Poori with Potato Masala/Puri Bhaji

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Poori is deep fried puffy breads that are my absolute favorite. With being health conscious and all, I never really made them since it involved deep frying of the dough, and the one time I ever tried it, I ended up as flat and brittle – more like papads instead of soft and puffy breads that my mom used to make. I had decided that this is just not my thing and never tried it after that. Someone told me that you could deep fry ready made chapati dough that you get in Indian stores and I resorted to cutting up the larger ready made dough into triangles and deep frying them. My husband always made fun of me that Pooris were supposed to be circle shaped and not triangles. Well, my kitchen was home to triangle shaped pooris for a while, until I figured out how easy it was – when I saw my mom making them.

I saw my mom make pooris with ease when she visited me. My waist line is testament to the number of times she has made pooris while she has been here. And, she makes the obvious choice of potato masala to go with it. She has given me the tips to make perfect pooris and I think I have learnt the tricks of making poori – she is still here, so I can’t claim victory yet, but I think I am getting there. Posting the recipe for poori lovers and poori amateurs like me…

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How to Make Puffy Pooris
Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat atta
salt, to taste
3/4 cup to 1 cup warm water(as needed to make dough)
oil to deep fry the pooris

Tips and Tricks to get Puffy Pooris
1. Heat the oil for deep frying the pooris and then make the dough(Add salt and whole wheat flour in a bowl, whisk to combine. Add the water little by little to make a dough.) The sooner you make pooris out of the dough, the puffier. The longer the flour rests, there is gluten development and when deep frying, gluten doesn’t let the pooris puff up.
2. You can even add a couple of tablespoons of hot oil while making the dough, to have puffy pooris.
3. The dough for pooris should be a tight dough – compared to chapati dough.
4. The oil should be of right temperature. To test the temperature of the oil – drop a tiny bit of dough in the oil, it should rise up and also puff up. This is the right temperature.
5. Fry pooris one by one, or couple of pooris at a time, depending on the size of your frying pan. The idea is to maintain the temperature of the oil to ensure puffy pooris throughout.
6. Finally, if you are to make pooris ahead of time, or for a crowd – add a couple of tablespoons of rava while making the dough, this will ensure the pooris stay crispy and puffy for a little while longer than usual.

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Potato Masala/Bhaji for Pooris
Ingredients:
5 medium potatoes
3 tomatoes
8 green chillies, slit
1 tbsp ginger chopped
2 medium onions, sliced
2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp urad dal
2 tsp channa dal
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp besan/garbanzo bean flour(optional)
salt to taste
curry leaves, a sprig
cilantro, chopped – a couple twigs

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Method:
Pressure cook the potatoes with enough water to cover until they are soft. Let the potatoes cool enough to handle. Peel and mash roughly with your fingers. I like to keep a mixed texture – some still chunky and some mashed through to add texture to the Masala.

Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add urad dal and channa dal. Let the dals turn golden brown. Next add the sliced onions, green chillies and curry leaves. Saute until the onions are translucent and are well cooked. Add in the ginger, tomatoes, turmeric and salt. Let this cook until the tomatoes turn mushy. Add the mashed potatoes and mix to combine, adding water to make a masala consistency. Bring this to a boil. If it seems too watery, combine 1 tsp besan/garbanzo bean flour with 2 tbsp water to make a slurry and add it to the potato masala. Let this boil for a couple of minutes and thicken. Add chopped cilantro and serve with hot puffy pooris.

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Verdict: Poori – made the right way is a dish that no one can say no to. The tips helped me to make puffy pooris – while my mom approved my technique. The potato masala is a perfect accompaniment to these pooris – and my mom adds tomatoes that adds a nice tangy flavor to the potato masala, and also a slightly reddish hue to the normally yellow one. My fave combo – here for you!

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