March 9, 2009

Dhal Puri And Curried Potatoes – Caribbean Style

We enjoy good food so long as it is vegetarian. While we have always tried to go beyond the boundaries of the food we have grown up with, food blogging has really opened up a whole new world of food and cuisine. The past year has been an adventure involving trying out new recipes or re-inventing familiar ones, though not always with success I must add.

Cynthia's Taste Like Home, a blog I read regularly, has been my window to Caribbean cuisine. Caribbean cooking is true "fusion" cuisine with a lovely mix of French, Spanish, Dutch, Indian and African flavours. Due to this, I find it very easy to identify with a lot of the vegetables and fruits she uses in her cooking. What is more interesting to me, is that many dishes which seem familiar to me as an Indian, have taken on a new identity with very different flavours.

When I first saw Cynthia's Dhal puri post, I thought of deep-fried unleavened dough (which is what Indian puris are) stuffed with lentils (dhal). In fact, in my traditional Palakkad cooking, we make a stuffed roti with a jaggery-sweetened lentil filling. On reading her post, it turned out that this popular Caribbean street food was more like seasoned lentil stuffed parathas (which are stuffed north Indian flatbreads).

I bookmarked the post with plans to try that out but somehow never got around to it! This is the story with my long list of bookmarked recipes which seems to be growing like Jack's Beanstalk (but no ogres here)!!
When Meeta announced that she was taking her Monthly Mingle to the Caribbean this month, it seemed like a good time for me to revisit that bookmarked dhal puri.

So I first did some reading up on the dhal puri. The one thing that struck me was that dhal puri differed slightly in how it was made and eaten in different parts of the Caribbean, which is a group of many different islands.
Rather than my discussing the varieties and differences to a roti in the Caribbean (because I'm sure to get it wrong), I would definitely suggest a visit to Musings On Roti at Lifespan Of A Chenette.

Then I wrote to Cynthia asking for her recipes, and she very graciously sent me her recipes for Dhal puri and Curried Potatoes. I knew it wouldn't be difficult to make them as I am used to making stuffed parathas and the technique for filling both parathas and dhal puri were the same.

I was expecting a recipe similar to one for parathas, but I was surprised to see a few differences as far as the ingredients for the dough and filling were concerned. The method of mixing, kneading and preparing the dough, on the other hand, reminded me of the way the cooks make dough for "porottas" in roadside food stalls in Cochin!
Similarly, while all the ingredients for the Curried Potatoes are what I routinely use in my cooking, I found Cynthia's combination quite different.

According to Cynthia, dhal puri is usually served a dab of achar (typical Indian style pickles) or sour ( a tamarind, mango and bilimbi chutney).
I read somewhere (couldn't find the link) that dhal puri is also served with curried potatoes, chana or curried chicken.

We had a satisfying dinner of dhal puri with curried potatoes, my version of sour (which was a store bought sweet and sour mango chutney) and some plain home-made yogurt.

As Cynthia has just had her "My Caribbean Cookbook" published, she has requested that her recipes not be posted for reasons I'm sure everyone will appreciate. So you will only find my pictures of both the preparations at this post.
You can find more details at Cynthia's dhal puri post, including pictures and a link to a slide demo of how to make dhal puris.
This is my contribution to Meeta's Caribbean Mingle.

I'm using this post to acknowledge some awards passed on to my blog by two fellow bloggers. Ivy of Kopiaste and Rosie of Baking Cakes Galore both feel that this blog deserving of the awards they have passed on to me. Thank you so much. I have put up the awards on my "Appreciation Badges" page.

And now one little exciting piece of news (for me anyways).
I opened my inbox this morning to find a mail from Johanna, The Passionate Cook telling me I had won a prize. Johanna hosted the February edition of Waiter, There's Something In My…… with "Hot Puds" as the theme.

The Gaajar Ka Halwa I posted last month was my submission for the event and it has won me two of Mary Berry's cookbooks – Traditional Puddings and Desserts & Supper For Friends. It was a great way to start my day.


Happy cook said...

Congragulations that is a wonderful win.

Sharmila said...

Another great recipe from your blog to try Aparna! :-)

sra said...

Congrats on the prizes. Those curried potatoes look so good!

Asha said...

Congrats sweet girl, you deserve it! Enjoy. :)

Now, after looking at several rice and peas, this combo I truly can thoroughly enjoy. Great choice! :)

Vaishali said...

Congratulations on the win, Aparna, and this dhal puri is making me really hungry. Beautiful picture.

bee said...

dhal puri is of bihari (bhojpuri) origin. the migrants from bihar took it to the caribbean, fiji and mauritius. my mauritian friend first made it for me and i was hooked.

Soma said...

Looks perfect Aparna. I lvoe Dal puris & this is one of my grandmom's delicious recipes. It always brings back memories! love the potatoes.

Madhumathi said...

Dhal puri and curried potatoes are looking great :)

TBC said...

Hey Aparna,
Just wanted to let you know- I made your parippu thogayal and your mulagushyam (I used yam)... that's going to be our dinner tonight.:D
Thanks so much for the recipes for these simple and tasty dishes.

Superchef said...

great to have stumbled upon your blog..i just love it!! loved the dhal puri and the potatoes!!

Superchef said...

and also, congrats on the books you won!! this time im defenitely adding you to my blogroll, dont wanna miss ya again :)

Chennette said...

hello, saw your link to my post - great way to discover other blogs! it's great that you tried dhalpuri - I have found in Guyana that they serve it like a snack/street food with the dash of sour/chutney in the middle, but in Trinidad it is always eaten with curry - meat, potatoes etc, and sold wrapped around the filling as "a roti". I love it toasted the next day with eggs. Or just toasted crispy on the tawa.

Uj said...

Perfect looking roti's. I find it difficult to roll them into even sized and shaped paratha's. I am seeing a lot of rice dishes i other blogs..This is a welcome change

Indhu said...

perfect recipe :)
love the potatoes... just want to grab it right off the screen :)

jayasree said...

dhal puri and curried potatoes look yummy. Loved the stack.

congrats on the win.

MeetaK said...

this looks really good to me. i have to get Cynthia to send me the recipes! thanks for joining us at the mingle Aparna!

Lisa said...

That looks like a fabulous meal! Cynthia's recipes are top notch!

Cham said...

Looks delicous and tasty ur dhal puri. Congrats on ur win :)

Superchef said...

OMG!!! yes, I am the same manju you are assuming that I am :) you are balan mama's wife..aparna mami..well, im not gonna call you that for sure :D this is soo great!!! great blog!! i always knew you were into cooking, but didnt know you had a blog and all!!

Suganya said...

I made Cynthia's dhal puri too. Such a winner recipe it is. Congrats on winning WTSIM, Aparna.

Varsha Vipins said...

Congrats Aparna..:)
Woah..This is a superb dish ..Left me all drooling..:)

A_and_N said...

Congrats! :)

And the Dhal Puri looks so good. Great pics too!

Janaki Gopikrishna said...

happy holi to u aparna

Curry Leaf said...

PERFECT and MouthWatering Combo,Aparna.CONGRATS for Winning WTSIM,I wanted to take part,but this time missed it.I actually posted Gizzadas today(tonight)-slightly diff from your version I had earlier seen

♥Rosie♥ said...

Congratulations Aparna!! I have such a huge gin on my face - I am so happy for you winning those wonderful cook books and Mary Berry is one of my favs :0)

Your dish I am drooling over!!

Rosie x

Divya Vikram said...

Lovely stack of dhall pooris. And congrats on the win!

Aparna said...

Thank you.

Bee, I did discover that while "researching", including the Mauritian connection.

TBC, Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.:)

Thanks, Manju. Yes, that's me.:)

I have seen lots of other food on your blog that interests me tremendously.

You should definitely ask Cynthia for the recipe.

That's really nice, Suganya.

Same to you, belatedly, Janaki.

I have been wanting to join WTSIM for a long time and finally managed it this time.:)
Will check out the gizzadas.

Thanks, Rosie and Divya.

PG said...

sounds very delicious! And looks delicious! Congratulations on winning the books!