Puffy Masala Poori will forever be a wedding food in my eyes. Fried whole wheat flour bread with mild spices, a double layer and hollow middle.
The little circles of dough rise before your very eyes for a magical cooking experience — and an even more spectacular eating experience.
It’s Indian comfort food in a nutshell and a must-learn recipe if you’re looking to expand your repertoire of Indian bread beyond that of roti, naan and paratha.
If you can make Poori that rises like a balloon in hot oil, you’re a legend.
Tear them apart and scoop up your favourite curries, both with sauces and without. My favourite accompaniment for Poori is Koru Bateta nu Shaak (a Gujarati-style dry potato curry).
However, I wouldn’t say no to a serving of Seeroh (semolina halwa) either. A cup of masala chai is mandatory with Poori in my home. We don’t make them often but when we do, they disappear within moments.
Anything! I come from a Gujarati home, so simple vegetable curries are our forte. Growing up, I ate Poori with potato curry, Undhiyu (a mixture of seasonal Indian vegetables like aubergine, papdi, lilva, valor and muthiya. This is a very popular wedding menu combination in the Gujarati community.
Channa Masala. Either kabuli channa — white chickpeas or kala channa — black chickpeas marry well with Poori. A stir-fried dish of cabbage, carrots, mustard seeds and chillies called Sambharo is a mainstay, too.
My mother has always had a soft spot for cauliflower and pea curry with Poori. I can confirm that this combination is also supremely delicious!
The shelf life is longer than that of other Indian breads. Rotli (chapattis), naan and paratha become stale after an hour or so. Poori are deep fried by their very nature.
The oil acts as a barrier, preventing them from turning hard and chewy when there are hundreds of people to feed and multiple dishes to prepare. You could say they’re an Indian caterer’s golden nugget.
Poori can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for 24 hours. They’re great the next day with masala chai. I always serve leftover Masala Poori at room temperature. Reheating in the microwave can make them super greasy!
There can be a number of reasons why Poori fail to rise. Here are some of the most common reasons:
– The dough could be too hard or too soft.
– The dough was not rested long enough.
– They are rolled too thickly or too thinly.
– They are not rolled evenly.
– The oil is not hot enough.
Hard Poori can be a result of dough that was not bound with enough oil or if the water used was too cold. Hard Poori can also occur when the dough is not left to rest for long enough.
Use a combination of wholewheat flour, chickpea flour, semolina, oil and hot water as per my recipe below.
Burnt flour. If you roll Poori using flour, it will come away in the hot frying oil and burn. These speckles will cling to any subsequent Poori you make. Instead of using flour to assist in the rolling process, use a small amount of oil.
It is not recommended to reheat Poori. They are best eaten hot as soon as they are made. If you reheat them, they will begin to release oil and become greasy. Store cooked Poori at room temperature and eat within 24 hours.
My recipe for Poori is not gluten free. You can try it using your favourite gluten-free flour blend but the results may be different. If you are follow a gluten-free diet, you will also need to omit the semolina and asafoetida.
Simply leave out the chilli powder, turmeric and asafoetida in this recipe for plain Poori.
Time needed: 1 hour and 5 minutes.
HOW TO MAKE AMAZING POORI AT HOME
Make a semi-stiff dough that’s smooth to the touch. To do this, you’ll need whole wheat flour (atta), chickpea flour, semolina, oil, salt, chilli powder, asafoetida, turmeric and hot water. Knead for 8-10 minutes. Cover with a damp tea towel and rest for 30 minutes.
Use firm pressure to roll the dough into small portions between your palms. They should be no larger than a table tennis ball. Apply oil to the surface of the dough to ensure it doesn’t dry out or form a skin.
Try to be as careful as you can to roll the poori thinly and evenly. Don’t use extra flour, instead apply oil to prevent sticking. Flour will burn in the oil when frying. The Poori needs to be around 1.5mm in thickness and around 8-10cm in diameter depending on the size of your dough. I recommend forming 16-18g portions.
The oil needs to register 200C/400F on a thermometer. It must be very hot for the Pooris to rise. Pour oil over the top of the poori using a slotted spoon. Each Poori should take only 25 seconds to fry on both sides. Don’t overcrowd the oil and keep the temperature constant.
Remove the Poori from the hot oil using a perforated spoon and drain on kitchen towel. Serve within an hour for puffy crispy Pooris. They will soften and deflate as time passes.
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