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Mum's Classic Pooris

Updated: May 20, 2020

I started this food blog to learn, share and document my mum's recipes, memories and bits of our Indian-Fijian culture for myself and future generations. Aside from that, I wanted to showcase our food which is simple, nutritious, delicious and was the basic sustenance for our sugarcane farming community. However, in light of today's crisis, it seems a bit insensitive to talk about food when so many people are struggling with food insecurity, unemployment, lack of access to proper foods and many other uncertainties. On the other hand, food, memories, culture and kinship are what holds the fabric of society together. That is what is common among us all and what connects us. After starting this blog, I am realizing more than ever how connected we are and that perhaps food can be the bridge to understanding/helping someone who appears slightly different from us. Recently, I discovered this hashtag #foodpeoplearethebestpeople. While I did not create this, when I searched for this phrase for one of my social media posts, I was delighted to discover that it already existed and that other people thought similarly. Food people really are the best people. Food is the basic common ground we all have and our love and need for food will always connect us no matter where we are in the world. I honestly believe that if you love food and feeding people, you cannot hate people. So perhaps, now more than ever, we need to talk about food, feeding each other and all the things that connect us as humans. Thus, I will keep on blogging.

Today's recipe is a relatively simple flatbread recipe. Flatbreads are such a common food item in all cultures that it seems fitting to write about it in this post. I am writing about classic pooris today. It is another one of our puffy flatbreads. So poori much like our rotis is a puffed flatbread which seems like an oxymoron. Puffed flatbread. Oxymoron, right? But that is exactly what it is. Both pooris and rotis have to be puffed during cooking and they sort of deflate afterwards so we eat them as flatbreads. They do not require yeast for puffing which I think is extremely useful in today's world where yeast is a highly sought-after commodity. No really. The regular grocery stores here are out of yeast. My parents finally found some yeast in the Indian grocery store last week (I like to bake). They were limiting purchases of it on top of that so my parents were only able to get three small packets of yeast (individual packets). Anyways, pooris and rotis form air pockets naturally during the cooking process. I don’t know the science behind this. I intend to find out! Or if someone knows, please let me know!

Pooris usually get made for special meals or special events such as weddings and there are some must-have curries that go with it such as aloo mattar, pumpkin and jackfruit. It also goes quite well with meat curries. As I mentioned in my roti post, ladies tend to bring their chowki and belna to the hosts house and all sit together and roll out hundreds of pooris for whatever special event is being hosted. Men and children also help! The men typically help with frying and the children are recruited as poori transferers. So they transfer trays of rolled out pooris to the head fryer. It is always great fun!

Poori dough is similar to roti dough. All you need for this recipe is some AP flour, boiled water and oil for frying. Once dough is done, you can portion out the dough and make "lois" or small rounded dough balls. So roll out small logs of dough and then portion out smaller pieces for dough balls. Mum likes to use a knife to cut off of pieces of dough.

Then each loi gets rolled out into small pooris. Pooris are smaller than rotis.