Whenever I go home, my mom always makes dhebras. Usually more than once over a one week span. I LOVE them. They are portable, freezable, and delicious. And you can use heaps of different vegetables in them (cabbage, zucchini, fenugreek leaves, spinach, squash). She always makes an extra stack for me to take with me so I can have for the first weeks I am back in Joburg. YUM. But once I finish my stash I find myself wishing I had more. To me that meant finally learning how to make them.
Dhebras are basically a flatbread with veggies and spices. I was always intimidated by them, but turns out they aren’t as hard to make as I had thought.
I prefer dhebras made with cabbage. So I bought a half a head of cabbage (I didn’t want to commit to using a whole head of cabbage just in case they turned out too hard to make) and got down to it. Trying to save my mom from another conversation about recipes I thought I would look to the handy internet to find a recipe. Everything I found only dealt with fenugreek dhebras. I found this helpful video on fenugreek dhebras. But the entire time I kept grabbing the Kiwi away from watching some Rugby World Cup match to point out how my mom actually does it differently. So I gave up and called my mom.
The dough is sticky and can be hard to handle, but it is totally worth it in order to make the dhebras less bready and more veggie-y. But if you don’t feel like constantly having to wash dough off your hands you can just add more flour to make it less sticky.
My mom rolls them out between two sheets of plastic. She re-uses the plastic bags you put your produce in at the grocery store, but I just use two sheets of saranwrap. Rolling them isn’t as hard as I thought, but you do have to be patient (or an expert at rolling out dough). To be honest, I am neither one of those things. The dhebras kept sticking to the saran wrap and I felt a little like shooting myself, but just keep on it and eventually you will get the hang of it. Just so you know, I went through 3 things of saran wrap before I finally got the hang of it.
TIPS: I ended up rolling them half out, turning them over to finish the rolling out. For some reason that seemed to ensure they wouldn’t stick to the saran wrap. I also would peel back the saran wrap midway to make sure it wasn’t sticking.
Also, my mom warned me that getting them from the counter to the saute pan would be hard (for me, she said–you know, meaning that as a novice I would have the kind of trouble she would never have) as the uncooked dhebra sticks to your fingers. She suggested that I very lightly water my fingers before putting them into the pan. That worked nicely for me.
I love them with just plain yogurt. My brother has always eaten them with chhundo (a sweet and sour mango pickle), but um, I have no idea how to make that. And honestly, am utterly intimidated at the idea of making chhundo. So for the time being, yogurt does just fine.
2 ½ c shredded cabbage
1 t salt
1 t shredded ginger
¾ t crushed cumin
½ t chilli powder
½ t turmeric powder
¼ c chopped cilantro
2 T oil
½ c rotli flour (I buy mine from the Indian store)
½ t sugar
2 T low fat yogurt
For the dough: Grate the cabbage. Mix salt and cabbage together. Leave for an hour. Take out cabbage and salt mixture. Drain all of the water out of the mixture. Mix cabbage mixture with shredded ginger, crushed cumin, chilli powder, turmeric powder, chopped cilantro, oil, rotli flour, and sugar. Bind the dough with yogurt. You may need more or less yogurt depending on how much water was left in the cabbage. Leave the dough. Make about 8-10 equal size balls with the dough.
Roll out each dhebra between two sheets of plastic. While rolling out, place a saute pan on the stove on medium high heat. Once hot put dhebra onto pan. Cook until it is slightly brown and then flip over and let it cook until slightly brown. Add 1/4 t oil to the top of the dhebra and flip over. The oil will sizzle. Cook on both sides until they are golden brown.
This made 10 small dhebras for me as you can see from the picture above, but remember I lost some dough to the evil saran wrap.