Poori Plain, Indian Fried Bread
Poori is another of unleavened Indian breads that is made almost the same way as a chapatti, but deep fried instead of being cooked on a griddle. When made for serving with a full meal, I do not add oil to the dough. If you are making then for travel for keeping for a day or so, adding oil helps to keep them soft. Makes 18-20
250 gm. chapatti flour. If you do not have access to chapatti flour, 1:1 mix of whole wheat and plain white flour can be used instead. Some people prefer to make pooris with 100% white flour or maida.
2 tsp. cooking oil (optional)
Enough water to make a firm dough
Oil for deep frying
A wok or karahi
A slotted spatula
Mix flour and oil well.
Add water gradually, kneading all the time, to make a firm dough. Knead well until the dough is soft. Leave for 10 -15 minutes and then knead again.
Divide dough into 18-20 portions and make balls by rolling between the two greased palms. Size of each poori is an individual choice; they can be smaller or bigger, thinner or thicker.
Heat oil in a wok or karhai. If the oil is too cold, poori will not fluff up. If the oil is too hot and smoking, poori will turn dark brown and burn. When oil is ready, a tiny piece of dough dropped in it will sizzle and rise to the top quickly. Oil must not be smoking hot.
Rolling out Pooris:
Roll out one ball at a time on a greased surface, using a greased rolling pin, into a 10-12 cm. circle. If you have a poori press, simply press the balls in it one at a time, just like making Mexican tortillas.
Frying: (It is always easier if one person rolls out the pooris while another one is frying them. Otherwise, roll them in batches of 5-6 and keep them covered with a moist cloth while you fry a batch.
Slide one poori at a time gently into the hot oil from the edge of the wok, to avoid the oil splashing onto your hands if you drop it in from high up.
As soon as it begins to float to the surface, turn it over gently with a slotted spatula.
Press gently all over with the spatula, coaxing it to balloon up.
Fry until golden (not dark) brown on both sides. Do not overcook.
Remember to turn down the heat between while you are rolling out the next batch.
If taking them for packed meal or picnics, they can be made into poori rolls with various filling, vegetarian or non-veteran, just before eating, as shown in picture. Here, I have shown it with the most traditional bhaji, Alu, that is eaten with poories as a packed meal.
You can flavour poories with various spices like chillies or fennel, or carom seeds. You can also add boiled and drained spinach, methi, bathua leaves or even a little left over dal in the dough.
Poories made with maida or plain white flour are called Loochis in Bengal.