Poori/Puri/Luchi: Indian Puffed Bread.
Poori, puri or luchi are Indian names for puffed deep-fried breads made with whole-wheat atta(flour) or maida (refined flour). This is a very delicate bread and it is soft, yet chewy. If fried in fresh oil and if the dough is kneaded properly, every poori is expected to rise and puff up.
This is an easy recipe, but there are a few factors which you should ensure:
- Add a little warm oil to the flour at the beginning of kneading the dough and at a time. Don’t add the oil in batches.
- Add a little sugar, salt and fine semolina (sooji) to the poori flour as well. Semolina makes the puffs stay longer.
- Kneading the dough patiently is extremely important. Knead it continuously with warm water for atleast 10 min.
- This dough should not be kept for a long time. I just give a standby time of 10 min to the dough (at room temperature) and always cover it to prevent drying up.
- Some like to roll each of the small balls by smearing each with a little oil, whereas some just roll the poorisby dusting flour. Both ways, you can get fluffed up pooris.
- While frying the pooris, always ensure that the oil is very hot and well-enough to make the poori float. Less oil will lead to flat pooris!
- Always use a perforated spoon to take out pooris from the oil. Remove on a big plate lined with absorbent paper. Serve immediately.
- Frying the pooris in gheemakes them taste and smell much better. But people use healthy and light oils now, instead of ghee, which is heavy and expensive.
- Don’t stack the puris one above the other after rolling them (before frying).
- Baking powder or yeast is not needed for this Indian bread recipe.
Poori/Puri/Luchi: Indian Puffed Bread
[Talking about the flours, some prefer to make pooris with just refined flour or maida, whereas others prefer just the whole-wheat flour or atta. I prefer to use a flour ratio of 3:1 for maida:atta. For each cup of this mixture, I add ¾ tsp fine semolina (sooji). While kneading, adding warm milk instead of warm water will enhance the taste, but I don’t do that. Adding warm water is just fine.]
- Refined flour: 3 cups
- Whole-wheat flour: 1 cup
- Fine semolina: 1.5 tsp
- Salt: ¼ tsp
- Sugar powder: little less than ¼ tsp
- Warm oil for the dough: 2 tbsp
- Warm water: as required to knead a non-sticky dough
- Oil for deep-frying
Mix the first five ingredients together. Using your hand, knead the dough adding warm water in two to three batches. Avoid adding extra water.
This is the stage when the kneading is half-done.
Kneading over: compare the texture of the dough with that of the previous picture.
The dough should be kneaded for atleast 10 minutes, until it becomes smooth and non-sticky. Put the dough in a bowl and cover with a lid. Let this dough stand on your kitchen platform for 10 minutes.
Make uniform-sized balls (of the size a little bigger than the Ping-Pong balls) and dust the rolling surface with flour. Roll out a few pooris.
Heat enough oil in a kadai (see the picture below). We generally use any utensil which is not flat at the base, but round. When the oil is very hot, carefully slide-in a poori, taking care that it doesn’t fold on doing so. At this point, the flame should be at the “high” mode.
Use the back of a perforated spoon to gently press the poori down, so that the whole poori is submerged into the oil for a few seconds. The poori will fluff up. Reduce the flame, as it gets deep brown with the blink of an eye. Flip over, as soon as it swells up like a balloon. Fry for a few seconds, till both sides look light brown or golden.
Remove on an absorbent paper.
Similarly, for the next poori, increase the flame first. Introduce the next rolled poori and press it down. When it is fluffed, flip immediately and reduce the flame to “medium”. Fry for a few seconds. Remove on the absorbent paper.
Likewise, fry all the pooris. Don’t stack them one over another. Serve immediately with your choice of curry. For summer breakfast, we just love these with aamras (a mixture of mango pulp and a little milk) and dum aaloo (simmered Indian potato curry). You can have these at any time of the day.
For a complete Indian meal, try the pooris with Alu-Phulkopir Torkari (potato-cauliflower curry), Murgh Kasoori Methi, Panchratan Dal (Indian five-lentil stew) and my special Old-Fashioned, Mixed-Fruit Chutney.