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Balloon bread or Pooris

I wanted to make Pooris today. I meant to make them, but I wasn’t paying attention. Because of the humidity and insects here, we put all our dry staples in screw top jars as soon as the package is opened. I have more prudent friends who store things like flour in their 2nd refrigerator or who at least put those things in the deep freeze for a week or so to kill any insect eggs. My method is to not buy in bulk unless I can’t help it and to be vigilant about using up stuff. Since I can generally tell what is what just by looking at it, I don’t label the jars. Today it worked against me, or maybe I should say it made me invent a new recipe!
The pooris recipe calls for fine-ground semolina, which I remembered buying at Baraudi’s Middle eastern deli and import. I forgot that the last time I cleaned out the pantry I had tossed out the semolina. As I added the “semolina” I realized that it was breadcrumbs! The recipe also calls for cake flour, the substitution for cake flour is to replace one to two tablespoons of all purpose flour with corn starch. Since I had already put in the bread crumbs instead of the semolina, I shrugged and used corn starch instead of cake flour. Since I was already winging it, I decided to use olive oil instead of vegetable oil (olives are really a fruit but hey, this recipe is already so far from the original that it won’t matter!).
Some things are just meant to work out. My pooris which I will call balloon bread in deference to the actual stuff came out pretty tasty.
The trick to making them puff is to use a spoon and not let the bread bob up to the surface. It’s fascinating to actually feel the bread puff up under the spoon. So here is my recipe for balloon bread.

Balloon Bread

2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup corn starch
1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
apprx 3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt

vegetable oil for deep frying

Put the dry ingredients in the food processor. With the steel blade mix the dry ingredients well, add the oil. When the oil is well incorporated start adding the water a little at a time until you have a ball that sticks together.
Knead the dough by hand until smooth. Cover with a cloth, let sit for 30 minutes. Divide the dough into 12 small ball about the size of a walnut. Roll the balls into small thin 3 to 4 inch rounds. Let the round rest while you heat the oil in either a wok, frying pan or deep fryer.
When the oil is very hot but NOT smoking, gently lay the round in the oil.Don’t let it double up, keep the round submerged until it blows up like a balloon,it only takes a few seconds. Flip it over and let it cook for a couple of seconds. I did 2 at a time, it’s hard to do more because of keeping it submerged.
Drain and pat dry. Eat hot, if you don’t eat them right away they deflate a bit but are still tasty!The ones in the photo had already deflated a bit before I remembered to photograph them.

The more authentic pooris recipe is:

Pooris

1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup fine semolina
1/3 cup cake flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
approx 1/2 cup water
oil for frying

Combine the dry ingredients. Slowly drizzle the oil over the dry ingredients, with your fingertips rub the oil into the mix until completely combined. Add enough water to make a ball. Knead the dough for about ten minutes or until smooth. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into 12 small ball about the size of a walnut. Roll the balls into small thin 3 to 4 inch rounds. Let the round rest while you heat the oil in either a wok, frying pan or deep fryer.
When the oil is very hot but NOT smoking, gently lay the round in the oil.Don’t let it double up, keep the round submerged until it blows up like a balloon,it only takes a few seconds. Flip it over and let it cook for a couple of seconds.
Drain and pat dry.

About Theresa Diaz Gray

Born in New York City, I grew up in California, and have lived in 3 countries and 6 states. I'm a first generation Cuban-American who lives in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. I'm committed to living an abundant and creative life and helping others do so too through DIY!

7 comments

  1. Cay, Merida is still a wasteland for ethnic food. There is sushi here, but I don’t like sushi and if I did, I doubt that I would want cream cheese in it. There is no Indian food, there is some Italian. I think the Chinese food is substandard. There is an Argentine place or two. The middle eastern food is called Arabe, as in pan arabe (pita bread). Baraudi’s isn’t really a deli, the arab bakery across the street from Office depot has more of a snack selection. They sell falafel,dolmades,stuffed chard rolls, and some really good empanadas made with chard. There is an Arabic restaurant opening up next door. You can get taco arabe many places, basically carne asada in a pita.There are several Lebanese restaurants but I can’t remember the names off hand. Oh, there is a Spanish restaurant that I keep meaning to try called La Habichuela but we always forget. So don’t get your hopes up for ethnic food. I guess Bostons and Checkers are ethnic here.I hope you enjoy your trip though!
    regards,
    Theresa

  2. Thanks for responding, Theresa, we lived in Merida for six years (and spent summers at our beach house for five years before that), and believe me, we scoured the place looking for some, any, DIVERSITY in the food.! We moved from Houston so we felt really deprived, especially the first year or so after moving there. That was the reason we learned how to cook Indian, we thought we were going to DIE without our twice- or thrice-weekly fix of Taj Mahal Restaurant. Glad to read (from the blogs) that there are more global options now. We’re leaving for Merida tomorrow, actually, and I’m looking forward to trying some new places. Ciao!

  3. Hi Cay, Baroudi’s is on the corner of Avenida Cupoles and Calle 60 across the street from what I think is Our Lady of Fatima. Middle eastern stuff is easy to buy here, the Lebanese have been in Mérida for decades. The owners of the upscale department store chain, Chapur,were originally Lebanese refugees. You can buy pita bread, baba ganuoush (called salsa de berenjena) and humus in most grocery stores. Kibis of course are middle eastern in origin and available everywhere in town. I think you just didn’t know where to look when you lived here.
    Oh, what’s your pooris recipe? If you email it to me I would love to publish it on my blog.
    Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.
    regards,
    Theresa

  4. I, too, love making (and eating!) pooris, although I use a more traditional recipe! What caught my eye was the reference to Baraudi’s Middle Eastern deli–this surely must be in the US. I know Merida’s really grown since we lived there three years ago, but I can’t imagine an authentic middle eastern deli/store opening there.

  5. fned, I loved reading about your risotto making adventure. You did marvelously well! Risotto is much more practical than pooris and more impressive too.
    regards,
    Theresa

  6. Sounds delish… but sorry… I already used up all my lucky stars making risotto….. *wink*

    Fned.

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