally missed the snack items that are sold in every nook of Surat. That’s when I decided to learn Gujarati snack items including Theplas, as craving for them sucked.
So, there I was, attending one of Niru’s Cooking Classes. I was serious like hell. I had to learn Gujarati farsan items. If you’re living in Surat, you might not take the load of learning these snacks; but my experience changed that completely. The thought of making my own farsan excited me. From now on, I would be able to make them in my own kitchen, wherever I go, I thought. And, truly, it helps me even today. I live in Gurugram and no place sells Theplas. Mumbai still had it. Also, in North India, greens are available mostly in winters only. So, these days, I try to make the most of fenugreek leaves; given its good nutrient factor.
I remember my neighbour aunty’s daughter used to live in France once upon a time. She used to knead the dough with a lot of curd, and it lasted her for days together; her daughter could enjoy these even in France!
Initially, it took me a hell lot of time in preparing the dough. The ingredient list didn’t seem to end. With practice, however, I now know it by heart, and it takes me only a few minutes to add all of them at one go!
Garlic is the hero when it comes to Theplas. One of my brothers always wants the garlic flakes to be seen on his Theplas. You can, however, skip it if you’re a Jain. If you like crispy Theplas, have it fresh, right after you’ve cooked it. And, if you like your Theplas to be soft, make a pile of them, keep them in the Roti dabba (box) for half an hour or more, and they will turn soft. Also, you need to roll a Thepla into a very thin round sheet. That’s one of the secrets of making it well. You can’t be making it thick like a Paratha. Unless you don’t care of its resemblance to the original Thepla.
Today, my husband said he will have a long day at work. So I packed about six to eight Theplas extra for the evening.
If you are planning to hit the road, don’t forget this snack goodie. It’s not only delicious to eat, but is healthy as well. Also, if you have lots of guests staying over, and the breakfast menu is freaking you out, just prepare this dough and serve them hot and crispy Theplas. Make sure you have some mango pickle or curd to go with it, and you’re set.
Recipe: Thepla (the original fenugreek version)
According to Niranjana (my cooking teacher back in Surat), it’s best to knead the dough and make the Theplas right away. Don’t keep the dough aside; prepare it right when you will use it. No point in keeping the dough for long, as you might as well keep the Theplas on your kitchen counter for later.
Also, a lot of people in Gujarat and Maharashtra prefer sesame seeds to be added in their Theplas. I don’t see it in Niranjana’s recipe, and I would like to stick with it.
There are two secret ingredients that can be used to make your Theplas soft like clay dough that are mentioned here.
Lastly, if you like this recipe, secretly thank Niranjana Joshi for it, as the recipe is inspired by what she taught us. She’s my star! I still save the recipe booklet she gave me from the world, wrapped in a printed cotton bag somewhere in one of my bookracks. Holy stuff, this.
Wheat flour (around 4 to 5 cups)
fenugreek leaves (washed, dried and chopped)
salt to taste
sugar – 2 tbsp
chilli powder – at least 1 tsp
turmeric powder – ½ tsp
fresh curd – 2 to 4 tbsp (I use what I have in hand)
oil – 2 to 3 tbsp
a pinch of asafoetida
coriander leaves – chopped (optional)
rice and bajra flour – 2 tbsp each (I always forget to add these)
ginger garlic paste – at least 2 tsp
green chilli paste – ½ tsp (optional)
oil to roast the Theplas on the griddle
1. Tawa griddle (I use a round cast iron one)
2. Wooden Roti press to press the Theplas while roasting (if you can manage without it, no need to buy it)
3. Rolling pin
1. Mix all the ingredients. If you’re planning to go on a long trip, add more curd. This will act as a preservative and will keep your Theplas fresh for long.
2. Roll out a thin Thepla, and roast it like a Roti with a little oil.
3. Serve with a cup of fresh curd or pickle.