Dudhi Theplas or Opo Squash Theplas are very common in Gujarati cuisine. Theplas are typically made with fenukgreek or Methi, but when it is not in season, mom would make dudhi theplas. The only difference between the 2 recipes is that since dudhi has more water content, you require little to no water to bind the dough compared to methi theplas, which does require more water to bind the dough. The ingredient list remains the same. Typically theplas are eaten with Bateta Nu Shaak or Potato Curry and Chundoo or Sweet and Spicy Shredded Mango Pickle. You can find the recipe of the Bateta nu Shaak here. It is the most popular recipe on my blog! Chundoo is one my of favorite pickles and mum used to make big glass jars of it in the summer season, since it is “cooked” by the sun. The sugar, salt and spices helps to “cook” the raw mango in the sun and releases the water in the raw mango. The Theplas taste really good with some yogurt, mixed with chaat masala as well!
I had the absolute pleasure of cooking on IG live with Chef Meherwan Irani, who is the owner of 4 restaurants in North Carolina and Atlanta area! The chef is so very accomplished! He hails from Maharashtra, from Ahmednagar. He left his job in Sales in 2009 to start the Chai Pani restaurant which has an awesome menu of Indian street food flair. Chef Meherwan made the Tomato-Sev nu Shaak from my blog, and I demoed the Zucchini Theplas on the IG live. The tomato-sev nu shaak is a very simple vegetable that I grew up eating, and it literally takes 10 minutes to make! The chef loved the curry, and that made me so very happy that he enjoyed it! Meherwan is warm, friendly, and genuine, and he made it so easy to converse with him. This article in Bon Appetit, best describes his persona as “warm and engaging, genuinely curious and experimental!” This was a very fun experience, and I am humbled to be invited to cook with the Chef. I hope I can meet him in person someday and have a real conversation with him! He is Parsi and Gujarati and Parsi cuisine is kinda similar because of a huge Parsi population in Gujarat.
Coming back to the theplas, since Dudhi may not be available easily, I have been making Zucchini Theplas. They are more easily available around the year at grocery stores, and they fall in the same squash family as Opo Squash. Zucchini has a lot of water content as well, so it works well in terms of binding the dough with the Zucchini water. The key to making good Zucchini Theplas, is to always grate the zucchini fine. That way the dough also comes out very smooth, and the zucchini melts into the dough. Also when adding the ginger, garlic and green chillies, always make a paste of the ginger, garlic and green chillies in a mini food processor rather than chopping with a knife. The difference is that when you put it in the food processor it gets minced, and hence makes for a smooth dough to roll out. Also adding yogurt to the dough makes for a very moist and soft thepla, as opposed to when you make the dough with only water.
*TIPS FOR THE DOUGH”*
It is also important to let the dough rest for a good 30 minutes, that way it helps for the gluten to develop and you can roll out the dough easily. When rolling out the dough always have extra flour on the side and use it generously, to ensure smooth rolling of the dough and to get thin theplas. It takes a lot of practice to get to the round theplas, but practice does make perfect! When rolling out the dough, use a light hand on the dough. You are understanding the dough, reading it, and the dough sort of guides you how to treat it. This comes with experience, and as you practice more, you will learn to control the pressure on the rolling pin with the palm of your hands better.
When making the theplas, I do add less oil than generally used back home in India. They still come out moist and delicious. Theplas keep in the fridge for upto a week, wrapped up nicely in aluminum foil. Theplas are an anytime meal – eat it for breakfast, or lunch or dinner. We never grew up eating sweet breakfasts, so theplas and masala chai was one breakfast that I really enjoyed a lot. If I do have theplas left over, then they make for a wonderful breakfast with my morning Masala Chai.
If you do make these theplas, please do not forget to tag #thejamlab on Instagram, and/or leave a comment on this blog post! I would so appreciate it!