JAGGERY PURIS OR DHEBRA
Sunday morning, dad is craving his favorite – jaggery puris and green moong daal with a potato curry. He tells mom to make it, and mom starts preparation. Within an hour lunch is ready. That’s how quick and efficient was my mother. Our wish was her command. She made what was requested of her, without any complaints, and without any fuss. Her Kitchen was her sanctuary – a place where she could be her own boss. Both my grandmothers made these puris, and they made it in bulk to eat it for the next couple of days, even with breakfast and they taste so good with masala chai, and the garlic chutney.
This is perhaps my dad and brother’s favorite meal, and when they are eating this meal, they will NOT talk to you, or look at you. They focus totally on the food, and eat like there is no tomorrow 😉 It is a pretty funny sight!
I have not heard Gujarati folks talk about this dish, nor can it be found anywhere on the Internet. I believe this recipe is specific to our clan, in the Jain community. It was made a lot in Uganda, Africa, by my grandmother and she still loves eating it, at her age of 91.
SIMILAR TO MANDAZI? PERHAPS?
The jaggery puris seem to be similar to mandazi – which are African fried donuts. They look about the same. Both are fried and both are sweet. Mandazi is made with sugar, and the jaggery puris are made with duh – jaggery. Mandazi are leavened with baking soda or yeast since they are donuts, however the puris do not container any leavening agent. I wonder if they taste the same too. Something I am curious about!
Mom’s puris always turned out absolutely perfect, crispy on the edges, super soft and pliable in the middle, a nice brown buldge on the top, a perfect vehicle for the daal and the potatoes. I would help her make it ofcourse, her sous chef in the kitchen always! I make it 2-3 times a year, as a treat for my kids cause they LOVE this dish too – next generation lovers of the jaggery puri!
INGREDIENTS FOR THE JAGGERY PURI OR DHEBRA:
The ingredients for the jaggery puri are really simple:
- Whole Wheat flour: I get the regular atta or whole wheat flour from the Indian grocery store. It is wholesome and not ground all the way, leaving a bit of the husk in the flour.
- Salt: A pinch of salt always to balance the flavors
- Jaggery: I use the Indian grocery store Kohlapuri Jaggery (also called as gor in Gujarati language). The jaggery should melt nicely in the water.
- Water: to make the jaggery water and bind the dough
- Oil : Again to bind the dough
I was making this meal a month ago, and my dough was really tough for some reason. The taste was fantastic but they were not soft and pliable like how they normally are, and I had done something wrong, and I did not have a recipe written down. So I called my aunt(masi – mom’s sister), in the U.K, and asked for tips on what went wrong.
She is a kitchen doctor, and knows what could be the mistake in something that I have done! So I used ghee instead of vegetable oil in the dough which made it tough. Thanks masi ! So I made the puris again after a week with vegetable oil and they turned out PERFECT! Just like my mom’s, with the PERFECT Texture! I was thrilled! Hence I decided to write the recipe down and share it with you all. 🙂
I don’t know one person who does not enjoy this meal, especially with the hot puris taken out from the hot oil, and the piping hot green moong daal OR my three lentil daal, along with the potato curry. It is generally eaten with garlic chutney, and the whole combination of sweet, salty, spicy, sour is simply fantastic, lip smacking delicious! My daughter loves it spicy and has it with the spicy garlic chutney! This is a very traditional Gujarati meal, one that you will NOT get in any restaurant! As my husband always says, if you want to eat an authentic Indian or Gujarati meal, be friends with an Indian or a Gujarati and you will get the best satisfying meal that will surely remember for a very long time!
I love eating the jaggery puris with Three lentil daal. This daal recipe can be found in my Cookbook MUMBAI MODERN that is sold on Amazon and any major bookstore retailer. I always say to support the local bookstores as much as you can!
If you do try this recipe, please do not forget to tag #thejamlab on Instagram and/or leave a comment in the below blog post to let me know how you liked it !
In other news, Indian festival season has started, along with the American festivals too! My favorite Indian festivals are Navratri and Diwali! I will not go into the mythology of these events, but one thing I want to mention about Navratri is mom would fast for 9 days, having only fruit, milk and nuts. I would accompany her on some of my college years. At the end of the Navratri, she would call around 12 girls from the nearby slums, to come home for a meal. Mom would make an elaborate Gujarati meal for the girls, and in the end she would give them like a party pack 😉 of bangles, bindis, other miscellaneous stuff, along with some cash for them.
The smile on their faces is all you needed to see and make your day. Mom and dad were and are very empathic towards others, and have always been willing to help others in need. They were and are very generous and always willing to give to others. These are the traits that I want to make sure I instill in my kids, to be empathetic, compassionate, and loving human beings. Rest all falls into place. With that note, I will end this blog post.
Much Love and light,
Jaggery Puris or Dhebra
- Serves 7-8 people
- 2 ½ cups whole wheat flour
- 140 gms jaggery
- 1 cup water
- ½ tsp salt
- 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
- Additional whole wheat flour for rolling the dough
- Oil for frying
- To make the jaggery water:
- In a small saucepan, on high heat, add the water and jaggery and let the jaggery start melting. It will take 4 to 5 minutes for the jaggery to fully melt. Let the water boil for another 2 minutes. This should be about 1 to 1 ¼ cup of jaggery water. Cool the water till it is warm to the touch about 10-15 minutes.
- In a large bowl, add in the flour and salt and whisk. Slowly add in about ¾ cup of the warm jaggery water and start mixing it with the dough. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil at this point and knead the dough. If there is still dry flour left, add the remaining jaggery water and knead again for 2-3 minutes until the dough is soft and pliable. No flour should be left in the bowl. Clean the sides of the bowl with the dough ball. The dough should look light brown in color.
- Add another tablespoon of vegetable oil and knead the dough for another minute. You can add another tbsp if you feel the dough is slightly hard, to make it soft. Rest the dough for 15-20 minutes.
- To make the jaggery puris or dhebra:
- In a large dutch oven or a large frying pan, add the oil for frying the puris about 4 inchdes from the botto of the pan/oven. Turn the heat to high. It will take atleast 7 minutes to heat the oil. Bring it up to a frying temperature of 350 degrees F. To do an oil test, take a tiny bit of the dough between your fingers, and drop it in the hot oil. If it comes up immediately and floats you know your oil is ready to fry the puris.
- Keep a little whole wheat flour in a small bowl on the side of the rolling board. Divide the dough into 10 equal parts. They are about the size of a small lemon. Take each ball of the dough, roll it perfectly round between the palm of your hands, coat it with the flour and put it on the rolling board. Now press it down with your 2 fore fingers.
- Start rolling with a rolling pin, in a circular motion to form a round circle, till it is about 7 inches in diameter. Cut it into 9 pieces with two equi-distant horizontal cuts and two equi-distant vertical cuts in the roti.
- Remove the pieces and put it on a plate that is set aside, and slowly start frying 2-3 at a time for about 20-30 seconds on each side. They should look dark brownish in color.
- Continue the process until all the puris are made. If you do not want to make all into puris. You can also simply put the rolled roti on a flat pan, add a bit of oil and make parathas.
- Best eaten with green moong daal, or teen (three lentil )daal - along with a spicy garlic dry chutney.
- NOTE: The puris will stay out in an air tight container, for upto a week. They taste fantastic with masala chai and can be eaten as breakfast or snack.