mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!

Poori Bhaji

In Bread, Potatoes on August 10, 2007 at 11:19 pm

poori bhaji

The celebration was quite incomplete yesterday. A party without food?!

Today I share with you my recipe for poori-bhaji. I am going to go ahead and declare this a national favourite, with every family having their own take on the batata bhaji that must accompany crispy pooris. In Uttar Pradesh though, poories are sometimes served with pumpkin bhaji that is redolent with ginger; and a fantastic combination that is too.

TH’s family version combined poories with a dry potato subzi. But that was before he got married!

I had worked on my aloo ki subzi for a while by then, and I and my sisters agreed that we had hit the jackpot. It is mightily inspired by the subzi served with poories at all railway stations in India. Affectionately, we also refer to it as station-bhaji. The poori-stall chap keeps a ready stack of boiled potatoes that are transformed quickly into fresh bhaji as sales start to peak around lunch and dinner times.

The bhaji is simplicity itself (I know, I say that all the time around here! What can I say – I like simple. :D ). No onions, garlic, ginger, or tomatoes. It uses the most common spice – coriander powder, which is also amongst the cheapest, and is seasoned with just salt and green chillies. The watery gravy gradually thickens as you mash the bigger potato chunks into it as you go about consuming it. I use loads of green chillies and give them a squeeze as I eat; it releases its wonderful flavour into the gravy. The green coriander leaves are more than a garnish here; they are another layer of flavour. Use lots.

It may not look as glamorous as the dry subzi but do try it once, if only in the memory of your train journeys across this wonderful land of ours. You’ll be surprised.

poori bhaji

Aloo ki Subzi aka Station-bhaji
Potatoes in a thin gravy
(serves 4)

6 medium size potatoes, boiled and peeled
1/4 t hing (optional)
1 t cumin seeds
1 T coriander powder
1 t turmeric
a handful of medium-hot green chillies, broken into two
3/4 C coriander leaves (cilantro)
salt
2 t peanut oil
2-3 C water

Crumble the potatoes by hand such that you have small as well as big chunks and some mashed bits. Heat oil in a karahi or pan. Add cumin seeds and let them sizzle for a few seconds. Add the hing followed by the coriander powder and the turmeric. Give a quick stir and add the water. Do not let the the coriander brown. Add potatoes and salt. When everything starts to boil drop in the broken green chillies, as many as you like. Let boil gently (covered) for 10-15 min. Check if you need more water or if you need to smoosh the potatoes a bit to thicken the gravy. Stir in the coriander leaves and serve.

poori

Poori
(serves 4)

3 C atta (Indian roti flour)
2-3 t oil
1/3 t salt water to knead
oil for frying

Use water, as needed, to make a medium-stiff dough (stiffer than for roti), the idea being that you should be able to roll the poories without needed to dust with flour (which would come off in the oil, burn, and cover all the poories with specks of black – you don’t want that). Let rest for 10-15 min. Knead for a couple of minutes till smooth.

Heat oil in a karahi. Don’t fill too much; around a cup and a half should be enough.

Pinch off walnut-size balls of dough and roll them between the palms of your hands to almost perfect spheres. Flatten and touch with a little oil before placing on the rolling surface. Roll into a 3 inch circle (just slightly thicker than tortillas), following the roll-lift-turn-roll rhythm.

Lift the poori and gently slide it into the hot oil. I find sliding it into the oil along the edge of the karahi prevents splashing. The oil needs to be hot or the poories won’t puff. If it browns in less than 50-60 seconds then the oil is too hot (you can check by pinching off a tiny ball of dough, flattening it, and dropping it into the oil – it should sizzle and rise to the top but not darken).

The poori will rise to the top. Gently press down with a slotted spoon, or use it to splash (gently) the surface of the poori with hot oil. The poori will puff up. Flip it once it is a golden to medium brown. As you wait for it to brown on the other side (this is the thicker side) roll the next poori. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Serve with aloo ki subzi, and Punjabi Pachranga-style mango or mixed vegetable pickle.

Some other versions of the popular poori-bhaji:
Mallugirl’s puri-bhaji (Malabar Spices)
Poori-bhaji at Nupur’s (One Hot Stove)

Variations:

  • Methi ki poori: chop methi (fenugreek) leaves very fine in a food processor and mix into the flour before kneading. Makes absolutely amazing poories fragrant with the aroma of methi.
  • Palak ki poori: puree cooked spinach and use to knead the dough for the poories. Delectable green poories.
  • Mix a tablespoon of the masala from a Punjab-style mango pickle into the aloo ki subzi! ;-)

Avoid using the same oil repeatedly for frying. Use oil leftover from the frying in your regular daily cooking: to fry paranthas, or in a subzi.

And before we conclude the festivities, there are a couple of awards to be celebrated as well! Meeta (What’s For Lunch Honey), whose pictures are as amazing as her blog is inspiring, has sent two awards my way, and her timing is impeccable – AMTP’s birthday week! Thank you, Meeta, for the honour! Just a year ago I gingerly tested the waters, and what a wonderful trip it has been. I have made new friends along the way and (virtually) met many interesting people. It feels very good to be part of this happy community.

I have to admit that the comments have been a much loved section on A Mad Tea Party; and not just by me. Quite a few of you wrote in to say how much you enjoy the interaction. These awards are for you too – those of you who read, and those of you who comment as well.

thoughfulbloggerawardThe Thoughtful Blogger Award is for “those who answer blog comments, emails, and make their visitors feel at home on their blogs. For the people who take others’ feelings into consideration before speaking out and who are kind and courteous. Also for those bloggers who spend so much of their time helping other bloggers design, improve, and fix their sites. This award is for those generous bloggers who think of others.”

schmooze The Power of Schmooze Award is for bloggers who “effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogosphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don’t limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello – all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship.”

I’d like to pass these on to:

Pel (Elaichi et Cetera)
Musical (Musical’s Kitchen)
Indosungod (Daily Musings)
Sig (Live to Eat)
Nupur (One Hot Stove)

Thanks for keeping the Party rocking!

Tags: poori, poori-bhaji, potatoes, aloo ki subzi, North Indian food

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  1. [...] me? I can’t leave you without a recipe just right for a party with old friends! Come, have some poori-bhaji – A Mad Tea Party is one year [...]

  2. Me? Before the Bee?

    Looks yum! I think I have to fry me some puris this weekend!

    Of course, you do. (surely, you’ll make this? ;-) ) But only after you’ve made the French Onion Soup!!

  3. Hey Anita,

    Now i know what am i making for my b’fast (or brunch!) tomorrow :-D. Congratulations on the really well deserved awards!! This dish is perfect for the B’day and award celebrations :-D (with some chai and nimbu paaani!)

    and thanks for the shout out (blush…..)-it truly means a lot!

    (goes back to ogle, drool and go crazy over that poori-bhaaji!)

    Flour Power – as Nupur said in her poori post! We should all have a poori-bhaji brunch this Sunday!

  4. Station bhaji looks yummy we add lil besan flour mixed in water to thicken the gravy. Beautiful pics! and congratulations on the deserving awds

  5. I saw this recipe in a cookbook,Railway Aloos. Sounds like Mangalorean Potato song! I add a little ginger and yogurt.
    I love the photo,looks delicious with Pooris, my personal favorite.
    Congratulations on the awards,I got those too!:D

  6. wow awsome bhaji…. i put mint insted of dhania… and thats amazing too… pooris look yummylicious too… congrats for the awards… you so deserve them!!!

  7. I almost made FOS last night but at 8:30pm, that’s too logn a wait for dinner! So finished all possible leftovers instead!

  8. Oh my god that reminds me of my childhood – look soooooooooooo good!!!!

    Make sure your kids (if you have them…!) get similar memories! ;-)

  9. now i really wanna make pooris. have not made them yet. are you ssure you didn’t have a station stall at some point? that bhaji looks very authentic.

    I probably should – there will be some money to be made then!

  10. Poori-bhaaji …so simple and yet so delicious! Isn’t it strange how a simple bhaaji made with just 1-2 ingredients turns out so flavorful…loved the station bhaaji :)

  11. Oh yes, and how did i forget about my favorite khatte kaddu (pumpkin) and poori, slurp :-D i see a mention in your post and i did not write about it in my comment, not fair to the kaddus :-D

    You are truly amazing – you’ve had ‘em all!

    I made it will aloo poori once, very very yummy. But the guilt factor really got me that time – those poories really suck up the oil!

  12. Anita, you richly deserve those awards. I absolutely feel comfortable and I am sure so many others as well that we have to catch ourselves from writing pages as comments. Would like you to know that I absolutely appreciate that and thanks for award and coming from you means a whole lot.

    Poori Bhaaji well hereafter it will be called National favorite, well the people who ply their trade in the railway station have known it for a long time its time we give it its due credit.

    The space is free – go ahead, have your say. How else would the Party go on?!

  13. great that u got the awards! my bhaji is similar to urs but has the mallu touch of mustard and curry leaves! two things i too do..add pickle to the puri plate and squiah the green chilies as i eat. lets get together for a puri meal.

    So it is done, tomorrow is declared a poori-bhaji day at everyone’s place!!

    Spread the word people – and leave a comment here all those who join in the Party!

  14. Love the simplicity of the bhaji…. we prepare is exactly the same way! No extra flavouring….. just the corriander-jeera powder and green chilies. :)

    Congratulations on the awards, you truely deserve them and on completing one as well. :)

  15. Congratulations Anita. The poori bhaji is looking lovely.

  16. Hey! Anita, visiting your blog is such an enlightening, stimulating and refreshing thing for me- a near-daily ritual with my coffee or tea that I zealously look forward to! If not for your informative posts, then for the mad commentary from some of your more-colourful patrons… :-D

    Congratulations on these awards, and thank you for the mention. :-)

    Now…formalities finished, let’s get to the nitty-gritty! Your pooris and potato stuff :-D looks way good, and what a decent, healthier-than-french-fry-way to get a potato-fix! I can absolutely see why this would be a popular train-stop vendor dish, along with those southern Maddur vadas- ever try them? Totally addictive too!

    You’ve forgotten another dish that goes great with pooris: SHRIKHAND!!! Oh lordy… now I’m thinking about it… :-(

  17. Happy Blog Bday to you, dear!! I didn’t check the blogworld yesterday and I missed your fantastic post! I read some new research somewhere which said stick to food traditionally cooked in your family – what our mothers and grandmothers had, it is the healthiest! and I think it’s the best. I come from a family of rice eaters and nobody is obese. And being a Mallu coconut oil has a place of prime importance in our cuisine. Yet no one in my entire extended family has ever had a bad heart :) I fainted when I saw the ghee and butter going into a single parantha at my hubby’s place. After which self respecting Punjabi would have any less than that! :) While it took time adjusting to all that, our home cooked food does not have litres of grease and unwanted masalas like restaurant food! All our extra ounces of fat have come from burgers, pizzas and french fries :) Like my MIL said when I told her we had burgers for dinner, “Woh to bread khaya, roti kahan kahayi”!!
    Congrats for the awards, you truly deserve them! And now I can view flickr pictures thanks to some add-ons a certain sweetie suggested. :)

  18. Anita….At our place, Sundays are always dedicated to Pooris….all four days with different side dishes….but feels good that everybody wants to join on this..great looking pooris and bajji…

    Srivalli
    http://www.cooking4allseasons.blogspot.com

  19. That looks yummy. It will be on deck for next week. Simple and satisfying it looks like. I make something called railway potatos that has a tamarind base, and is delish. I’m always happy to find another potato recipe though!

  20. Anita, many congratulations on the absolutely well earned awards…..you’ve inspired many people to the blogsophere and you cant imagine what a part of my virtual life you occupy……cheers and keep the mad tea party rocking!!

  21. He he, oh! the story on khatte-kaddu :-D. Remember, we Punjus make halwa-kaddu’s bharta with lil’ sugar ;) so once i had this khatte kaddu with poori somewhere, and depite not being a huge fan of kaddus, LOVED it! so, everyone got the clue and it became a favorite at home :-D

  22. [...] made poori-bhaji before but would like to join in the party?  Here’s  the simplest of recipes to get you started!  There are suggestions for variations [...]

  23. OK, fantastic and simple recipes there! Will make this tonight for a couple of close friends coming home-my first time ever making pooris from scratch, you remember you had told me once that you’ll teach me? and i’ve been waiting…finally your recipe is out!

    Great idea to celebrate poori-bhaji day – who knows this might become one of the V-day, friendship-kinda thing and all starting at the mad tea party!

  24. A doubt- the 2-3 T oil in the poori recipe, where do you add that? While kneading the dough?

    Yes, mix all the ingredients together (including the oil) to make the dough. Good luck!

  25. Hey Anita,

    Loved to visit ur blog nice presentation.. nice recipe of puri baaji my fav… thnx

    sushma

  26. Hey Anita,

    Had visited your site earlier… but writing in for the 1st time today after reading the poori-bhaji recipe. Reminds me of all those picnic days in school when mom would pack a lunch of yummy poori-bhaji. The bhaji would be sukha though with sliced onions, and ginger garlic paste with a tadka of mustard seeds and green chillies and tasted yummy.

    I try to make it once a week for my 4 year old son who has just recently started eating his meals on his own and he too loves it!

    However, while we Maharashtrians treat it as lunch and on special festive occasions it is accompanied with masala bhaat, raita, buttermilk and srikhand or basundi as a sweet dish i have seen North Indians treating pooris as a breakfast item served with different types of subzi.

    Will keep in touch…

    Seema

    Hi Seema – good to see you delurk! Poori and shrikhand is another super combo!

  27. I left so many messages on your blog over the weekend, none of which found their way to your post!!

    Have tried making pooris once in my life… turned out a disaster :-) in a way.

    Have made biscuit rotis… the closest I have ever come to pooris :-) But I am thinking… should I try :-) Maybe I should.

    Nothing in the spam folder either…
    Yes, you should!

  28. Awww….thank your for the awards :) They mean a lot coming from you!
    That looks like the most delicious meal….

    And, you are going to be doing some frying this week, right? :-D

  29. Hi there, I like your blog! Nice recipe your poori picture looks yummy :) Feel free to visit my blog too :)

    Click here for jeenas food recipe blog :-)

  30. Happy Blog Birthday! You deserve each one of them Anita! It’s been such a wonderful pleasure getting to know you and reading your posts. I hope we can continue our friendship for a long time to come. Hugs!

    Thanks, Meeta. And, yes,I hope so too!

  31. Hey you really make me wanna eat Poori Bhaji, which I dread to eat, coz I already have no need for the extra calories (blv me none at all). Its been ages I had some…n if I go home n tell my MIL of my secret desire, she sure would present me with a very, very non-resistable plate of the same. As you have said some people make Pumpkin bhaji, my MIL makes the same, & blv me when I say the bhaji she makes is absolutely out of the world, with the khatta-meetha-mirchi taste just blending amazingly with the Poori. I already have my mouth full of water;-)

    If you wish I will put the recipe for the Bhaji on my Blog.

  32. Stumbled upon your blog today from Mahanandi. I’m also a food (and other things) blogger from Delhi – yuppieland gurgaon, to be exact, and really enjoyed reading your entries.

    I had an amazing aloo sabzi from UP a while back and had to reinvent it for myself. Basically uses the standard tomato, onion, garlic, giner, cumin seeds, dhania powder but adds thinned and beaten dahi and chilli powder to the mix, instead of green chillies and water. Tastes sour-salty and spicy – fabulous with ouris or even rice.

  33. The other thing we often have in summer with poories or even rotis is mango sreekarane – the recipe’s up on my blog. Amazing combo.

  34. I somehow missed this post with all those puris floating around in the blogosphere lately (well, whose fault is that :D)…. Congrats on your awards Anita, if anybody deserves those, its you… :) Thanks for mine too … <blushing..>

  35. [...] and Hyderabadi Qabooli After the poori-madness I was sure I wanted to do an obviously healthful recipe (read – low fat) to restore some [...]

  36. what an amazing site :)

    thanks a lot 4 sharing your recipes

    I dont have that ata :(

    can I replace it or it wont work ??

    thank u

    Atta is fine-ground wholewheat flour – use a wholewheat flour that you can get locally.

  37. [...] to Richa, Cynthia, Pravs and Anita for the Power of Schmooze Award. This award is for bloggers who “effortlessly [...]

  38. [...] thing we did was eat breakfast. After the lady of the house, a hotel, came and gave us a plate of poori and halwa and some chick pea thing I don’t remember the name of. It was part of a Hindu [...]

  39. I just made pooris and station bhaji! I want to reach all the way across cyberspace and give you a great big hug….I almost have tears in my eyes with the first taste of station bhaji on my tongue :) …thanks so much for the recipe anita!

    That good?! :D You are very welcome!

  40. [...] year we had a table loaded with poori-bhaji.  And this year by popular choice (and because Bee loves them so…), I have decided the time [...]

  41. Hi,
    This Batata Bhaji is the most delicious potato bhaji I have ever made.Thanks for the recepie.Its a simple recepie but its tasts great.

    Thanks
    Rajashree

  42. Enjoyed reading your post a lot, reminded me of my visit to Manipal 15 yrs ago. I just ABSOLUTELY LOVE the thali there, those green veges they have there is a whole new reason to live. Just thinking of it makes me sooo happy, i am blessed to have had that at least a few times….thanks for putting a picture of it so i can at least see it.

    Amarpreet

  43. hi
    i like indian food

  44. [...] was wir machten war frühstücken. Nachher gab uns die Dame des Hauses einen Teller mit Poori und Halwa und so komischen Kichererbsen, deren Name mir nicht mehr einfällt. Es war Teil eines [...]

  45. [...] don’t need an excuse to throw a party.  But, an idea, a theme is fun.  In fact, that is how the Party started; we got talking on healthy eating and before you could say ‘no-fat’, we were frying!  [...]

  46. [...] green chilli pickle and gooseberry pickle, all served with the usual nans, popadoms, parathas and puris, of course.” “Sounds—” “The salads! Mango curd salad and okra curd salad and plain fresh [...]

  47. Oh! How I used to love this station-bhaji! My Ma also manages to bring the exact taste at home :)….Thanks for posting this! I just became a follower of your blog :)

    Thanks, Titun. It is the best combination with poori!

  48. Oh my GOD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! this is the best aloo bhaji recipe I have ever come across, I found your blog by accident and I’m so glad I did, I love love love love all your recipes………………. my 2 year old and I sat licking our fingers ……………….. I had to remind myself to stop eating since I didn’t want hubby dear to go hungry :) Thank you for your mouth watering recipes :)

    I am so happy to hear that, Nitasha! Thank you for joining the party!

  49. Hi Anita, m a big fan of ur blog.let’s jus say when it comes to food blogs,your’s is my 1st love. I started following this blog when i was pregnant with my son n was perpetually hungry…in 2009. One of my frnd in US was craving ”kanya bhojan” waali poori- sabji n i posted this link in a closed group…lets jus say it was “mad”ness aftr tht….those who were planning chhole fr diwali dinner, ALL switched ovr to aloo…they are callng it Poori bhaji viral…

    :-) Thanks for reading, Yamini, and spreading the word! Now I know the reason for the spike in the poori-bhaaji post! I made it again last month on Ram Navmi!

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