I made these varkis last year, but it never saw the blog and I totally forgot about the post and my photos. Then yesterday, one of my readers asked me about Ooty varki and I remembered making them after so many attempts. I promised to post it in a couple of days. When I started writing the post, I badly wanted to make a video for these beauties. So immediately I started the shooting. Yes, I made the video, uploaded it and posted it in my blog in a day. Phew! If you don’t know about Ooty varki, here is a small intro. Ooty is an amazing hill station in Tamil Nadu and they have a dish which is not available anywhere. You need to get authentic varkis in Ooty only. Nowadays, it is packed and sold all over Tamil Nadu, but Ooty bakeries swear that only in Ooty, you can get the perfect varkis. There are different kinds of varkis available. The most famous is the nei varki, made entirely of ghee and is very flavourful. Years back, I tried some varkis during our road trip and felt that they were like some flaky pastry I made some times back. But the shaping is totally different. If you want to bake them at your house, read on.
When Valli announced Ooty varki as one of the dishes to be tried for a mega BM, I told her that I will develop the recipe for others to try. Yes, there were no authentic recipes available at that time. Now you can get some which my friends tried. I started my experiments and nearly failed thrice. And then I came across a video in which a baker in Ooty was making the varkis. He didn’t specify any recipe, but who needs one, when I can see what they were doing? I watched that video so many times, learnt the technique of laminating the dough with just oil and the shaping of the varkis. It was quite unique and very very interesting. I just made up my own recipe and followed all his techniques and Voila! Finally I had some crisp, flaky Ooty varkis baked at my home. And guess what, they are incredibly addictive.
The bakeries use one day old dough while making a fresh batch. The old dough is diluted in water and incorporated while kneading the fresh batch. It is also set for overnight fermenting. But I didn’t do it because Madurai was too hot while I was experimenting with this recipe and I didn’t want the dough to be too sour. But I guess, an overnight resting in the fridge would do the magic. The varkis are baked in wood fired ovens. But we will do it in our OTG or convection or even gas stove.
For The Dough:
Maida / All Purpose Flour – 150 gm
Sugar – 50 gm
Oil – 3 tbs
Salt – 1/4 tsp
Water as needed
For The Layering:
Maida as needed
In a bowl, mix together maida, salt, sugar and oil to form a crumbly mixture.
Add enough water to make it into a soft pliable dough.
Cover and set aside for two hours. You can even let it sit overnight at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Take the dough onto the counter.
Apply generous oil so that it doesn’t stick to the counter.
Roll it into a thin rectangle which should be transparent enough to see through.
Pour two or three table spoons of oil on the rectangle and add three tablespoons of flour.
Mix well to make a spreadable paste. Add more oil or flour if needed.
Spread the paste evenly on the entire rectangle.
Fold 1/3rd of the rectangle inside and fold the opposite side also inside to form a letter fold.
Now pour more oil and add flour and make a paste and cover the surface entirely.
Again fold twice to make a letter fold and let it rest for 10 minutes.
Now roll it into a thin rectangle again.
Slice it into 5 equal stripes.
Lift each stripe, pull some dough from it and roughly make it into a round shape pinching the top.
Arrange them on a tray.
Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until the varkis are brown.
Cool on wire rack and enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee.
The shapes of varkis can vary. You can pinch portions out of the stripes into balls and bake. This will give you a rounded varki.
You can also slice them into neat squares or rectangles and bake, which will look like puff pastry.
But the rustic pinched version is the most common one available.