What are Puris?

Puris is an unleavened bread native to Pakistan.

Puris are Indian unleavened breads, traditionally fried in oil. They are usually served immediately after being cooked, while they are still hot and crispy; puris are usually served in a heap on a plate located in the middle of the table, allowing diners to help themselves. This bread is native to northern India and Pakistan, where it is quite common, and Indian restaurants offering food from these regions often have puris on their menu; a common alternative spelling is “poori”.

Wheat flour is commonly used to make puris.

Like other Indian flatbreads, the dough for puris is extremely simple and very easy to assemble. Traditional doughs are made with whole wheat flour, salt, a little oil and enough water to hold the dough together. Puris seasoned with various spices are also not uncommon; ajwan seeds, cayenne pepper, and cumin are common spices used to flavor puris.

Whole wheat flour can be used to make puris.

Once the dough is together, it is kneaded briefly and then left to rest, covered. Then pieces of dough are taken out and rolled into rounds. The dough rounds are fried. As the dough fries, it fills with air; an ideal puri looks like a flying saucer, although puris can also be simply sparkling in some cases. If the puri cools, air will escape and the puri will collapse, so most people try to eat their puri while the buns are still puffy.

Traditional puris are quite small, designed to be used as shells for curries and other dishes. A variant of the puri, the batura, is extremely large and can be used more like a wrap. In either case, the texture of the bread ranges from crunchy to crunchy, and the flavor can be mild or quite spicy, depending on what spices are added to the puris, if any.

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The traditional flour used to make puris is atta, which is made from durum wheat. It is also possible to use white flour or flours from other grains, along with flour mixtures. The dough can be kept refrigerated for several days, for cooks who prefer to make a large batch. As puris use the same basic ingredients as many Indian breads, the dough can also be used in many different ways; for example, larger pieces of dough can be rolled out and stuffed to make parathas.

Because puris are deep-fried, they can harbor pockets of oil and very hot air. Caution is advised when ingesting them, to avoid burning the face and mouth. One way to prevent burns is to tear a puri in half before using it to scoop up food, allowing the puri to release hot air so it doesn’t burn you.

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