Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Poori and Paan

  "Once upon a time, there was little Dora and Boots...."!  Sorry, I am not writing any kids story today!  My younger daughter says this and I keep asking her to repeat, since it sounds so sweet and so yummy to my ears, the way she says!! She says that and look at me shyly and smiles!  So it's been ringing in my ears all the time and when I started to write the blog, I just automatically typed "once upon a time......."!

 Today I am going to share the recipe of "poori", a dish, until now, I have not heard from anybody that they don't like Poori!  Everybody loves poori, and even kids, no matter they may be a picky eater, but still they will like poori.  I guess, it's deep fried and it's not hard, like chapathi nor too soft like dosa, thats why everybody likes it so much!

  I would also like to write about "Paan" or in kannada we call it as "Beeda", which I am sure only Indians will be familiar with.  It's made of betel leaves, which I guess is not grown here, in USA.  In India you can see those leaves in everybody's house. My mom's and my mother-in-law has the betel leaves plant, well it's actually a creeper, which also looks decorative.  The betel leaf has a unique taste, of bitterness and hot!

  The paan is made of betel leaf and betel nut, together with aromatic spices and herbs.  Usually "paan" is made with two betel leaves, washing it and trimming the edges and put the leaf together, on one top and  then apply the mineral slaked lime paste to the leaf.  The lime paste should be applied a little bit, else you will feel that your tongue is burnt!

  Then you put betel nut, which has combination of many things, like  crystal sugar,dry coconut,powdered cardamom,nutmeg all mixed together with the betel nut.  It depends on individual taste as to how much you put the betel nut, you can put a small spoon of betel nut. And then you fold all the sides and put a clove to hold the folded leaf together and chew it and enjoy!  This is the simplest paan, which you can make anytime. But there are many types of paan, where many ingredients are used, like you can use "gulkand" which is made of rose flower petals, which has a nice flavour and aroma.  It can be used if you like the paan to be sweet, the gulkand is sweet which is made of rose petals and sugar.  There are many types of paan, khatta, meeta, banarasi, calcutta!

  After lunch or dinner on special occasions, like festivals or marriages, where it would be a heavy meal, it's a custom to eat the paan, which helps in digestion.  Also traditionally, in India,  a wife makes a paan every night after the dinner and both husband and wife eat the paan.

  So in many parts of India guys until marriage don't eat the paan!  When you eat paan, your mouth becomes red, because of the lime paste and the colour of the teeth also changes.  In India you can get the paan, almost on every corner of the street.  Here in USA, you can get the betel leaf in Indian grocery store, for 5 leaves its 1 dollar.  Also you would need lime paste,betel nuts,gulkand(Optional,but recommended) and you can make paan at home, on special occasions, which your family and friends would have missed out here, in USA!

  I had made paan, when my sister-in-law and her husband had visited us.  So enjoy the poori, chutney or saagu and then have a paan, relax watching a movie with your family or friends!  Well, a small tip, do not forget to brush your teeth and rinse your mouth before you go out, else your neighbour would be scared to see you and might ask, "Oh! Are you ok, why your mouth is red, I guess you need to go to the ER"!

  Here goes the recipe of Poori!


2 cups of Wheat flours
Salt to taste
1-2 Tsp oil
Oil for deep frying


  In a large bowl add wheat flour,salt, one or two tsp of oil and mix together.  Then add little by little water and make a smooth dough and knead well for 15-20 mins and cover it with a wet cloth and keep aside at least for half an hour.  By doing this the dough will be soft and pooris comes out crisp and puffy.

  Divide the dough into lemon sized balls and roll it with the rolling pin roll to circular shape. Heat the oil for frying.  Make sure that oil is hot and deep fry the poori until golden color and puffy.

 Serve hot with coconut chutney or onion-potato saagu or just potato curry and enjoy!

Note:  You can get the coconut chutney recipe under the chuntey label and onion-potato saagu under saagu/dhal/curries label.

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