Aloo Bhaji and Puris / Spiced Potatoes with Fried Indian Bread
Nish: Mama, whatcha doin?
Me: I’m making Puris for you, baby.
Nish: Poowwis? Why?
Me: Because, Puris are your favorite.
Nish: Mama, you making Poowwis with Macaroni and Cheese?
Me: Yes, I am.
Nish: Thaaeenks Mama, Macaroni aaend Cheese poowwis are my favorite!
What can I say? The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree? Like his Dad, Nish, will eat anything when he’s assured, what’s in it, is what he likes. Truth be told, my droll little man, likes Puris more than he does Mac and Cheese. But, prefers to believe other wise. Idlis, dosas, rotis are all his favorite when he is guaranteed, they are made form Mac and Cheese :). Oh, bless!!.
Puri and Bhaji is to India, what Mac and Cheese is to America. A child’s delight and an adult’s I-Dont-Care-If-I-Die-Young food. Interestingly, in spite of all the diversity in the Indian sub continent, this combination of food is similar and popular through out the country.
For the Puri
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp of salt
refined oil for deep frying
For the Bhaji
4 medium sized Potatoes peeled and diced into chunks
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
2-3 Green chilies chopped
1 med sized onion chopped
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp cumin seeds (optional)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
pinch of asafoetida
1/2 tsp bengal gram/channa dal
3-4 tbsp curd or 2 tsp lemon juice
salt to taste
2 tbsp cilantro chopped
1 sprig curry leaves (optional)
2 tbsp refined oil
For the Puri
Mix dough, salt and water, and knead well to make a smooth and firm dough
Cover with a damp cloth and let it rest for 30 – 45 minutes.
Take a tablespoon of dough (I prefer making small Puris) each time, mold it into a smooth ball and then roll it out into thin neat circles. Sprinkle flour or oil if the dough sticks while rolling it out.
Heat oil in a deep frying pan. To test the temperature, drop a pinch of dough into the oil, if the temperature is right if it rises up immediately. If it stays sunk below let the oil heat for some more time.
Drop in one rolled out circle of dough at each time. When the edges begin to fluff up, gently press the Puri down at the center into the oil with a skimmer, this makes it fluff up into a nice ball. Turn over. When the Puri acquires a very slight tinge of brown, remove and place on paper towels to blot out the excess oil
Serve hot with Chole or Aloo Bhaji
For the Aloo Bhaji
Heat oil in a pan.
Add asafoetida, cumin, mustard, channa dal and curry leaves.
When the mustard pops and the dal turns slightly brown, add onions and sauté until they are translucent and tender.
Add ginger garlic paste and sauté for another minute.
Add the potatoes, salt, turmeric, sauté for a minute or two.
Reduce the flame to medium low, close the pan and let the potatoes cook. Add water if needed for the cooking.
When the potatoes are cooked add curd (or lemon juice) and mix well for a minute or two.
Transfer to bowl, garnish with chopped cilantro.
Serve hot with Puris.