Sunday, June 16, 2013

Deserving Dad Fare--Sev Poori

A Father's Day food fest is in the works. This deserving father is being served his favorite snack for lunch--sev poori. Coincidently, my last blog entry mentions sev poori as part of the chaat genre. Good things come in pairs I guess. 

Growing up, we had sev poori at tea time. It truly is a Bombay phenomenon. Roadside vendors set up their stalls or carts by noon. The public gathers around them as their hands fly between mounds of potatoes, chutneys, pooris and sev. There was a special man across from my grandmother's house. She would send her stainless steel thalis to him as his pooris generally were delivered on large green leaves. We would wait for our treats as the old folks had tea on the dot of four pm. Thalis were placed in front of us. Fingers lifted small pooris right into drooling mouths. No utensils needed!!! And such will be the case with the deserving father too. He is very adept at eating sev poori..

I know to make a LARGE batch of pooris. It involves a lot of kneading ,rolling, cutting and frying. I have an able and willing helper, Shauna. I use a pasta attachment to roll the dough very thin. It works its magic and I have a hundred pooris in a snap. Who knew pasta rollers could be used for pooris ? Mine is a KitchenAid attachment.

Amazon has them at reasonable rates. They attach to the front of a KitchenAid stand mixer. My three piece rollers are eight years strong and  I love them. They are put to use frequently, mainly for pasta though!  This necessity is my mother-law Pam's invention. She uses a hand cranked pasta machine and taught me this neat shortcut! Rolling out really thin sheets of dough with a rolling pin, is hard work! Normally I use a small cookie cutter to press out pooris. I can't find mine, but I do unearth an ancient poori making contraption. You roll it over the dough and it form rounds as it passes over.

Ancient poori rolling contraption

But It doesn't work well at all!!! So I use the top of a lemonade bottle. Works just fine!

There are many steps to sev poori and when you persevere the end result is delicious crispy treats . A little planning is advisable.These flat pooris topped with potato, onion, sev and chutneys, go like hot cakes

Enough for 4 people

Pooris ( see recipe below)
3 Potatoes, boiled
1 small Red Onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup Cilantro
Kosher salt
1 Lime, cut in half
Green Chutney ( see recipe below)
Tamarind Chutney ( see recipe,below)
1 cup Sev ( chickpea flour vermicelli) 

Descriptive Sev 

Makes about 100 pooris

1 cup Atta( whole wheat flour)
1 cup Flour
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup Water
Canola oil to fry pooris

Put atta, flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to mix. 

With the processor on, gradually add water till you have a thick dough. Pulse frequently. The dough should come away from the sides of the bowl. Add water in 1/4 cup increments. The dough shouldn't be wet and sticky, rather dry and stiff.

Alternately make the dough by hand by mixing in water, gathering the dough into a cohesive ball and kneading it well till the dough is smooth.

Cover and keep aside for 1 hour.

If you are using a pasta roller attachment or a pasta machine, start at roller at 1. 

Divide the dough into 4 portions.

Take one portion and dust it with atta or flour.

Flatten dough a bit and push through the pasta roller once.

Change the roller setting to 2 and pass the dough through this setting.

Crank the setting to 3 and once again pass the dough through. You will see the dough becoming thinner with each pass.

Go to setting number 4 and pass the dough through. 

Go lower to setting number 5 and roll the dough through. 

The dough should be quite thin by now. Lay it flat on an atta-dusted surface.

If you do not have a pasta attachment or machine, roll out the dough using a rolling pin dusted with atta. Roll the dough very thin, almost 1/5 inch, and follow the steps below.

Using a small cookie cutter, cut out as many rounds as you can. Lay them on a cookie sheet to dry out for 15 minutes.

Repeat with other 3 portions of dough. Gather up remaining dough, knead it together and repeat steps.

After the dough circles have dried for 15 minutes, prick them well with a fork.

Heat canola oil in wok or a frying pan. The oil should be at least 1 1/2 inches deep in the wok.

Wait till it heats. Test by dropping in a teeny bit of dough. It should rise to the surface instantly. You know then the oil is ready.

Fry 2 or 3 pooris at a time till they are golden brown. This takes about 3 minutes.

Drain onto a cookie rack with some paper beneath to catch the oil drips.

Finish frying all the pooris this way.

Green Chutney
Makes 1 cup

1 1/2 cups Cilantro
3 Green Chilis
3 cloves Garlic
2 thin slices Ginger
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

Grind the above ingredients in a blender till they are well puréed. 

Keep in covered container in the fridge up to a week.

Tamarind Chutney 
 Makes 2 cups

1 cup Tamarind pulp
2 cups Water
1/2 cup Jaggery or Brown Sugar
A pinch of Kosher Salt.

Soak tamarind in water for 3 to 4 hours.

Squeeze pulp well and strain into a saucepan. You should have just the liquid. No pulp.

Add jaggery and salt and simmer on a medium flame for 15 minutes or until the sauce thickens.

Store in a glass jar or plastic container in the fridge for up to a month.


Peel potatoes and cut them lengthwise in half. Slice each half into 1/4 inch thick pieces.

Chop cilantro very fine.

Lay pooris out on a platter. I use a sheet pan. The more surface area, the more pooris will be eaten!

Top each poori with a half moon potato. 

Place a smidgen of onion on top of potato. 

Season lightly with salt.

Place a large pinch of sev on top of the onion.

The next topping a half a teaspoon of green chutney.

Follow that by half a teaspoon of tamarind chutney.

Sprinkle cilantro over all the pooris.

Drizzle a generous portion of sev all over pooris.

Squeeze some lime juice all over pooris.

Go ahead and eat this labor of love!


Sev is available at Patel Brothers or any Indian grocery store. It comes in different thicknesses. Use the very thin, vermicelli type. 

The above recipe is quite labor-intensive. Just buy pooris and chutneys from an Indian grocery store. They are quite good. I have on many occasions used store brands  when time is of the essence. 

Once made, sev pooris should be eaten in the next 10 minutes as the pooris get soggy and lose their crunch.

The deserving father sits with his prize-- sev poori. Kheema dogs made by Shauna via her blog complement the pooris. He eats well, plenty of elbow exercise for his right arm. I hope he saves room for his dinner treat, another favorite, short ribs with yucca fries!