Mmm poori. This was originally intended as part of my Hanukkah 2010 menu series, however time and health intervened. However, better late than never right? Poori is an Indian fried bread that I was first introduced to during my years at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. There it was served, at the amazing India House restaurant, in spectacular fashion. A hollow shimmering bread the size of a small beachball! I loved tearing into it, marvelling at its thin slightly sweet and crispy shell, never thinking that one day I’d be able to make my own!
Surprise newsflash – It’s not that hard! Turns out poori is an extremely common Indian breakfast staple. With millions of home cooks making it daily it really shouldn’t intimidate you too much. The hardest part is getting the breads rolled out to the right thickness, and making sure that they puff evenly. These two steps are not difficult to master however and after one or two batches you should be getting the hang of it!
My main three tips are these:
1) Oil your hands liberally when shaping the poori. Flour will discolor the oil
2) Tap the circumference of the poori a few times just before they reach the surface. Then rub with the back of the spoon to encourage even puffing
3) Watch the following video to better understand the above!
So ready to get started now?
Makes 16 poori
1 cup chapati/atta flour plus 1/2 cup all-purpose flour -or- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour plus 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil + additional oil for hands as well as frying
½ cup warm water
1. Combine flours and salt
2. Rub oil into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
3. Add water to form a dough.
4. Oil hands and knead dough until it is soft, smooth and shiny in appearance (can take up to 10 minutes).
5. Cover dough with damp towel or plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
6. Knead quickly for a minute or two
7. Divide into 2 equal portions
8. Roll each portion into a rope and cut each rope into 8 equal portions
9. Roll these into smooth balls and put them back into the bowl (you can oil them upon completion to prevent them from sticking to each other)
10. Roll out into 5-inch circles. (The oil should prevent the dough from sticking to the pin or work surface by this point. If not add more At this point you can leave them in a fridge, covered, for up to a day before frying, but who wants to wait that long? )
11. Heat oil. You’ll know it’s ready when a wooden spoon handle dipped in immediately forms bubbles around its circumference.
12. Drop one bread at a time into the oil. Don’t crowd the pan – I like to work with 2 – 3 at a time as I have a smaller pan.
13. As the bread begins to rise to the surface tap the circumference lightly with a spoon, then rub the middle of the surface in smooth circular motion, keeping the bread from completely breaking the surface (don’t be too forceful with the spoon, it should be a gentle caressing movement )
14. If you’ve done the above step correctly you will feel the bread begin to puff, release the spoon and allow the bread to fry for 10-15 seconds, then flip and fry for another 10-15 seconds.
15. Remove and drain.