Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Poori and Potato-Onion Curry

This is an extra long post, as I'm giving two recipes that goes together! 

Poori has been on  my "list-of-to-do", well now, I can put that off my mind 'peacefully' as this has been bugging me for months now! I have made and conquered poori finally, LOL! Have you made anything lately, something that has been bugging you for weeks or months that unless you make it soon, it will continue to bug you every so often? 

Poori is an Indian flatbread and is usually served at breakfast or lunch. It is made by using atta flour which can be found in Indian, Pakistani, Middle Eastern and other Asian stores. Atta is a low-protein flour, and is ideal for making these fluffy-thin flatbreads. These flatbreads are usually served with potato masala, a thick curry made with potato, lentils and vegetables.

I love the way the dough 'magically' puffs up when being fried. Be sure to drain them on kitchen paper towels as they are rather oily.  It is great eaten with vegetable curry and Raghavan Iyer has recommended that these poori goes well with Potato-Onion Curry.

Do not be daunted by the long instructions below. They are really very easy to make and doesn't take up much time at all. I made the dough first and while the dough is resting, I cook the Potato-Onion Curry. Great as a weekend breakfast or lunch. Give it a try, these poori can be eaten with any curry of your choice, though I think that they goes really well with any vegetable curry.

Poori (Puffy Whole-Wheat Breads)
(adapted from "600 Curries" by Raghavan Iyer)
From the chef : "When these pooris puff up, you know you have done a good job rolling the dough out to an even thickness. They will collapese, like a souffle, if they sit around after they are fried - but don't get too bent out of shape if that happens, because the flavour will still be the same. I particularly love these treats with some of the potato curries in this book."
Makes 10 breads :
2 cups roti flour (atta flour), plus extra for dusting
1-1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for deep-frying
about 3/4 cup warm water
  1. Thoroughly combine the flour and salt in a medium-size bowl. Then drizzle the 2 tablespoons oil over the salted flour, rubbing the flour through your hands to evenly distribute the oil.
  2. Drizzle a few tablespoons of the water over the flour, and stir it in. Repeat until the flour comes together to form a soft ball; you will use about 3/4 cup warm water altogether. Using your hand (as long as it's clean, I think it's the best tool), gather the ball, picking up any dry flour in the bottom of the bowl, and knead it to form a smooth, soft ball of dough (do this in the bowl or on a lightly floured surface). If it's a little too wet, dust it with a little more flour, kneading it in after every dusting until you get the right soft, dry consistency. (If you used your hand to make the dough from the start, it will be caked with dough. Scrape it back into the bowl. Wash and dry your hands, and return to the dough to knead it. You will get a much better feel for the dough's consistency with a dry hand.)
  3. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a slightly dampened cloth, and set it aside to rest for about 30 minutes. (After 30 minutes, you can refrigerate the dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 4 days. Bring it back to room temperature before you proceed.)
  4. Using your hands, roll the dough out to form a 10-inch-long log (lightly flour the work surface if that helps.) Cut the log crosswise into 10 pieces, and shape each piece into a ball. Press each ball out to form a patty. Cover the patties with plastic wrap.
  5. Line a plate or a cookie sheet with three or four sheets of paper towels.
  6. Pour oil to a depth of 2 to 3 inches into a wok, Dutch oven or medium-size saucepan. Heat the oil over medium heat until a candy or deep-fry thermometer inserted into the oil (without touching the pan's bottom) registers 375 to 400F. (An alternative way to see if the oil is at the right temperature for deep-frying is to gently flick a drop of water over it. If the pearl-like drop skitters across the surface, the oil is ready).
  7. While the oil is heating, lightly flour a small work area near the stove and place a dough patty on it. (Keep the remaining patties covered with plastic wrap while you work on this one). Roll it out to form a round about 3 to 4 inches in diameter, dusting it with flour as needed. Make sure the round is evenly thin, with no tear on its surface. Repeat with the remaining rounds, stacking them as you make them, and flouring between the layers to prevent them from sticking to one another.
  8. Once the oil is ready, slide a dough round into the pan. It will sink to the bottom, and then within seconds it will start to bubble and rise to the top. With the back of a spoon, gently keep submerging the round when it rises to the surface, to enable the dough to puff from the inside. It will be done in less than a minute. Remove the golden-brown poori with a slotted spoon, and set it on the paper towels to drain.
  9. Repeat with the remaining rounds. Then serve.

Potato-Onion Curry is recommened by Chef Raghavan Iyer to go together with Poori. This is a mild, tasty thick curry. It is great for those who prefer a mild curry, and is suitable for vegetarian too.

The recipes states that to keep a cup of cooking water from the boiled potatoes, I would advise  to keep all of the cooking water, like I did, as I found that more than a cup is needed to cook the curry. The curry gets thicker as the potatoes breaks down and more water is needed. Add about 1/4 cup at a time until the consistency of fairly thick curry is obtained.

Potato-Onion Curry (Urulikazhangu Vengayam Bhajee)
(adapted from "660 Curries" by Raghavan Iyer)
According to Raghavan Iyer , "Tear off a piece of poori, scoop up some potato curry with it, and wrap the torn bread around it - you will see why the combination works so well."
Ingredients :
1-1/2 pounds russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, and submerged in a bowl of cold water to prevent browning.
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
6 whole cloves
2 dried red Thai or cayenne chiles, stems removed
1 cinnamon stick (1/2-inch long), broken into smaller pieces
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh ginger
2 fresh green Thai, cayenne, or serrano chiles, stems removed
1 teaspoon black or yellow mustard seeds
1 tablespoon yellow split peas (chana dal), picked over for stones
1 medium size red onion, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1-1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt
1/4 teaspoons ground tumeric
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems

  1. Bring a medium-size (or larger) saucepan of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Drain the potatoes and add them to the boiling water. Bring to a boil again. Then lower the heat to medium and cook, partially covered, until the potatoes are barely cooked, 2 to 4 minutes. (Cut into such small cubes, the potatoes will cook quickly, so be careful not to overcook them). Reserving 1 cup of the cooking water, drain the potatoes. (I would suggest to reserve all the cooking water).
  2. Preheat a wok over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the oil and sprinkle in the fennel seeds, cloves, dried chiles, and cinnamon pieces. Stir-fry until the chiles blacken slightly and the spices are fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer the roasted mixture to a mortar, pound the mixture and grind it into a fairly smooth paste. (The spices will break down easily because they turn brittle when roasted. I don't recommend using a blender to make this paste because of the small quantity of ingredients).
  3. Reheat the same wok over a medium-high heat. Pour in the remaining 2-1/2 teaspoons oil, and add the mustard seeds. Cover the wok and cook until the seeds have stopped popping (not unlike popcorn), about 30 seconds. Then add the split peas and stir-fry until they turn golden brown, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the onion and the spice-ginger paste and stir-fry until the onion turns golden brown and the mixture smells nutty-pungent, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the salt and turmeric. Pour in the reserved potato cooking water, and add the potatoes. Heat to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium, cover the wok, and cook, stirrring occasionally, until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 5 minutes.
  5. Coarsely mash the potatoes with the back of a cooking spoon, and fold in the cilantro. Then serve.

Enjoy !


  1. Oh my gosh, Joy, you're killing me! I love curry so much and I can imagine how wonderful it tastes with the poori. What a delicious, satisfying meal. Thank you so much for sharing with Cookbook Sundays. I hope you're having a great week!

  2. wow its such yumm poori n curry.. love them as always..

  3. I love love love this combo..anytime any day. Very tempting platter you have there :)

    US Masala

  4. I love the curry puff!!Thanks for sharing the recipe, hope to try it soon!

  5. Your poori look perfect! And the curry so delicious! Would love to try them.

  6. Your pooris turned out beautifully! It must be really tasty with that potato onion curry...yumm!

  7. I havent tried the poori yet since they look so oily. But would love to try your potato-onion curry to eat with phrata or capati, it looks so mouth-watering!

  8. Your poori and potato curry are killing me! How I wish to grab some over now! Perfect combo and my all time favourite...;)

    Sorry for not visiting often as my pc is still in service..huhu

  9. woww... super combo.. my mom used to make this.. im a bit lazy to pour oil to deep fry somethng.. so wen i go home my mom makes this and i eat alot :)

  10. Amazing!
    I can't eat without bread and your looks faboulos!
    have a nice day, Barbara

  11. Fluffy pooris and potato onion curry,am just drooling here..

  12. Pouri with onions lovely idea !!!!
    Delicious and your photos, very nice !!!

  13. Look how puff they are! Nice to serve with curry.

  14. Hi friends,
    Thank you for stopping by! Appreciate all your comments!

  15. How perfect both dishes are. I have a weakness for Indian bread and a love of potatoes. You can see my hips will suffer as a result of this post.I forgive you :-). Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  16. Tú receta es una maravilla y la presentación muy buena,te han quedado perfectos con delicadeza,abrazos y feliz día de la mujer,quiero ver tus rectas de cerca te pondré en mi lista,feliz día.

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  18. hi dear, i bet your kitchen is full of all different types of spices! i havent eaten poori, they look crispy but after they flatten dow, do they still remain crispy? my indian neighbour just cooked chicken curry today and i can smell it from my house..indian curry is really something...!

  19. Oh, both dishes are great. The poori is definitely a must try. I used to work with a man whose wife would send him to work with these. Yum!!!

  20. Drool.. I wanna have poori and potato curry now! :)

  21. I love this curry and have never tried poori, but it looks wonderful :)