Ba-thuk (Wheat flour noodles soup)

Bathuk/Bathub is a favorite amongst Bhutanese especially in winter when the weather is cold and  people try to keep themselves warm. The day starts with the fresh and inviting aroma of cooking bathuk from the kitchen. The very thought takes me back to my small kitchen back home. As a kid my parents  used to prepare Bathuk on weekends when every members of the family were present.  Seated in a circle around the wood-fed oven ( Known as Bukhari) every one enjoys bathuk. Outside  the snow begins accumulating and blanket the whole valley white.
My sister and I used to help with  knead the dough , rolling and shaping the flatted ( rolled) dough as it was the easiest part of the Bathuk making. Although time consuming comparing to other cuisines it was always fun going through the preparation process. Laughing and chattering incessantly throughout and hearing that “stop the noise” from mother all the time.
The term “Bathuk’ is similar to the Tibetan noodle soup called ‘Thenthuk” which means pull noodles.   During the New year or a function at home Bathuk/thukpa ( rice porridge) is usually  prepared for breakfast. But in olden days especially in the East Bathuk (Thup) was consumed widely for breakfast. The cooking method has been modified now as a result of availability of imported ingredients.
Even as we love to eat Bathuk,  in recent times people have turned to imported packaged noodles as it is instant and readily available. However,  people living in rural Bhutan will continue with the tradition
for a long time to go I believe.
Well, now is the best time to experiment with bathuk here in melbourne too as the spring weather carries on with its usual  hide and seek  game.
This is the first time I am preparing bathuk since I arrived here. Luckily I know from where to get the stuffs. Just a couple of blocks away in the Yarraville street is an Indian grocery from where all the required ingredients are available. I bought just enough for one preparation.
Preparation Time- 15 Mins
1 small bunch spinach
1 tomato chopped
2 cups plain flour + extra for dusting
3 garlic cloves crushed/sliced
1 small ginger  crushed/sliced
1-2 big green chilli /chilli powder
2 tablespoon vegetable oil and salt to taste
1. Place flour in a large mixing bowl and add enough water to make a soft pliable dough. Knead the dough for 5 minutes to make it softer and elastic.
2. Take a small handful of dough and roll out with a rolling pin on a flat surface dusted with flour/ apply oil on the surface with you finger. Make a fairly thin, large circle.
IMG_6361 IMG_6364
3.Place the flat rolled dough on the cutting board . Cut strips about 1cm wide from the curved edge creating noodles using a knife.
4. Gently place these noodles in a bowl that has been  dusted with flour (about 1 tablespoon of plain flour) to keep them from sticking together. keep aside for a while
5.wash and cut the chili, spinach, onion into small pieces
6. Add noodles into the pot of boiling water ( 3-4 small cups of water) on medium heat, stir the mixture . Cook for 5 minutes with the lid on. Then add all the ingredients , oil and salt. Cover and bring to the boil for 2 minutes.
7. Turn the heat off , Stir and serve hot
It is simple and quick to prepare. You do not have to be  a chef to do this.

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