Puris or pooris always taste yummy! Give someone a choice between bread and puris, and most Indians will any-day pick puris. What are puris you ask? Puris are deep-fried Indian bread that are made using whole wheat flour without any leavening agent such as baking powder or yeast. Puris can be eaten for breakfast, or as a snack or meal. They’re most popularly eaten with batata bhaji which is a vegetable dish featuring potatoes or chole masala or chana masala which is a spicy curry type dish made with chickpeas. Puris are also eaten with the popular sweet dish made from hung curd that’s called shrikhand.
Puris are tasty, but not really healthy as foods go. So if you want to add in a touch of healthiness to your puris to make yourself feel a little better, do what my mom does for us. Add some crushed beetroot to the mixture. It’s also a good way to get the kids to eat beetroot if they don’t normally like them. My sis doesn’t like beetroots in salads or other dishes, but she’ll eat beetroot puris any day. So there’s a plus point! Oh, and another plus point; beetroots are inherently sweet, so the puris taste sweeter and kids love them.
What do you put in beetroot puris?
Well, beetroots of course. You just add them to the regular puri dough and work as you usually do. So the ingredients are:
250 grams wheat flour
2 beetroots – skinned, boiled and chopped into 1-inch squares
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oil
Optional – 1 teaspoon ajwain (ova or carom seeds)
250 ml oil for deep frying the puris
water – as needed
How to make beetroot puris?
Assuming you already know how to make pooris, here’s what to do to make our beetroot puris.
Wash and boil 2 beetroots for about 30 minutes or till they’re soft. Skin the beetroots and chop them roughly into 1-inch squares. Mash them with a potato masher or in the mixie and set aside. In the picture above, we’ve actually made a mash of 4 beetroots. We use half the beetroot mash for this poori recipe and the other half for the beetroot hummus that we make on the same day. If you want to do this too, here’s the link for how to make some homemade beetroot hummus.
In a thali (large flat pan), take about 250 grams of wheat flour, beetroot mash, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon oil and mix well together. Most likely, you won’t need to add any water, since the beetroot mash has enough of water content in it. But if you need to, add a few tablespoons of water at a time, and knead to form a stiff dough. Cover the dough with a wet cloth and set aside. if you can’t be bothered to massage the dough, and want an easy pour and fry bread recipe, try making some gluten-free East Indian chitaps.
Make 8 to 12 portions of the dough and roll into balls. The size of the balls can be small or big depending on whether you want big or small puris. Smaller puris look nice, but they take more of your precious time.
Now here’s a trick we learnt from Kanta, our aunt’s maid. Instead of rolling out small 4 or 5 inch sized puris, roll out a few large chappati sized puris. That’s about 7 or 8 inches in diametre. Once you’ve rolled it out, cut it into 4 or 6 pie-shaped quarters and fry them. Saves time, and makes the puris look different.
When you fry the beetroot puris in hot oil, they will puff up and fill with air. Turn them over for a few minutes and fry till slightly brown, or till the sides turn brown. Use a skimmer spoon to remove the pooris from the oil, so that the oil drains out. A skimmer spoon is a sieve-like spoon that’s used in cooking where you want to separate solids from the liquids. In India, we call the skimmer spoon a jhara.
Add the pooris to an insulated casserole and cover. You might want to line the casserole with kitchen towels aka tissue paper to absorb the excess oil before adding the puris here. And that’s it for your easy beetroot puris recipe! Your beetroot puris are ready to eat. Serve them with your favorite batata bhaji, or shrikhand, or cabbage veggies, or some yummy chicken curry. Pooris go well with some East Indian sorpotel too!
Other healthy variations of Indian puris
Palak Puris: Replace the beetroot in this recipe with about 200 grams of pureed palak.
Cabbage Puris: Replace the beetroot in this recipe with about 200 grams of minced cabbage.