A poori is the most beautiful edible treat to behold. In the kitchen as it is made and fried, and as it arrives on the table, to be consumed. Puffy and light, crisp outside and chewy in its bite, it is a miraculous invention and one that always pleases.
We grew up eating pooris on tyauhaars (religious festivals) and at special dinners where a "fancy meal" was being served. Channas (chickpeas), rase waale aloo (potatoes), khatta meetha kaddu (sweet and sour pumpkin) and halwa (semolina pudding) are some of the dishes I associate with the making of pooris.
They are delicious. Easy to make. Its all about practice, practice and practice when it comes to the making of pooris.
Fluffy Deep Fried Bread (recipe from Indian Home Cooking)
Makes about 12 - 16
2 cups atta (whole whear pastry flour), plus extra for rolling
Oil for deep-frying
1) Put flour in a parat (large bowl).
2) Make a well in the center of the flour and add some water. Mix with your hand to make a hard, moist dough. Place in a clean bowl and cover with a clean damp kitchen cloth or paper towel pressed directly onto the surface. Let the dough rest for about 10 minutes or up to 30 minutes.
3) Break off a piece of dough a little smaller than a golf ball. Toss it first in the bowl of flour and then roll between the palms of your hands to make a ball. Set the ball on the work surface and flatten to a 2-inch disk. Now roll the disk, flouring the work surface and the dough as needed, into a thin round 5 to 6 inches in diameter. (Make sure the rounds are thin – about 1/8-inch thick; if they are too thick, they won’t puff properly.) Pat off the excess flour as well as possible; any flour clinging to the pooris will fall into the oil and eventually burn. Put the poori on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Repeat to roll all of the remaining dough into pooris and stack them on the plate, a piece of plastic wrap between each one.
4) Heat about 2 inches of oil in a small wok, kadai, or large saucepan to 375˚F / 190˚C. Line a plate with paper towels.
5) Gently slide one of the dough rounds into the hot oil. The round will bob to the surface. Press down on it gently with a slotted spoon to keep it submerged in the oil so that it will brown evenly. When it is brown and puffed (this should take just 15 to 30 seconds), gently turn the poori with the slotted spoon and brown the other side. Remove with the slotted spoon to the paper towel-lined plate. Serve immediately. Continue in this way to cook all of the pooris.