Serving the Guest: A Sufi Cookbook
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Grind the flour and make stuffed puri;
Put in it heavenly fruits and sugar,
the seven qualities of God must be taken in the body
As the seven ingredients fill the puri, oh sister.
Ya bism Allah, hu hu Allah.
Indian Fried Bread
Puffy breads popular on holidays throughout India and Pakistan, puris are traditionally eaten with shir-kand or kheer. This recipe makes two dozen.
Total time: 1 hour
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour, or ½ whole wheat + ½ all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. vegetable oil or melted ghee
½-1 cup water, or 4 tbsp. honey mixed with ¼ cup water
About 3 cups vegetable oil for frying
Optional Spice Blend:
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. turmeric
½ tsp. cumin powder

Blend the flour and salt, then add oil or ghee, rubbing it in with the fingers. Add ½ cup of water or the diluted honey, and continue mixing until you have a smooth dough. Add more water if needed to achieve a silky consistency. Lightly oil a work surface and knead the dough for 15 minutes.

Divide the dough into 24 equal parts. Roll each one into a ball and flatten it between your palms. Put a little more oil onto the work surface and roll each piece into an even 4" circle. Cover these circles with a slightly damp dish towel to keep them from drying out.

Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat. To test the temperature of the oil, drop a little piece of dough into the pan; if it rises immediately to the surface, the oil is hot enough for frying. Slip a puri into the oil. It should puff right up and float to the top. Using a slotted spoon or spatula, flip the puri gently; continue to cook and flip until both sides are golden brown. When the puri is cooked, lift it up with the slotted spoon, let the oil drain off into the pan, and place on paper towels or a lint-free dish towel to absorb any excess oil.

For spicy puris, mix the spices in with the flour and salt, and use only water to make the dough. For sumptuous puris, substitute yogurt for half of the water.