Pooris/Puris – Thin deep fried whole wheat bread

Background:

Poori Masala is my idea of comfort food. It perks up a gloomy day and in my mind brings back memories from my childhood of lazy Sunday afternoons lining up in the kitchen with my siblings for the next poori. It is reminiscent of the carefree nature of my youth. Of family time and leaning against appa as he sat satiated from a hearty meal.

Stuff you will need:

Whole wheat flour – 2 cups
Salt – to taste
Sugar – a pinch
Ghee – 3 tsps
Water – as needed
Extra flour
Rolling pin
Flat surface
Oil – Enough to fry

How to make it?

Add the sugar, salt and ghee to the whole wheat flour and mix with your hands till the ghee is dispersed well in the flour. Add water to knead the dough sparingly. You need a tight dough with minimal water to ensure the pooris are not soaking up oil when they fry. Another key is to make the dough and fry the pooris as soon as possible. Resting the dough causes the pooris to soak up oil too.

Heat oil in a shallow frying pan. When the oil is ready, make a small ball of the dough and on a clean flat surface use the rolling pin to roll out a small circle from the dough ball. Slide in oil and turn when it bubbles up and forms a fluffy ball. Remove from oil when golden and stack on a paper tissue lined vessel.

Serve hot with potato masala or even plain old tomato ketchup.

Makes 12 small pooris

Special Notes:

Pooris make excellent finger food. They are ideal for picnics and long journeys. They keep well and can be had with pickle for train journeys.

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Potato Masala – Potatoes boiled and mashed to make a hearty stew with onions and tomatoes

Background:

Poori in my home is always paired with Potato masala. To me this combination represents all that is good in life. This simple hearty dish is comfort food for the cold nights.

Stuff you will need:

Potatoes – 3 small boiled, peeled and mashed
Onion – 1 large cut into long pieces
Tomato – 1 small chopped
Ginger – Small cube diced
Green chillies – 3 slit
Curry leaves – 1 sprig chopped
Asafoetida – 1 pinch
Turmeric – 1 pinch
Salt to taste
Oil – to temper
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Urad dhal – 1 tsp
1 lime – juice squeezed

How to make it?

Boil the potatoes in the jackets, peel and mash. Set aside. In a shallow pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds, when they are ready to burst, add urad dhal. When urad starts to turn brown, add ginger and green chillies. Then add onions and saute till pink. Add the chopped tomato, cover and cook till done. Add the mashed potato and one cup of water. Stir and let simmer till the stew comes together. Turn heat off and squeeze the juice of one fresh lime.

Serve hot with pooris or rotis

Special Notes:

My husband and I like this masala a tad “liquidy” as we call it. My mom used to make it more like a dry curry. Either styles taste good. To make it dry, eliminate adding water along with the potatoes. Optionally to make it rich, when adding urad dhal, broken cashew may be added as well.

Kaju Kathli – Cashew, Sugar, Saffron, Cardamom combined to make a flavorful cake

Background:

With Deepavali tomorrow, for the first time in seven years, I gave into the urge to make something sweet. Considering both K and I enjoy cashews a lot, it only made sense for me to make Kaju Kathli or Cashew Cake. After scouring the Internet for recipes that ranged from powdering the cashews and boiling it in a mix of sugar and water to grinding the cashew in milk and then boiling it in sugar syrup I decided to follow whatever seemed to make life easier for me. Even if I say so myself, I was proud I was able to make squares out of it.

Stuff you will need:

Cashews – Powdered – 1 cup
Sugar – 1/2 – 3/4 cup depending on taste
Water – 3/4 cup
Milk – 3 tbsp
Saffron – a few strands
Cardamom – 5 shelled and pounded
Ghee – 2 tsp to grease plate

How to make it?

Grind the cashew using a spice grinder into a fine powder till it makes about one cup. Set aside. In a shallow non stick pan, heat water and add the milk. When it starts bubbling, add the saffron strands and stir in the sugar. When the sugar syrup starts foaming and bubbling, add the cashew powder taking care to stir it in without forming lumps. On a medium heat, stir this mixture till it starts forming powdery trails around the outer edge and you can stir it without the mixture sticking to the bottom of the pan. At this point, mix the cardamom powder in and remove from heat.

On a greased plate, pour this mixture in and pat till it is of even thickness. Allow it to cool slightly before making squares or diamonds. When cool, separate and store in an air tight container.

Makes 30 pieces

Special Notes:

I used 3/4 cup sugar and thought it was too sugary for my taste. The next time I try this, I will definitely reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup. I am not sure if the high sugar content was what helped it become cake like instead of halwa. I highly recommend adjusting the sugar content to please individual palates.

Coating with silver varki is optional. I do not do it as I am not a big fan of varki.