Indian Crisp Breads with Nigella Seeds

Now, I’ll confess these were not intended to be how they turned out. I had intended to make pooris, which are delicious deep fried Indian breads which puff out into amazing little balloons when dropped into oil. Now I’ve made them before and they worked a treat, but for whatever reason, tonight they were not meant to be. Instead they resembled popadoms. The taste is all there and the texture is actually very good but pooris they aren’t. It’s a happy mistake so that’s why I included them in the blog. I’m sure some Indian readers will be up in arms as to my failure. If anyone can enlighten me as to what may have gone wrong then please do tell. But for now, you may all enjoy my little crisp breads.

1 cup plain flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 tablespoon melted vegetable oil
1 teaspoon nigella seeds (optional)
Vegetable oil (for deep frying)

Sieve the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and nigella seeds (if using) and combine with your hands. Make a well in the centre then pour in 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon of warm water. Combine the mixture together until you have a large ball of dough. Add more flour if too sticky and more water (a little at a time) if too dry. Cover with plastic wrap and leave for 20 minutes at room temperature.

Take a ball of the dough (about the size of a ping-pong ball) and uning your hands, flatten out to a disc about 5cm. With a rolling pin, roll on one side only to a disc of 10cm. Repeat with the remaining dough, stacking the discs with greaseproof paper between each.

Heat about 7cm of vegetable oil in a wok or saucepan until hot. Drop one of the pooris into the oil and flick hot oil over the top. The poori will puff up immediately – cook for 30 seconds then turn over and cook for a further 30 seconds or until browned. Drain on paper towels while you make the rest. Serve immediately.

Serve with curries – I find dry curries are the best as you can scoop the contents into the poori – just like a large edible spoon!

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