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Campfire bread of India – Bafla August 12, 2008

Posted by live2cook in Oven baked Breads and Rolls, slow cooker recipes, What we call it....

If you had asked me about grilling or barbecue a few years ago, I would have blinked. I had no clue about these cooking methods. Though we used to cook sweet corn and sweet potato on open fire, our cooking methods mostly included steaming, boiling or pressure cooking. I came to know about the concepts of grilling and barbecue, only after coming to US. I observed people cooking in open fire or charcoal grills in the common patio of our apartment complex. It was my first summer in US and I had no craze for hanging out in the sun. As I was from a country where the weather was always hot, hanging out in the sun sounded funny.

But, over the years I started to long for summer days because of Boston’s freezing winters. I felt like we were forced to be indoors for at least 3/4 days of a year and summer seemed to be the time we were freed. We enjoyed the summer along with our friends and potluck parties. During those parties, we all talk about arranging a barbecue. After shortlisting the likes and dislikes of the friends, the only thing that was left was sweet corn. Eventually, we would drop the idea as there was not much options for vegetarians. This lead me to look for recipes that are fun to make in a grill or open fire. Those recipes should meet the palates of our friends, should be filling and a meal by itself.

Bafla is one such recipe that yielded itself to these needs. It is a bread from Rajasthan region of India. These are soft and chewy and are delicious with a simple dhal or curry. These are non leavened breads, that is, no yeast or fermentation needed. But, I added some leftover sourdough starter from my weekly baking. The sourdough added nice sour flavor and made it more softer.


For the bread:
2 Cups whole wheat flour
1/2 Cup sourdough starter (optional)
4 Tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
water for kneading

For the Dhal:
2 Cups mung dhal
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 tsp salt
2-3 green chilies, chopped
1 Bay leaf
1/2 tsp of Dabeli masala or other
2 1/2 Cups water
Cilantro and curry leaves for garnish
Juice of 1 lime


1. Mix the ingredients for the dough and knead it into a stiff dough. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.
2. Shape into lime size balls and set aside.
3. Put all the ingredients for dhal in a large pot and bring to a boil.
4. When the water for the dhal starts boiling, drop the dough balls.
5. Cook until the dough floats to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
6. Cook the dhal until done and mash it. (I transfered it to a slow cooker and cooked for 3 hours in high)

Dhal to serve with bafla

Dhal to serve with bafla

7. Set the boiled dough in a grill and cook until the outside is browned a little bit.

Bafla in an indoor grill

Bafla in an indoor grill

8. Break bafla into pieces and set in a bowl. Pour dhal over it and serve hot

Bafla served

Bafla served

We can cook both the dhal and bafla in outdoor grill. This is my entry for Meeta’s Monthly Mingle event hosted by Sig with the theme “Grill it”. I am sending this to Susan’s yeast spotting event too.


1. Srivalli - August 13, 2008

Priya..those look so delicious!..what fun to make these in open!..

2. Nirmala - August 13, 2008

Thats sounds fabulous! Can I cook it in a Oven-toaster-griller in turn?

3. notyet100 - August 13, 2008

nice one total new for me,///

4. Fearless Kitchen - August 13, 2008

This looks really interesting, and I’m sure we’ll try to make it at some point (my husband loves to cook bread on the grill.)

It’s possible to make lots of vegetarian dishes on the grill. We aren’t vegetarians, but we always wind up needing to accommodate one or two when we do big parties. Sometimes you have to get a little creative, and pulses on the grill would be difficult at best.

5. Vaishali - August 13, 2008

The baflas are new to me, and I must say they look and sound delicious. This looks beyond delicious, Priya. Thanks for sharing.

6. Nithu - August 13, 2008

Dal with bafla looks mouthwatering.

7. vanamala - August 13, 2008

wonderful recipes … lovely pics

8. Rashmi - August 14, 2008

looks so comforting and delicious. is it somewhat like dal baati?

9. live2cook - August 15, 2008

Hi everybody,

Thank you for your encouraging words!


Yes you can. Baking in an oven preheated to 350F for 30 minutes will be sufficient. Or you can brown them on stove top using the grilling pans that have holes all over.


I agree with you. I am exploring with wheat gluten. I will appreciate if you can share couple of ideas. I am eager to know how you entertained those vegetarian guests


Yes, Bafla is the softer version of baati

10. sig - August 15, 2008

Never heard of baflas… they look awesome! Thanks for sending this over to the Monthly Mingle Priya, also thanks for using the form… 🙂

11. Aparna - August 16, 2008

Never seen these before. They’re most interesting.
So one more idea for my grill.:)

12. Monthly Mingle - Grill It! Event Round-up : Live To Eat - August 17, 2008

[…] Priya – live2cook Campfire bread of India -Bafla Meeta – What’s For Lunch, Honey? Creamy Red Peppercron Coleslaw and Apricot Salsa […]

13. Ramki - August 17, 2008

I would think that a Bafla is first cooked in boiling water like a dumpling and then baked / grilled / deep fried.

A Bati on the other hand is cooked the way you describe ( actually on the cow dung embers, in a traditional kitchen)

14. Sunshinemom - August 18, 2008

Now I know what you meant by sourdough recipes! This one is too good! I too made baaflas recently, but the snaps were rather poor!

15. bee - August 18, 2008

that dal looks like something i’d wait for 2 hours in a queue for. slurp.

16. victoria - August 18, 2008

This I have to try when we go camping, hopefully next month. They look really good!

17. Susan/Wild Yeast - August 20, 2008

This look delicious and a very interesting cooking method!

18. YeastSpotting August 22, 2008 | Wild Yeast - August 22, 2008

[…] Campfire Bread of India – Bafla ~ Live To Cook […]

19. barbecue grill - August 22, 2008

barbecue grill…

hi!, nice job, i’m sure you are interesting in the 2008 website awards, please contact me for details, i think this is kind of websites we are looking for…

20. Elizabeth - August 22, 2008

What are baflas like inside? Are they fluffy like dumplings?

21. Salauddeen - May 25, 2009

Dough boiled and then baked in hot air? That is a bagel!

22. Kenneth Brown - December 2, 2010

Very nice info and right to the point. I don’t know if this is in fact the best place to ask but do you folks have any ideea where to hire some professional writers? Thanks in advance 🙂

23. Ian Jarvis - September 29, 2011

I have just come across bafla but not in Rajasthan. I am doing some voluntary work in Bhopal with victims of the 1984 gas leak disaster (Union Carbide/Dow Chemical) and went on a picnic with the staff at the clinic. The cooks made this bread, but savoury, with spices mixed in the dough, and it was delicious. Hence coming to this site! I was told it was a dish local to here (Madyar Pradesh) so maybe it has spread to more places and its origin is lost. The real secret though, is that the grilling part was done on smouldering cow dung patties! Apparently they have JUST the right temperature for the job. So throw away your posh grills and go looking in the fields!
Try it with the spices and see what you think. I will have a go when I get home in December.

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