Moong Dal Puri
(Puffed Indian bread with Moong Bean)
It was in Bundi, one of the notable lands of Rajput. Past the great ancient city of Chitore, I reached there during the summer of 2009. My friends and I were staying in R.N Haveli, a delightful traditional haveli of Kalama ji, the elderly woman, whom we all called mama. She used to tell us “This is your home, come whenever you like.” Well, it was her home that she transformed to a guest house with the help of her two daughters. That summer both the daughters were there, ever smiling and friendly, and they served us delicious home-cooked food. And whichever item we ate, we had to keep record to ourselves, and would pay whatever we could.
They had this handwritten menu, full with the delicious dishes of Rajasthan. And one evening among all the items we ordered, there was Moong Dal Puri, the puffed Indian bread that is made with all-purpose flour combined with soaked moong dal and other spices. It was delicious, so much so that till today whenever I see Moong Dal Puri, it always reminds me about our days in Bundi. Then one afternoon in our apartment we were watching TLC like every other day and saw this very item as street food. Seeing that my mom said how she had learned it from one elderly relatives from India. And so the next morning we decided to make it as our breakfast.
Watching it on TV or looking into a cookbook this recipe seems very easy, but for making it needs special instructions, especially when you want to make it tastes delicious, like the one you can have only in Rajasthan. Simply follow the instructions and notes below that my mom taught me and my wife the following morning.
|1 cup moong dal (mung bean)||1 teaspoon coriander seed powder|
|¼ Kilo all-purpose flour||1 teaspoon cumin powder|
|4 tablespoons Oil||1/2 teaspoon green cardamom powder|
|1 teaspoon salt||1 teaspoon ginger paste|
|½ teaspoon turmeric powder|
How to Make It Delicious
|1. Put the mung bean in a bowl. Pick out any debris that might be in there before washing it.|
|2. Wash the bean by changing the water several times. Place it in a large pot and add around 2 quarts of water (8 cups).|
|3. Add 1 tablespoon of salt, ½ teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon ginger paste, 1 teaspoon coriander seed powder, 1 teaspoon cumin powder, 1/2 teaspoon green cardamom powder, and bring to a boil.|
|4. Do not over boil it, as the dal should not be sticky.|
|5. Ground moong dal lightly and set aside to cool.|
|6. Add salt, 1 tablespoon oil to flour and knead into a medium soft dough. Cover with a damp cloth and rest the dough for fifteen minutes. Divide both the dough and the stuffing into 12-14 portions each.|
|7. Take one portion of dough in your palm, spread it slightly, place a portion of lightly ground boiled dal and gather in the edges and roll into a ball. Roll out into a puri. While rolling the puri, you can actually feel the lightly ground dal.|
|8. Heat the cooking oil in a pan and shallow fry the puris, one by one, till they are golden and crisp. Drain and place them on an absorbent paper.|
|9. Serve the hot Moong Dal Puri with pickles.|
You may use other lentils such as chickpeas or red lentil, however the key is not to over-boil them.
You may find many people grind the dal into a fine paste and then mix it with flour and knead into a dough. That process lessens the richness of its texture, which gives the real taste. The key of this puffed Indian bread is to lightly ground the moong dal and very softly roll out while making the puri.
Remember the taste of any dish is hugely depends on salt, so measure the salt with your senses. In time, you will develop a tactile memory for just the right amount.
Last and most important before eating this wonderful dish, don’t forget to begin with the name of Almighty, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, for giving us the opportunity to enjoy His bounty, and as always, you can feel the soul of your dish when share it with someone you love.