Puri (Fried Indian Flat Bread)
Puris are flat bread that can be made savoury or spicy and puff up into balls when fried (if cooked and rolled out properly). Puris are considered to be a little treat, something different to the normal rotis. These savoury little balls were a little bit of naughty food, something that was not really healthy because it is fried as opposed to roasted. It used to be eaten mostly on special occasions or just to make a slight difference to the normal meal. Puris are good eaten as a snack or for breakfast / lunch or as a accompaniment to curries, or with sweet foods such as kheer (rice pudding) and shrikhand (made with yoghurt and sugar, saffron & nuts or fruit added to it). They also go well with mango pickle and equally with a nice hot cup of tea.
I remember my mother telling us to learn how to roll out small round shapes and allowing me and my sisters to make a few which used to be such an achievement when we actually came to eating them. Our father would help with the frying and always used to try and assure that each of the puris would become small round balls of yummy food. Last year while visiting my older sister in Hong Kong we made puris together and her younger daughter was helping us make little hearts and flowers shapes. My son enjoyed that, so now when ever I make at them at home he helps and makes little star shapes and ‘puri men’ and of course the cut-out of his hands. It is so much fun and then he says to everyone ‘I made them’ 🙂
Puri (Fried Indian Flat Bread)
I use yoghurt and ajwain seeds (caraway) as it gives the puri an added flavour and richness. If you do not have the ingredients or do not like the taste of ajwain then you can remove these from the ingredient list. I like puris with some spices so make them as below, however you can also remove the spices and make them with just salt. Another alternative, while combining the ingredients to make a dough, is to add cooked chopped spinach to make green puri’s, or finely grated beetroot to make red puris.
Preparation time: 10 mins Cooking time: 30 mins Makes: 15 to 20 puris
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chilli & turmeric powder
1/2 tsp ajwain seeds crush slightly
1/4 cup yoghurt
sunflower oil for deep frying
1) Make a soft dough by mixing all the ingredients together, use water as required to make a fairly soft dough and let it rest for 10 mins.
2) If you are making traditional small round puris then divide the dough in equal parts and then roll into long tubes (sausage like shapes), with a sharp knife cut into 2 cm pieces and keep aside. Roll on a flat surface with some oil to help you roll them make them about 4 to 5 cm in diameter. Make a few and keep aside ready to be fried.
3) Heat the oil in a wok and start to fry the puris 2 or 3 at a time, gently slide them into the hot oil away from you and with a skimmer (jaro or slotted spoon) gentle press them into the oil one at a time this will help them to rise. After a minute or so turn them over and cook on the other side until golden brown. Remove with the skimmer and place on kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil. You are ready to serve as you like.