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Pooris - Deep fried breads

Pooris are a lovely alternative to roti or chapati. They are very light yet surprisingly substantial. Other spellings you might see are puri and boori.

Although traditionally they are made from standard atta, they can be made from a wide variety of flours. They are also very versatile and are often eaten on their own for breakfast or supper or indeed any light snack.

They can be used as an accompaniment to a main meal and are often eaten with chick peas (e.g. chana masala) and sometimes with pickles and chutney (a sort of Indian ploughman's lunch).

Pooris are also traditionally served at ceremonial functions or rituals such as the puja and prasama, as an accompaniment to special vegetables.

Basic Ingredients

Żlb (225g) Chapati flour (atta)
Maybe some salt
2 tablespoons Ghee
Oil for frying

Notes on Ingredients

As in the recipe for roti Żlb (225g) will make about 10 pooris give or take

Flour. You can substitute chapati flour with half strong white flour and half sifted wholemeal. You can also mix other flours (little grin of experimentation here). I have used half chapati flour and mixed with rice flour or semolina flour (or even one third of all three) and this gives a lighter crispier poori - really nice.

Salt. The usual comments about salt - if you're really paranoid about salt then don't use it - if you are eating with a meal you probably won't notice, I tend to use just a little.

Ghee. If you don't have ghee you can use vegetable oil or even butter; about 2 tablespoons in Żlb

Water. This can be substituted with milk or yoghurt to give different results.

Oil for frying. Ghee is best for this but you can use a good sunflower oil.

Basic Method

Mix the salt (if using) with the flour.
Pour the ghee into the flour and rub in with the fingers to create a fine breadcrumb type mixture.
Add water a little at a time mixing with a spoon or spatula until the dough can be kneaded.
Knead well.
Wrap the dough in clingfilm and put in the refrigerator for 20mins to rest.
Divide the dough into about 10 even pieces - about the size of a golf ball.
Pour 1in (2.5cm) oil into a karahi if you have one or a wok or a deep frying pan and start to heat till hot but not smoking.

For each bit of dough...
Form into a ball in the palms of you hands.
With a little flour for dusting, roll out with a rolling pin into a cirle about 5Ż to 6ins.
Slide into the oil and cook for about 10 - 15 seconds - it will puff up whilst cooking.
Turn over and cook the other side for about 10 seconds.
Drain on kitchen paper.
Repeat for each dough ball.

Notes on Method

Opinion varies on how to mix the ghee into the flour. I use the method above, mixing in the ghee first. Other recipes say to mix in the water first and knead well THEN add the ghee and knead it in. I'm not sure it makes that much difference to the end product but this second method is messy and that does it for me.

Mixing and kneading. The secret of pooris is in the consistency of the dough. It must be a soft, medium dough, not too stiff or too runny. Add water or flour during the mixing to adjust. Knead the dough for a good 10 minutes maybe longer.

I keep the dough balls from drying out by covering with a clean damp tea towel, and I roll out then cook. You can roll them all out first if you are not doing many and have a reasonable work surface. I have read suggestions that they can be stacked separated by clingfilm but this has never worked well for me. Besides, rolling out the next one gives the oil to regain the proper temperature.

If the pooris are coming out too dark then reduce the temperature a little (bet you worked that one out right?)

One final point. Pooris should be eaten piping hot - or as near as you can manage. If they get cold they lose their crispness and turn a bit leathery.

See also

Roti and Chapati

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