When you have little ones at home and even more so if you have a picky eater, you must be familiar with all kinds of strategies you have to use in order to sneak some “healthy” into their meals. Now, even though I have two young ones at home, one of them being pickier than the other, I am still lucky that they eat their greens pretty decently. Dishes like okra fry and green beans and tofu stir fry are always welcomed in my household.
Having said that, some vegetables are a hard sell than others. Spinach, kale and pretty much any green leafy ones are a no no for the older one. It is sometimes funny to see the 3 year old gobbling bowl after bowl of quinoa kale salad, while the 9 year old is fishing cilantro out of her salsa. So you find ways to sneak them into their diet and serve them in a way they might like or many times in ways they can be deceived!
So dishes like Palak Kale Paneer , Beetroot Paratha, Leftover Dal Paratha OR vegetable poori are what come to my rescue. I have sneaked in practically every vegetable into her paratha or poori from pumpkin to kale to carrots. But her favorite and even mine, since childhood, still remains Palak Ki Puri or spinach flatbread.
Palak Ki Puri is a traditional recipe where spinach puree is added to whole wheat flour along with salt and some whole spices. I used nigella seeds in this recipe but you can add caraway seeds, cumin or even garam masala to give it a different flavor. Feel free to stay away from the spices if you prefer that instead. Oil is added to the flour to make the poori nice and flaky. You can also add a small amount of milk to make them soft and this tip also works great if you are planning to make poori a few hours or up to a couple days in advance. I send these as lunchbox food with my kids, serve as part of a luxurious meal on special days (like the Diwali celebration that you might be preparing for- hint hint!) and serve as a whole meal when out on a trip.
Palak poori are soft deep fried circular flatbread made with a spinach and whole wheat flour dough. These palak pooris are a testament that healthy can taste delicious too!
- 2 cups Whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups Spinach (washed, soft stalks are fine too)
- 1/2 teaspoon Nigella seeds
- 1 1/2 tsp Cooking Oil- 1 1/2 teaspoon (extra for deep frying)
- Salt (to taste)
- Water (as required for kneading)
- In a food processor, blend spinach into a puree. Can add a couple tablespoons of water if you need to, for turning the blades.
Transfer whole wheat flour (or durum atta) in a large mixing bowl. Add nigella, salt, 1 1/2 teaspoon oil and mix it together. Now add spinach puree to the flour and knead for 5 minutes to form smooth dough. Add a few tablespoons of water if required. Divide into 12-15 parts. Roll into balls and set aside.
- Heat oil in a large wok for deep frying, to 350°F (175°C).
- Lightly grease rolling board with oil, just enough to prevent the dough from sticking, approx. a couple drops. Use a lightly greased rolling pin to roll dough into a flat circle about 2” (5 cm) wide. Repeat the same for all the dough balls.
- Drop one poori into hot oil for deep frying. Gently press the poori, with slotted spoon. Poori should puff in 8-10 seconds. Flip and cook other side for 8-10 seconds or until both sides turn golden brown.
- Serve hot with choice of raita and pickle.
Poori dough should be firmer than a regular roti or paratha dough. It takes a little muscle to roll a poori as the dough is not as free moving as a roti dough while rolling.
Use oil or ghee to grease the poori dough for an easy rolling. Try not to dust it with flour as dry flour will leave the poori in the oil when frying and can just leave the oil dirty and not fir for further use.
When rolling, cover the remaining dough (other than the ball you are rolling) with a damp cloth to keep it from drying.
SOME MORE PURI RECIPES FROM AROUND THE WEB: