Poori (Indian Fried bread)

Growing up, a special occasion weekend brunch was piping hot Poori, with Urulai (potato) curry. Transported to childhood today, and the special occasion? Just that we’re here, grateful for what we have ❤️

Puris are deep fried fluffy bread clouds of goodness, made from whole wheat flour, kneaded into a dough with a little fat, salt, and a little water. It’s rather simple in ingredients and process, but as with any bread, it gets better with practice.

Puris are especially no fuss since there’s no leavening involved.

As with any Indian food, there are several variations to this flavor-wise depending on the regional influence. This is the basic version. Naturally vegan, and incredibly comforting.

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The trick to make fluffy, soft and airy pooris are:

  • making the dough to the right consistency
  • kneading the dough to a tight dense texture
  • letting the dough rest
  • rolling it out to an even thinness
  • managing the temperature of the oil

Ingredients for the dough:
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 cup lukewarm water

Method:
In a large mixing bowl add the measured wheat flour, canola oil, salt, and stir together.

Add measured water, little at a time and keep mixing the dough each time. You should be left with a rather crumbly dough. It will feel like there’s not enough water, but this is important to get that tight dough once kneaded.

Keep kneading the dough with a good amount of pressure for a few minutes. This step is important to make a cohesive tight dough.

If you feel it’s still dry to even form a dough, then sprinkle additional water, very little to start with. The ideal consistency is like playdough. So use your judgment!

Kneading tip: Use the heel of your palms to press down on the dough as you knead.

Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

And then get back to kneading. Knead well again for at least 5 minutes until you have a smooth dough ball.

Cover and let this rest for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, divide the dough into small portions; golf ball sized. Roll each ball between your palms to make sure they are smooth and crack free.

Rolling out the poori:
Lightly dust some wheat flour on your rolling pin, and rolling board, and roll each ball out into a circle. Ideally they’re about 3-4 mm thick. Use some extra wheat flour to dust lightly as necessary if the dough sticks to the board or the rolling pin.

Alternatively, you could also use a tortilla/poori press. Just remember to lightly oil and flour both sides of the press. Place the ball in the center, press down once to make a small circle. Move it around a bit, and press down again to make a large thinner circle. It’ll need about three presses to get the desired thinness.

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Roll out all the pooris and place on a plate to get them ready to fry.

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Heat a frying pan filled with any kind of neutral oil. I use canola. You’ll need oil filled at least to half of your frying pan.

The oil should be about 375F for a perfect fry that will make your pooris puff up, and yet not be oily. If you don’t have a thermometer to measure the temp, just preheat the oil over high heat for 5 minutes, that will get you there.

Then lower the heat to medium, or medium-high. Drop the poori dough disc in. Let it fry for a few seconds. you will start noticing some pockets of air popping up, at which time, using a slotted spoon very gently press the pooris around the edges to ensure it puffs up completely. Sometimes when pressing them, the air pockets pay burst, but don’t worry, even if not puffy, they’ll still taste great and be soft.

Turn over the pooris and fry only for another 30 seconds, remove and place on a paper towels to drain.

As you continue frying, make sure you monitor the heat of the oil. If the oil isn’t very hot, the pooris will soak up too much oil when frying, and if it’s too hot, the pooris turn extra brown. Ideally, the oil is really hot when dropping the dough in, and then at medium heat during the frying, until you drop in the next poori.

Fry up all the remaining pooris, and serve immediately. Piping hot pooris are the way to go! They’re perfect to serve with any curry, or veggie of your choice.

The classic combo however, is channa masala, or potato curry. Click the links for my recipes for both.

There are so many variations of potato curries served with pooris, and I’ll be sharing more of those soon :)

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