Sunday, October 9, 2011

Kerala porotta

"Porotta" is a rich, flaky bread very common in Kerala, especially, in the Malabar area. I can still recall the mouthwatering egg masala and  porotta that we used to tuck into in the eateries around Kozhikode/Calicut, back during our university days. Health-conscious people shouldn't eat it, but we are human, so once in a while is fine. Everything in moderation! :) Traditionally, porotta does not have that many ingredients -- just the right amount of flour, water, salt and oil/ghee. But I have seen recipes that have milk, eggs etc. The recipe we have here is the simple kind.

Makes 10 porottas

1 . Maida/all-purpose flour -- 4 cups
     Salt -- 1 tsp
    Water - 1 cup
     Oil - 2 tbsp

2. Oil -- 1 cup and more for cooking


Add the salt to the flour. Whisk around. Measure out the oil into the cup of water.

Make a well in the flour-salt mixture. Add the oil-water mixture to this. Knead . If using the food processor, use the dough hook and stir gently, till it forms a soft, moist mass. If it looks dry, add tiny bits of water and mix some more. Cover the bowl with the dough for half an hour.  Important, as this is the gluten forming stage.

Now, take the dough out and onto the work surface. Slowly add 1/4 cup of the oil in the second set, and knead. Knead well, for about half an hour. Another important action that will make the dough smooth, and give you a great upper arm/shoulder workout. :( Again, the food processor will be a boon at this stage.

Once the dough is a soft, smooth, manageable ball,  roll it to a cylindrical shape-- a fat one- and start pushing out round portions through the circle formed between your thumb and forefinger. Or, just divide into 10 portions. Keep these covered by a wet towel/ papertowel.

Then comes the making of the porottas. Take one ball of dough. With well-oiled palms, press it down on the work surface. You can either use a rolling pin to stretch the dough real thin. Or you can throw the flattened dough onto the surface and around like a seasoned porotta maker. I did neither. After the first flattening, I stretched it out by hand, pulling it on all sides. The trick is to use plenty of oil on the dough while doing this. And not think of the calories you are building into it. hehee

Once the dough is stretched thin and glistening like glass with that oil, -- it may break here and there, don't worry -- start pleating like you would a fan. Start from the end near you and hold both the ends and hit the middle gently on the surface 2 or 3 times. Now roll it from one end, into a pinwheel-like spiral round, tucking the end under. Place the spiral under another wet towel. Instead of pleating, you may also hold it together and up  by one end, and then one end  in each hand, and then do the gentle hitting, and final rolling. Finish making spirals with each portion. Keep them coverd under the wet towel.

Heat the griddle/tawa. We want low-medium heat.
Take one rolled spiral, and roll it out to form a flat circle, just on one side. Or  use the good, old, oiled- palm ploy. Just press down evenly.

Transfer the flattened spiral onto the heated griddle. After a minute on side, when the color of the dough changes, flip. More oil, as you toast it. around 2 more minutes, it should be ready.

Once you have made 3 or 4 porottas, stack'em up , and with a clapping motion, fluff them up around the edges, turning it around to get to all sides.

Serve with korma, or vindaloo, or egg masala. 
and remember, the oil massage is important. There are a lot of videos on youtube, that we can watch and learn from.
:) asha

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