Most houses celebrate special days in a signature trademark way. Mine is no exception. Festivals, birthdays, poojas and various other special events brings back memories of a lot of noise – decorations – flowers and food! Glorious Food!
I can almost see my mother fry pooris and make gorgeous halwa. And I almost hear her say ‘Kadai shubh mauke pe chadai jaati hai’, an auspicious day calls for putting that oil filled wok on fire.
So, in essence, my most memorable days of celebrating birthdays and festivals included me gorging on deep fried pooris with alu(potato) or chole(chickpeas) and lick bowl full of decadent halwas n kheer. In case you are wondering, I am still battling my baby fat 😉
But then marriage happened and I got to see his side of conviviality. The festivities were an eye opener. I never imagined things to be so distinctly different in other houses… Naive? Yes.
The celebrations in his house were such a dampner that my over enthusiastic spirit took a blow in the very first instant itself.
His home housed 4 boys. Morbid, serious, sobre and very very health conscious boys. They never fried. Special days were as good as any other day. None of the noise or food or spirit that I grew up with.
The husband always grumbles when I fry something. Especially Pooris. He dislikes them. It’s oily, Its deep fried, It’s not good for health… the complaints are many.
“Its only once in a while” argument has no takers in my little fussy home. Daughter follows father’s footsteps, and declares that she is not too fond of all things ‘deep fried’.
I’d like to believe she is just imitating him, but if only she was like me in some ways. Sigh.
But dear readers, I do what I have to do. In spite of their protests, I fry. In an effort to make them respect every one’s wishes, likes-dislikes and in some hope of getting them to acquire the taste(Ha! As if its’s beer), pooris are made.
Demanding to like what I like, doesn’t work. Coercion at gun point does. 😉 But I take such liberties just once in a blue moon, literally. I can count the number of times I ventured into Poori making in all my 10 years of married life – 10 times. Really.
So, usually-mostly-always I mess the making of these puffed breads.
Not this time. I made sure the dough is stiff and firm, the oil hot enough and my rolling skills a little better than before. 🙂
Adding carrom seeds or ajwain to the flour, enhances the flavor and digestive properties of the bread. This dried herb is the show stealer according to me.
Now for the Recipe:
- 1 cup whole wheat flour or atta
- salt to taste
- 1 tsp carrom seeds or ajwain
- luke warm water, enough to bind.
- 1 tsp oil, to knead
- Oil, to deep fry
To the flour, add salt and carrom seeds. Using luke warm water, bind into a stiff firm dough. The dough should be soft enough to roll our without needing to dust it with flour. Using little oil, knead again. Cover and keep aside for 30 minutes.
When ready to fry. Put an oil filled wok on heat. Grab walnut sized portions from the dough. Roll out into small flat rounds, around 2 to 2.5 inch diameter. Care not to make it too thin, else the pooris will not rise and puff.
Now, the oil should not be smoking hot, just hot enough for the rounds to rise up when dropped in oil. If the oil is very hot, the pooris darken immediately. Using a slotted ladle, gently fry one side, then the other and remove on absorbent paper once done. Repeat with the other rounds.
It looks simple, and once you are familiar with the technique it is a breeze. But I learnt this the hard way. I have messed it enough times to tell you the Do’s and Don’ts.
- The dough should be stiff because if it is softer, you would need to use flour and when frying the pooris, the excess flour will settle in the oil and burn causing the pooris to get coated with black specks.
- The second reason is that the pooris would absorb more oil and become greasy. A good poori should barely show traces of oil on itself, after being deep-fried.
- If the oil is too hot the pooris will not puff up and become flat, crisp and very brown.
- If the oil is not hot enough the pooris will not puff up and will be very greasy.
I pack Chole and puri in her lunch box. And its empty when she comes home.
I’m pleased as a punch, only till I hear, “Sanjana loved your pooris Ma”. Sanjana? Huh? What did you eat? “Her bhindi roti”, pat comes the reply.