Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Recipe of the month: Poori and Dum Aloo

During this Deepavali, I was wondering what special dish to prepare. I didn’t feel like making the usual pulav/biriyani so after some deliberation, I decided to go with poori. Poori is a type of deep fried Indian bread that pairs well with almost any kind of dal, subzi or curry. Some people even eat them along with certain traditional Indian sweets as a side dish. There must be very few people in this world who do not like pooris and it is the same in my family as well. Although I generally shy away from making pooris (to keep the waist-line in check!), I do make exceptions on festivals and celebratory occasions. My initial attempts at making pooris almost always used to end in disaster followed by frantic calls home but after a few sessions of consultations with my mum and MIL and several trials, I managed to perfect the ‘skill’ (touchwood!).

I decided to make my most favourite accompaniment to poori which is dum aloo. It beings back a lot of memories because my mum used to make palak poori and dum aloo on special occasions and the aroma that came wafting out of the kitchen was enough to get me and my siblings bolting downstairs for dinner! Although I tried my mum’s recipe in the past, I was not satisfied with the results because it didn’t quite taste like the one she used to make. I always felt something was missing. After that, each time, I would experiment with a different recipe with varying degrees of success.

The recipe I’m sharing with you today is adapted from Tarla Dalal's website. I tried it out after incorporating some minor changes of my own and the result was finger licking good! It had the vibrant color of sunset (yes I know I'm being dramatic!), great aroma and a perfect balance of tanginess, sweetness and spice. The recipe is pretty simple and straightforward. It doesn't call for onions so you can save some of those precious tears! The best part about this recipe however is deep frying the baby potatoes with the skin left on. In the past, all the recipes I had referred to gave instructions to peel the potatoes which can be really cumbersome especially with baby potatoes. It never occurred to me to leave the skins on (duh!). It reduced the preparation time by about 15 mins and the end result was well worth the time spent in the kitchen.  

I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it!  

Poori and Dum Aloo

Preparation Time: 45 mins to 1 hour
Recipe level: Intermediate
Serves: 4
Recipe Source:


For Poori:
2 cups wheat flour (I use Pillsburry chakki atta)
2 tbsp semolina (chiroti rava or fine rava) Optional but recommended
2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp caster sugar
1 cup water (approximately)
Oil for deep frying

For Dum Aloo:
12 to 15 baby potatoes
2 cups roughly chopped ripe tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic, minced 

25 mm. (1") piece of ginger, minced 

8 whole dry red chillies
 (I use a combination of guntur & byadgi chillies)
2 tbsp broken cashewnuts 

1 tsp cumin seeds 

1 tsp fennel seeds Important ingredient
2 1/2 cups water 

4 nos. cardamom pods, seeds crushed
1 tbsp roasted dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)

1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup fresh cream

1 tbsp chopped coriander 

Salt to taste
2 tsp ghee (clarified butter)
Oil for deep frying


For Poori:
1. In a bowl, add the wheat flour, semolina, salt, sugar and oil. Make a well in the middle and gradually add the water little by little kneading continuously to form a uniform dough. The poori dough should be firmer than chapathi/roti dough (if you make it too soft, they soak up lot of oil and if you make it too hard, you get broken sides).
2. After kneading, keep the dough aside for 10 mins. You can start making them immediately if you are pressed for time. Make lime sized balls and start rolling out the pooris. My trick during rolling is to smear a little oil on the rolling board. You may have to do this a few times between batches but trust me, it helps. I do not dust the pooris in flour while rolling. I roll them on the oiled board into a small circle of uniform thickness (not too thick - not too thin) and spread them out on a plate or a sheet of parchment paper. Do not stack the rolled out pooris on top of the other.
3. Heat oil in a pan/kadai. The oil should be the right temperature to get perfect pooris. Cut a tiny bit of the dough and put it in oil. If it raises to top immediately, your oil is ready and you can start frying your pooris. If smoke is coming out of oil, then that means it is too hot and not suitable for frying.
4. Gently drop the rolled out pooris (one by one) in the hot oil. They should fluff up if done properly. 
5. Give them a flip over and drain them on absorbent paper towels.

For Dum Aloo:
1. Wash and dry the baby potatoes. Pierce each potato all around with a fork and deep fry in hot oil, with the skin on, till the potatoes are cooked. Preferably the potatoes should all be of similar size so they cook uniformly. Drain on absorbent paper and keep aside.
2. Heat a little ghee in a skillet and fry the cumin seeds and fennel seeds until they begin to sizzle. At this point, your kitchen is filled with a wonderful liquorice-like aroma. Add in the cashewnuts and fry for a few minutes until golden. Now add in the garlic, ginger and dry red chillies and fry for a few minutes. Mix in the tomatoes and simmer over a medium flame till the tomatoes are cooked. Cool the mixture and purée in a blender to make a smooth paste.
3. Heat a butter along with a little oil in a pan, add the crushed cardamom and gravy paste and allow it to come to a boil. Simmer till the oil separates form the gravy. Add the fried potatoes, kasuri methi, honey and salt and simmer for some more time.
4. Add the cream and garnish with coriander leaves.
5. Serve hot with pooris and enjoy!

  • While making pooris, make sure the pooris turn a nice golden brown. This prevents them from collapsing faster.
  • If you roll out the pooris too thin, you might end up with minute holes which on frying, prevents the pooris from fluffing up
  • The fine semolina or chiroti rava makes the pooris slightly crisp. You can omit this if you don't have any.  
  • If you do not have baby potatoes, you can use regular potatoes too. Just wash and peel the potatoes, cut them into large chunks and proceed with the recipe. 
  • You can use the same oil that you use to fry the pooris to fry the potatoes. If you notice that the oil is smoking, as far as possible avoid re-using the same oil for subsequent frying.
  • If you have a wooden rolling board, cleaning it is a bit of a pain. Take some flour and dust the board before washing. This helps to remove some of the traces of oil. After that, wash 2-3 times with hot soapy water.
  • For the dum aloo, choose tomatoes that are ripe (bright red) otherwise the tomatoes may turn the gravy too sour. In case this happens, balance out the taste with cream and sugar/honey.



  1. Hi megs,
    tries this recipe today. came out very well. My hubby absolutely loved it.....


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