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Saturday, August 25, 2007

A Puffed Bread and Two Curries From Orissa

RCI has become an exciting event which is introducing me to various, great cuisines from colorful states of India. It has opened up an opportunity to explore and experiment new cuisines in my kitchen. Compared to the previous RCI events, this time it was little different. I knew the geographic location of Orissa on Indian map and some points of interest in the state and nothing more than that. I had no idea about Odiya cuisine or had never seen any oriyan fare served at restaurants. There are some good websites featuring oriyan cuisine and with that help and minor changes, I prepared 'Luchis', 'Alu posta' and 'Ghuguni' for the RCI - Orissa event.


Many oriyan delicacies got incorporated into the Bengali kitchens because of the Oriyan Brahmin cooks employed at the time of Bengal Renaissance in rich Bengali house holds. Orissa and West Bengal also because of their proximity factor have many common dishes. Luchi, a deep-fried puffed bread made of all purpose flour / maida is such a dish, typical of Oriya and Bengal cuisines.
Most of the south Indians get to eat luchis at restaurants even with out their knowledge. Luchis are served in the name of pooris because they remain puffed, all the way from the stove to customers' plates. I have seen people prefer making pooris (luchis to be exact) with all purpose flour because they remain puffed longer than the ones made with atta.

Maida / All purpose flour - 2 cups
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Oil - 1 or 2 Tbsps
Water to form the dough
Oil to fry luchis

Combine the flour, salt and oil in a mixing bowl and rub together well. Then gradually add the water and form a firm dough. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes more until it springs back when touched lightly. Cover it and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into equal portions and shape each into a small ball. Work with each portion at a time, keeping the rest covered. Take a ball, flatten it a little with your fingers and roll it into a thin circle, 4 -6 inches in diameter. Rolling out perfect circles using luchi dough is little hard because of the dough's elasticity. If you can not make perfect circles, just roll out the dough and cut into circles using a cutter or a small cup. You can roll out all the dough before frying or keep rolling and frying simultaneously.
If not using the dough immediately, you can refrigerate it for a couple of days. When you are ready to use it, just take out the dough from the refrigerator and pop it in the microwave for about 40 seconds. Remove the dough and roll out the luchis as usual.
Heat sufficient oil in a deep frying pan. Drop a pea sized dough into the oil and if it sizzles and immediately comes to the surface of the oil, then the temperature of the oil is the right one to fry the luchis. Carefully slide a rolled out circle into the oil and press the edges lightly with a slotted spoon until the circle puffs well. Gently flip it without piercing the surface and cook the second side as well for a few seconds. Remove it with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining circles.


I fell in love with 'Alu posta' because of it's simplicity. This was like a fresh breath of air with subtle flavors and simple spices. Quite different from the spicy, garam masala laden curries. Next time, the only change I would prefer to make is addition of tomatoes for the tang.

3 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
1/4 cup of poppy seeds
4 Green Chillies (I used Serrano peppers)
1/4 tsp of Turmeric powder
1 tsp of Cumin seeds
Oil - Salt to taste

Make a smooth paste of poppy seeds and green chillies with water using a mixer or grinder. (I soaked the poppy seeds before grinding and it became harder to grind them in my blender because of the little quantity. Next time, poppy seeds will be dry ground into a fine powder)
Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds and turmeric powder. When cumin seeds start to turn brown, add the potato and saute for a couple of minutes.
Then add the green chillies & poppy seed paste and add a cup of water to the pan. Cook potatoes till they are done and coated well with the paste.


Ghuguni is a Oriyan side dish prepared using dried peas, potatoes and tomatoes flavored with the right amount of spices.

1/4 cup of dried green peas soaked in water for at least 4 hours and cooked
A large potato peeled, chopped into cubes and cooked till fork tender
A big tomato chopped
One onion
A small piece of ginger
Green chillies - 2 (I have used Serrano)
Turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander powder, chili powder and garam masala - 1/2 tsp each
Clove & cardamom - 2 each
Cinnamon - 3 - 4 one inch pieces
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 Tbsp
A tbsp of finely chopped cilantro for garnish.

This dish has also garlic, which I omitted.

The Cooking Part:
Grind the onion, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom with enough water into a fine paste using a blender.
Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds turn brown, add the green chillies and saute for 30 seconds. Then add the ground paste and saute for a couple of minutes.
Then add the tomato, salt and all the dry masala powders and cook till the tomatoes turn mushy.
Now add the cooked potatoes, peas and a little water and let it simmer for about five minutes so that vegetables absorb the flavors.
Garnish with cilantro and serve with rotis / pooris.

This is my entry for RCI - Orissa hosted by Swapna of Swad. The person behind the RCI event is LakshmiK.

Source of information - Wiki, Lokpriya

Post a Comment


Jyothsna said...

Nice combo!

Suganya said...

I have had maida poori without knowing it is from orissa. Love both yr curries.

Madhu said...

Hi Suma.
Luchi is soooo good. I too have made ghuguni for RCI, yours look very colourful and have a nice consistancy.Mine was tasty but peas turned out bit mushy. Have a nice weekend.

Happy Cook said...

All three dishes look great.
Is Lucho and Batura same.

Asha said...

Sumi,you are making drool with all these girl!:)))
All three of them looks wonderful, love the Posto.Of all the Postos I have seen so far,your's looks the best.I will make it.Thanks.Can't wait for the round up ,so I can save the whole post:))

Latha Narasimhan said...

Nice entry for the event! Aloo specially looks delicious!

Laavanya said...

Nice entry Suma. Both curries look good and I love maida puri.

Tee said...

Good entry...looks delicious! I did not know about the maida pooris, thanks for the info!

Rajitha said...

the luchi looks so good.. makes me want to touch the photo..pull the luchi out and eat it...:)

TBC said...

Your luchis look so perfect! Ilike the aloo posto. Such a simple recipe with just a handful of ingredients.I have not used poppy seeds for cooking before.Do they need to be roasted first?

marriedtoadesi.com said...

WOW! Delicious puffed poori's everywhere. Its driving me nuts, I want to eat some!! These look soooo good.


archana said...

Luchis and both sabzi look nice. Pictures make me drool :)

meeso said...

The Alu posta looks great with that slight pale green color...and sometimes simple flavors are so good!

Vcuisine said...

Suma the poori is great. but 1/4 cup of poppy seeds in Aloo? It looks great Suma. Viji

swapna susarla said...

Hi suma
the luchi looks lovely!!

Kribha said...

Just saw this dish in another blog too. Looks great with two curries. Nice yummy dish.

Sia said...

what a lovely pic suma. i loved both the curries...

Suma Gandlur said...

Poppy seeds need not be fried.

I arrived with this quantity after going through lots of recipes of posto on the web.:)
I think we can reduce the quantity depending upon our taste.

Dee & Chai said...

Love your blog, especially 4 it's orissa recipes. Added u to our blog roll- YUM!

Sangeetha Nambi said...

Nice one !!! Happy to follow u :)