“Bangalore Iyengar” bakeries famous for their egg-free baking sell “Khara” buns a.k.a savory buns which are to die for. They slather them with butter and top them with spicy peanuts known for some strange reason as “congress” in Bangalore. A friend of mine used to call this BBC which stands for Bun, Butter, Congress and introduced me to this savory goodness during my stay in Bangalore. Outside of Bangalore, I have neither seen these buns in Iyengar bakeries nor have I heard of the word “congress” for spicy peanuts.
What is amazing is that these buns can be made with ease at home. It takes about 45minutes to do the prep work, the dough requires proofing and therefore the whole process before the end product comes out of the oven may take about 3 hours. Enjoy these warm savory buns with a bowl of hot soup or have it the Iyengar bakery style with butter and spicy peanuts. Either way, this recipe is a keeper. Make it a fun weekend project with the family to bake these beautiful buns, you will definitely enjoy the process and the results.
Add flour to the yeast mixture and knead well to form a smooth dough, non sticky dough.
Flatten the dough and place the onion-chili-cilantro stuffing in the center.
Fold the corners and knead well into a smooth dough. Use more flour if required to get a non-sticky dough.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean kitchen cloth. Let it sit in a warm place for about 1.5 hours, till it almost doubles in size.
Knead the dough well to remove air bubbles, divide into 8 equal sized portions and place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Cover the tray and let it sit in a warm place for 45minutes. After the second rise, brush tops of buns with milk and bake them for 25-28 minutes in a preheated oven.
Brush tops of warm baked buns with butter as soon as they come out of the oven. Slice a bun into two and spread butter on one half. Place spicy peanuts on the buttered half and top with the other half of the bun to make your bun, butter, congress sandwich.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour +more for kneading
1 1/2 teaspoon active dried yeast
1/4 cup+1 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup finely chopped onions
5-6 Thai green chilies, minced ( I used 3 Serrano peppers)
1/3 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon oil
1. Microwave water and milk for 30 seconds, it should be warm to touch. This is important for yeast to proof.
2. Place warm milk and water in a large bowl. Add sugar and yeast and mix well. Let it sit for 15minutes. The yeast mixture should be frothy at the end of 15minutes. If not, start the process again.
3. In the meantime, add oil in a pan and when its hot add cumin seeds, let it pop. Add finely chopped onions, green chilies and a pinch of salt , cook till onions turn soft. Turn off heat, add cilantro leaves, mix well and set aside. Cooking onions is important to not kill the yeast.
4. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add it to the yeast along with salt and mix well.
5. Add flour, one cup at a time to the yeast mixture and whisk until you get a smooth dough.
6. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead it into a smooth, non-sticky dough. Add more flour if required and knead well for at least 10 minutes.
7. Flatten the kneaded dough with your hands and place the onion-chili stuffing in the center. Fold the corners and seal it well.
8. Knead again for 15minutes, till the stuffing is well incorporated in the dough. The dough might turn sticky due to the onions, so add more flour and knead well.
9. Grease a big bowl with little oil and place the kneaded dough in the bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and keep in a warm place till the dough almost doubles. This took me about 1.5hours.
10. After the first rise, knead again for 7-8 minutes to remove any air bubbles in the dough.
11. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions and shape into buns. Place them on a parchment sheet lined baking tray.
12. Cover and place the baking tray in a warm place for about 45minutes.
13. At the end of 45minutes, preheat oven to 425F.
14. Brush tops of well risen dough with milk and place them in the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 350F. Bake for 20-25minutes until the top is slightly brown and the buns sound hollow when tapped on top. This took me about 28minutes, since oven temperatures vary, I recommend checking after 20minutes and increasing the baking time in increments of 3minutes to get the perfect buns.
15. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and brush tops of baked buns for a nice shine.