Poori's (fried Indian bread)

February 27, 2014

Poori's are my favorite part of eating Indian food. They are a rare item at Indian restaurants, but at Mom's, we always ask her to make extra when she's making us an Indian food feast. They're light and airy and make the perfect vehicle for getting all that delicious food into your mouth. The "proper" way to eat them, is to fill the poori with a little of each item, wrap it up and eat it (like you would with a tortilla).  They taste very much like a whole wheat tortilla, but 1000 times better! It's always better to have extra, because then you warm it in the microwave and sprinkle a little bit of sugar and roll it up like a cigar and eat it, oh my goodness they are SOOOOOO good that way!

Tradition has always been in my family that when one of us brought a date home, that they would have to roll and fry a poori. It was quite the daunting task for those poor individuals. Nether the less, they all did and made it through!

The dough is fairly simple. It's an equal blend of fine whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour and a pinch of salt.

Add about 1/4 cup of shortening.

Cut the shortening into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or 2 knives (or your fingers!).

Until you have little beads the size of peas.

Next, we're going to add water. The amount usually varies and believe it or not depends on the weather. If its really dry out, you may need more water, if its really humid, then maybe less. That makes it sound complicated, but its really not. 

Start with a half a cup, start mixing and continue adding until a soft dough forms.

Like this! The consistency you are looking for is a non-sticky bread dough or a flour tortilla dough. It needs to be pliable so you can kneed it for 5 minutes.

Once you've kneaded the dough for 5 grueling minutes, set it in the bowl.

Cover it with a clean, dry towel and let it sit in a dry place (on the kitchen counter is fine) for at least 30 minutes.

This is when the help comes in handy. Pull off 1 1/2" balls and using both hands pressed together, roll smooth rounded balls out. 

Place the balls back into a covered bowl until your ready to roll them out. The more hands you have to help, the faster this goes!

Pull out some baking sheets. On a smooth, dry surface, using a rolling pin, roll each ball out to about 1/16" of an inch thickness. The way I gauge it is, by just being able to see the counter under the dough. It should be about the same thickness as a tortilla would be.

Place each rolled out poori, slightly overlapping each other onto baking sheets and cover with towels until your ready to fry them.

When you're ready to fry, which should be after all your dishes are completely cooked and are warming up. Heat some vegetable oil in a small wok like pan. The smaller the wok, the less oil you have to use, which is better. You want the oil to be between 350-375 degrees. If the poori doesn't immediately start frying then its not hot enough.

These only take a few seconds to fry, so its best to do them one at a time. Get a few large bowls ready, lined with paper towel. Carefully, drop the poori into the hot oil (dropping away from you so you don't get splashed).

The poori should sink for a second and immediately pop back up. Using a slotted spoon, lightly push the poori around in the oil.

As your pushing it around, you'll see it starting to puff up. 

Ahh I get excited every time they puff up!!! Once its puffed, which is literally just a few seconds, carefully flip it over to cook the other side.

Check it out!!! The second side is just a few seconds, remove it with the slotted spoon and set it into the paper towel lined bowl to drain the excess oil off.

And here they are! Its hard to resist snacking on one as your frying, so why not, you're doing manual labor, you deserve one!

Once you've made these and had them with Ma's Chicken Curry and Curried Vegetables, you'll be making them every time, they're addicting.




Prep Time: 5 Minutes  Cook Time: 30 Minutes Difficulty: Medium Servings: 35 Poori's


  • 1 cup fine whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • pinch of salt
  • approximately 1 cup water
  • vegetable oil for frying


Combine both flours and salt. Cut in shortening and blend to the size of small beads or peas.

Gradually add water, starting with 1/2 cup until soft, non-sticky dough forms.

Knead dough for 5 minutes, then let sit in a covered bowl for at least 30 minutes.

Using both hands pressed together, form 1 1/2" smooth, rounded balls. Place back in covered bowl, until ready to roll out.

Using a rolling pin and a flat, smooth surface, roll each ball out into a flat circle with an approximate 1/16" thickness (like a flour tortilla). Place slightly overlapped onto a baking sheet and cover with towels until ready to fry.

Heat vegetable oil in small wok to 350-375 degrees(f).

Carefully, drop poori, facing away from you, into hot oil. Using a slotted spoon, lightly push poori around in the oil as it begins to puff up.

Flip over and cook just a few seconds more. Drain from oil and set in paper towel lined bowls, lining in between layers to drain excess oil.

Serve with Ma's Chicken Curry, Curried Vegetables, Rice, Raita and Tomato Chutney.

All of these recipes and more can be found in Shonal's Kitchen, the Eclectic Home Chef.

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