I recently attended a lovely Indian wedding where my little son delightfully declared Masala Poori as his new favorite food. I whole-heartedly agreed and decided to try making them at home. So after a few trials & tweaks, this is my version of Masala Poori – happily stamped with my son’s seal of approval :-)
For those of you not familiar with Indian flatbreads, a poori (or puri) is basically a delicious fried version. The addition of a few simple key spices makes Masala Pooris absolutely irresistible.
Ajwain (or carom seeds) is a highly fragrant spice with a taste similar to thyme. It is thought to have originated in Egypt, but is more commonly used in Indian cooking. Ajwain is easily available in any large Indian grocery store or spice market. Ajwain also has a long history for its useful medicinal properties. It is widely in India used as a digestive aid & in the relief of many stomach issues. If ajwain is not available, feel free to use cumin seeds as a substitute instead.
MASALA POORI (Spiced Flatbread)
2 cups whole wheat flour (atta)
a few tbsp of all-purpose flour, as needed
¼ tsp turmeric (haldi)
½ tsp ground coriander powder
½ tsp ground cumin powder
¼ tsp red chili powder, to taste
½ tsp ajwain
pinch of asafetida (hing)
salt to taste
oil for deep frying
water as needed
In a large wide mixing bowl, combine the whole wheat flour with the spices (turmeric, ground coriander powder, ground cumin powder, red chili powder, ajwain, asafetida & salt. Mix together and slowly add the water while kneading until a soft dough is formed. If the dough is sticky, add a little all-purpose flour.
Then using a clean work surface sprinkled with some all-purpose flour, gently knead the dough and divide it equally into round balls (roughly ping pong ball size). At this point, you can use a poori machine (similar to a tortilla press) or a rolling pin to make the pooris. Roll them out evenly into round circles (4-5 inches in diameter).
Heat a deep skillet with enough oil to deep fry. When hot, carefully add the pooris (2-3 at a time) and fry until golden brown. You may need to fry them in batches. Drain well and serve immediately with your favorite chutney and yogurt.
Feel free to add some freshly chopped mint leaves to make delicious Pudina Masala Poori (Minty Masala Poori).