After a little hiatus from my personal baking challenge, baking my way through “A Baker’s Odyssey” by Greg Patent,  I am continuing with a savoury recipe.  I haven’t stopped baking, cooking and experimenting but haven’t had the time to find my way to tell you what I’ve been doing. I do wonder how many of you manage. Perhaps after this coming Tuesday I may be enlightened. I am thrilled to be attending a food writers workshop with Lorraine Elliott of Not Quite Nigella. Hopefully the result will speak for itself!

These delicious, if somewhat unusual flatbreads, are served with with main meals in India though they are a little on the sweet side. The filling is started the day before by soaking the yellow split peas which is use to fill the basic chapati dough.
Some of the ingredients may be difficult to find but there is usually a way around it. I was able to find Atta flour in my local supermarket but if you can’t simply substitute equal parts of whole wheat flour and unbleached all purpose flour. Ghee is just clarified butter so if you can’t find it clarifying butter is not difficult. Greg explains all these details in “A Baker’s Odyssey”. It is such a comprehensive collection of baking techniques. 
Now, onto the recipe. You’re going to want this recipe – it’s that good!
Puran Poori
Makes 16 flatbreads
Filling
3/4 cup yellow split peas
1/4 cup ghee
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon mace
pinch of ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads soaked in 2 teaspoons warm water
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
Dough
2 cups atta flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons tepid water, plus more if needed
Begin the day before.  Pick over the split peas and remove rocks or dirt bits.
In a medium bowl place the split peas and 4 cups of water. Let it stand at room temperature overnight. 
The next day, drain the split peas and put them into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process for 1 to 2 minutes, to a thick smooth puree. Scrape down as necessary.
Melt the ghee in a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add cardamom, nutmeg, mace and cloves. Stir once or twice then add split pea puree. Stir and cook for a minute or so. Add brown sugar. I also added a pinch of salt, though it’s not in the recipe. Cook and stir for a minute or two more. The puree will thin out a bit. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Refrigerate for an hour or so.

In the meantime, prepare the dough. Put the flour and salt into a bowl and add the oil. Using a fork stir to disperse the oil then work the mixture with you fingertips. It’s a bit like rubbing butter into flour for pastry and the result is similar.

Add 1/2 cup of the water and stir until the flour form s many largish lumps. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons water and stir well. The dough may not gather into a cohesive mass. To test if moist enough, press the dough with your hands – it should stick together, feel firm and not sticky. If needed work in water teaspoonful by teaspoonful  but not so much that the dough become wet or sticky.
 Turn the dough out onto and unfloured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic and rest at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.
  
Shaping the Puran Poori is fun. Don’t be intimidated! Let them know who is boss.
Divide the filling into 16 portions and shape each into a ball. Set them aside covered with plastic wrap.  Divide the  dough into 2 equal pieces. Roll each into  an 8 inch log. Cut the log into 1 inch pieces and roll them into balls. Set them aside covered with plastic wrap.
Put a ball of dough onto an unfloured surface and pat or roll into a 4 inch circle.
Put a portion of the filling in the centre and bring up the edges of the dough to cover the filling completely.

  Pleating the dough as you bring it up. Pinch the edges to seal well.
Turn the puran poori seam side down onto a lightly flour surface and roll it out gently to a 4 inch circle about 1/4 inch thick. Set the shaped bread onto a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap. Repeat with the remaining filling and dough.

 Melt half the ghee in a large frying pan or skillet. When the ghee is hot put in 4 to 6 puran  poori. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes. The bread may puff up during cooking. 

Turn the poori over with a large spatula and cook on the second side for 3 or 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper lined baking tray to cool. Continue cooking the remaining flatbread the same way. adding more ghee to the pan as necessary.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
We enjoyed them with a simple vegetable curry and the were a hit with the whole family. The slightly sweet, spicy taste complements the curry wonderfully.
I can’t wait to make them again!

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