A little taster of what's cooking...
These delicious flat breads are a lovely addition to any Indian meal. They’re deep fried so maybe not something that you’d want to serve as standard, but they are so gorgeous that it’s well worth adding them to your special occasion recipes. And hey, they’re made with lentils and wholemeal flour?
The dough is made with soaked Urid Dal (which are small, white lentils that you can buy from Indian shops or in some World Food aisles at larger supermarkets), spices and wholewheat flour. When you submerge the rolled out dough under the bubbling oil, they puff up dramatically and because the outside cooks crisply, they don’t deflate at all which make them quite spectacular to put on the table. They’re hollow inside, so the shell is crisp on the outside and soft on the inside – perfect for scooping up curries!
This recipe makes 8 large Puri or 12 small
1/4 cup of urid dal (or skinless, split moong dal) which you’ll need to soak for 4-6 hours in cold water (just remember to put them in water before you go to work or go out shopping if it’s the week end and they’ll be done when you get back)
Before soaking, left. After soaking, right.
Before soaking, left. After soaking, right.
1 cup wholemeal flour
1tblsp fennel seeds, coarsely crushed in a pestle and mortar
1tblsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp asafoetida (aka hing)
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1/4 tsp ground ginger powder
1/4 cup lukewarm water
Drain the dal and coarsely grind in a mini chopper/mini food processor. Scrape the bowl down as necessary, adding a tiny amount of water if necessary to loosen it up. You need to keep water to an absolute minimum.
Mix the dry ingredients together – flour, ground coriander, ground ginger, fennel, asafoetida, salt and chilli flakes.
Add the dal paste and mix together with your hand, squishing everything together.
20150815_175434Add a 1/4 cup (60ml) of water slowly to bring everything together into a tough dough, then add 1 1/2 tblsp oil.
Squish the oil through with your hand until it’s incorporated. Knead well – for about 5 minutes to make the puri light. Put in a plastic bag or cover with cling film and leave to rest for 20 minutes.
Oil your palm and knead again for a couple of minutes before cutting the dough into the required amount of puri. Knead each into a ball to make them smooth.
Lightly grease a rolling pin and the work surface where you’ll be rolling out. Roll out the balls until they’re quite thin, a bit thicker than a penny. Don’t stack them on top of each other because they’ll stick together.
Put about 8-10cm of flavourless oil into a wok/medium saucepan and heat until a tiny ball of dough floats to the surface after a second or two (another way of seeing if it’s ready is to put the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil, if bubbles appear around it, it’s good to go).
Slide one of the rolled discs into the hot oil and immediately gently but firmly press in down with a slotted spoon. The disc should start to puff up in places or completely. Turn the disc over straight away to cook the other side. At this point the disc should have inflated completely. Cook for another few seconds until golden brown and transfer to kitchen roll to drain. If your puri don’t rise completely, don’t worry – they’ll still taste good. By the end of frying, you’ll get the hang of it for next time.
Blurry action shots – they’re fast movers!
They puff up very quickly
Continue until all of the discs are cooked. Serve straight away, or reheat in a hot oven for a couple of minutes (although they are better, fresh from the pan!)
I’ve already added a post for Roast Cauliflower, but as we’ve had so many requests to re-introduce the Indian Street Food Box, I found out that our Timatar Masala kit https://tastesmiths.com/shop/timatar-masala/ lends itself perfectly to producing an even better version!
You’ll still need to buy the same things to go with your kit – an onion, 2-3 tomatoes (or I’ve used a handful of baby tomatoes here as I had some to use up) and as the main part of your dish – a small/medium cauliflower.
Break up the cauliflower into florets and then into 1-2cm pieces, making sure they all have a bit of stalk on them to prevent them breaking up.
Peel and cut the onion in half. Slice each half into thin half moons. Set aside with the cauliflower.
Empty spice pack 1 and put all but the indian bay leaf into a spice grinder or pestle and mortar and grind as finely as you can. If it’s easier, leave the cassia bark out at this point. When spice pack 1 is ground, combine it with spice packs 2 and 3 in a small bowl.
Add 50ml of water and 1tsp salt to the ground spices and mix. It should be very watery.
Put the cauliflower onto a large baking tray and pour over the watery spices. Spend a few minutes mixing everything together so that all of the cauliflower has a coating of spice. Set the oven to 220F, 200C or gas 4.
Peel and slice the ginger into thin strips.
Finely slice the curry leaves. Finely chop 1 or 2 green chillies (use the heat guide to help), chop the tomatoes into chunks and leaving the garlic cloves whole and unpeeled bash them with the side of a knife or with a rolling pin until they’re open but still intact.
Add the tomatoes and onions to the cauliflower and stir again.
Heat 2-4 tblsp flavourless oil in a small saucepan and add the curry leaves (careful, they’ll splutter), the thinly sliced ginger and the bashed garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant and then drizzle all over the cauliflower mixture in the tray. Stir thoroughly.
Roast the cauliflower for 25-30 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft and everything is starting to char in places. Serve on its own, or as a side dish with curry or for a change with your Sunday roast.
Onion Bhaji are one of my favourite things to eat, but they have to be extremely crispy on the outside and meltingly soft and yielding in the middle.
Soggy, oily bhaji with bits of raw doughy onion in the middle are sadly all too common and I find the only way to get them just as you like them, is to make them yourself. This is how I make mine.
I obviously start with one of our lovely Onion Bhaji Kits https://tastesmiths.com/shop/onion-bhaji/. I recently bought a julienne peeler/cutter from Lakeland and it’s perfect for adding other veg to these bhaji. I also use it for coleslaw which makes carrots strips perfectly!
Instead of getting 2 medium onions, get one medium/large potato and one medium/large onion.
Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Peel and cut the onion in half. Then thinly slice each half into thin half moons. Peel the potato and either use a julienne cutter to make thin pieces or thinly slice with a knife.
Mix the dry ingredients with just over 100ml of water with an electric whisk. The consistency should be like very stiff cake batter. I added a spare green chilli that I had.
Stir in the sliced vegetables and mix well with a wooden spoon until everything is coated.
Gently slide dessert spoonfuls of mixture into the hot oil and cook as per the instructions.
Serve as a starter with drinks or as a snack with a nice cup of tea!
Back due to popular demand – our Indian Street Food Box! The four kits that we put into this box make a fantastic Indian feast – Tikka, Timatar Masala, Onion Bhaji and Dhal. Below we’ve shown you how we rang the changes with the Indian Street Food Box – we hope you enjoy using them!
the UK, we don’t really have street food stalls apart from at Food Festivals. You can find lovely stalls that sell seafood, or home-made ice cream stands if you’re lucky at the sea-side, but rarely is there a traditional place for workers to go at lunch time to pick up some freshly cooked, delicious food. Fish and chip shops can be amazing, but it’s still not really street food.
The first places that I head for when I’m on holiday are the places where locals eat – cafes down side streets, markets, stalls – these are the places that give you a real feel of what it’s like to live and eat there.
In India, street food is cheap to make and buy, quick to cook (although usually a lot of preparation has gone into it), freshly cooked and delicious. It’s the type of food that people have eaten for centuries, with recipes handed down from generation to generation. With that much inside knowledge, it’s got to taste good!
People are scared to eat street food, but although it may look less sanitised than we’re used to, the people who own the pitches are there to feed local people on lunch breaks, so they want them to go back each day – they certainly don’t want to poison them! They’d very soon lose their custom if people started to get ill from eating their food.
We’ve collected together four of our kits that we think brings a taste of Indian Street Food to your house. We’ve used some of the kits a little differently, but have blogged about how we’ve done it so that you can do the same if you want to.
Timatar Masala – this is a very traditional blend of spices which is delicious with chicken on the bone or vegetables. In this blog, we’ve used the ingredients to make a gorgeous Spicy Roast Cauliflower.
Onion Bhaji – these seductive crispy nuggets are addictive made even better with the addition of potato – perfect to serve as a starter or with drinks. Make them smaller if you want to add them to a main meal. You can find out how to make Sally’s Potato & Onion Bhaji here.
Dahl – this is the most popular dish in the whole world. They say that someone, somewhere is eating dhal at every minute of every day. I love to make my dhal thinner (the consistency of a thick soup) so that I can dip the drier parts of the meal into it, or pour it on as a sauce. It brings everything together. I added a can of chickpeas to mine, which added another texture.
Tikka – you can use this marinade on chicken pieces, chicken breast chunks, salmon chunks, tender lamb pieces/chops, whole fish, fish fillets, paneer or boiled potatoes/vegetables. I don’t have a tandoor at home, but you can turn up your oven to max, drizzle over a little garlic butter/melted butter and then cook until they get a little charred here and there.
I added some lettuce, onion, cucumber and tomatoes to my meal, along with some of my No fuss Naan which I rolled into a thinner circle (rather than a fatter tear drop shape) before cooking in the same way, to mop up the lovely dhal.
The meal serves 6-8.
We’d love to see what you do with yours!