Once cooked, these flaky breads must be served immediately, which means that you’ll be at the stove while everyone else is seated at the table. It actually isn’t too troublesome because Puris take only a few minutes to cook, and if you are well organized you can do it with great aplomb. The method of making the dough for Puris is the same as that for tortillas, Samosas, and Mandarin Pancakes, though Puris are cooked differently. Once you discover how easy it is to handle the dough, you’ll want to try all of these breads.
MAKES TWELVE 5-INCH BREADS; SERVES 6
2 cups whole wheat flour
ВЅ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons Ghee or oil
Вѕ cup warm water minus 1 tablespoon
Oil for frying
- Blend the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Add the ghee or oil and rub it into the flour with the tips of your fingers until it resembles a coarse, flaky meal.
- Make a well in the center and pour in the water, then stir with a spoon until blended. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board or work surface and knead for 7 minutes. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover with a slightly damp towel. Let rest for 30 minutes, or wrap in plastic and chill overnight. Bring to room temperature before rolling.
- Divide the dough in half, roll each half into a cylinder, then cut each cylinder into 6 even-size pieces. Roll a piece of the dough into a ball between your hands, then flatten it into a disk. With a rolling pin roll the disk on a lightly floured surface into a 5-inch circle, turning the dough as necessary to keep the circle evenly round. Lightly flour the work surface as necessary. Repeat with the remaining dough and unevenly stack the puris as you go along, then cover with a slightly damp towel.
- Pour enough oil into a medium skillet to reach a depth of 2 inches, and heat over medium heat until hot but not smoking. To test if the oil is hot enough drop a tiny piece of dough into it; it should sizzle immediately and rise to the surface. Slide 1 puri into the oil and press it down with a slotted spatula to keep it below the surface. It will immediately begin to puff up. Cook for 30 seconds, then turn over and cook another 30 seconds, or until lightly golden. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately, or you can keep them in a 250В°F oven for the few minutes it takes you to finish the batch.
NOTE: Do not be surprised if all of the puris don’t puff up perfectly. Sometimes that happens, but they are still delicious. If many of them don’t puff up then perhaps they are not evenly round, or perhaps they have been rolled larger than 5 inches. In either case, form the uncooked dough into balls again and reroll into circles.