Poori Recipe (Indian Fried Bread)
Poori is an Indian fried bread that is often served for breakfast with Chai tea or as a snack paired with jeera ki aloo (potato curry). My husband's late grandmother Baji used to make the best poori and I would eat them by the dozen (no joke!). There are two versions I learned from her, today I'm sharing the somewhat more complex, less healthy version made with white flour, coarsely ground wheat and yogurt.
The preparation is fairly easy. The delicate part is the frying step that can be a bit tricky. It took me a little practice to get soft, fluffy and less oily poori. As always, I haven't held back any secrets, so follow the instructions and you'll be enjoying delicious pooris in the comfort of your home!
Yields: 20 pieces2 cups all-purpose flour, + extra for dusting
1 cup instant coarse ground wheat (see tips)
1-½ tablespoons plain yogurt
½ teaspoon granulated sugar (optional)
½ teaspoon baking powder (optional)
½ teaspoon salt
1 quart canola oil (or any neutral oil), for deep frying, as needed
The day before...
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, ground wheat, baking powder, sugar (if used for breakfast for Chai) and salt. Slowly pour in about ¾ cup water (at room temperature), up to 1 cup. Mix well until it forms a stiff, dense dough. Add yogurt and 1 tablespoon oil. Knead the dough until it's just combined and becomes smooth. Cover with a towel and let rest overnight.
The following day...
Knead the dough again a little while until smooth. Roll the dough into a long log, then slice into 20 equal portions, about 1" thick disks. Mold them into golf ball-sized pieces. Cover them with a moist, damp towel so they don't dry out. Drizzle each piece with a little oil (1 tablespoon, no more than 2 tablespoons total otherwise the poori won't expand and puff as much).
Dust your work space with a little flour. Flatten each piece, creating a (6"-diameter) round shape (not too thin, about ¼"). Remove any excess flour. Make sure the disks aren't pierced (no holes) and don't overwork the dough, otherwise the poori won't expand.
Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
In a large Dutch oven (or any regular deep-fryer), heat the oil for about 2-3 minutes over high heat. There should be at least a 3"-high level of oil. Wait until the oil is slightly bubbly (not too hot).
Test the oil by dropping a small piece of dough into the hot oil. It should rise to the surface and sizzle. Lower the heat to medium-high.
Place 1 round at a time in the hot oil. Depending on the size of the deep fryer, place up to 2 pooris per batch. Deep-fry, applying very gently pressure in the center of the bread using a slotted spoon. A small air bubble will appear in the center; flip the bread, apply a little more pressure on the air bubble using the spoon and the bread will inflate like a puffer fish. Fry for about 30 more seconds until puffy and lightly golden. Delicately lift each poori, draining as much oil as possible and transfer them on to the paper towels. Continue with the rest of the dough rounds.
With the same dough, you can make batura. They're larger, slightly thicker fried breads often paired with garabanzo bean curry (chole in Urdu).
The addition of ground wheat helps the poori keep its puffy shape for a longer time. You can find (Nabisco) instant cream of wheat in the breakfast aisle at Safeway or Whole Foods or in Indian markets. It's called sooji.Published By: on April 12, 2012.