Sugar Cane Juice Puris (ऊसाच्या रसातल्या पुऱ्या /गन्ने के रस की पूरियां )
I get teased for not being able to resist popping into a desi or Indian/Sri Lankan/ Fijian grocery when I see one. Even when we don’t expressly need any stuff.
That is one time when the girls roll their eyes, and the husband tailgates me in a trick to make me acutely conscious of “wasting” time.
In my defence, this is my opportunity to serendipitously chance upon some unusual ingredient, condiment, vegetable or gadget from across the seven seas and several past lives ago.
This is how I have fortuitously acquired my jhadoo (broom made with reeds), those amber gems of gond(edible gum) and that tearjerker Kissan mango jam.
My excitement heightens even as we approach the store. Posters of Hindi, Tamil, Punjabi films or Indian goss magazines, godmen and godwomen of various descriptions offering hugging sessions, familiar faces, fresh mithai in take-away containers, a lone withering samosa in a bain-marie (they are grabbed as soon as they are supplied) or impromptu paani puri stalls...
I am teleported.
I am teleported.
The potpourri of fragrances of hing mingling with naga champa agarbatti, and curry leaf under notes of glucose biscuits…the bright mithai pink and fluorescent yellow packaging, innovative and improved presentation of the blue coloured coconut oil in a wide-mouthed jar… although I might not buy most of these things, I like to spend a little while handling, inhaling and eyeballing the memory triggers.
Standing in the checkout line, with the husband literally shadowing me and escorting me with an invisible straightjacket, I spot a hastily scribbled notice on the overcrowded noticeboard, trying to peep from under other advertisements for “shared accommodation for single ladies”, “cheap finance” and “threading and waxing and henna”.
I am riveted. “Fresh Sugar Cane Juice available” - my leaping heart reads.
Even the husband has to relent and let me step out of the queue to rush to the interior of the store and grab some bottles of sugar cane juice, undeterred by the unmarked bottles of unknown origin - and the cash register ringing them out at $5 a 200 ml bottle.
This manna is put to good use, drinking it straight out of the bottle to the very last drop, making a clear saar, and after conferring with Mother on an international call, preparing these lovely puris.
Mother used to make this dough with sugar cane juice and roll out sweet chapatis called “dashmis”. They would be very handy as a lunch on the go on picnics and travels, and very tasty and satisfying with some ghee and pickle.
I was feeling rich, so I made these puris instead of dashmis, but you can go ahead and griddle fry them, if you don’t wish to deep fry.
Sugarcane Juice Puris
Sugarcane juice as required (approx. 180 -200 ml- will depend on the flour)
1 cup whole-wheat flour (atta)
1 cup plain flour (maida) – my atta was a little coarse, so I added some maida.
1 tbsp white poppy seeds
A generous pinch of salt
¼ tsp nutmeg powder
¼ tsp ginger powder/paste
1 tbsp shortening (oil/ghee)
Oil for deep-frying
Mix together wheat flour and plain flour, salt, poppy seeds, nutmeg powder and ginger powder or paste in a mixing bowl. Add a tbsp. of oil/ghee and rub it into the mixture. Slowly pour enough sugarcane juice into the flour mixture and knead into a stiff dough.
Using some oil to grease your hands, knead the dough for about two minutes and set aside to rest for about 20 minutes.
Heat sufficient oil in a kadai or wok. Divide dough into equal portions and roll into balls. Roll out each ball into a puri. I must confess that I took a shortcut by rolling out large balls into large thin rounds and cutting the puris out with a cookie cutter!
I also had some fun cutting the dough into rings and small buttons and sprinkling poppy seeds on the top as well!
Gently slide the puris or shapes one by one into hot oil. Swish hot oil on to the top of the puri in the kadhai or let a slotted or wire spoon rest on it till it rises in rebellion! Flip the puri over and fry the other side. Drain on absorbent paper.
Serve at teatime with a hot cuppa. These puris taste the best when fresh and hot.