November 23, 2012

Luchi - A fried Bengali bread

Now a food blog by a Bengali without Luchi is incomplete. These deep fried puffed little breads are weakness for all us Bengalese. A related cousin of puri, it differs from the same in only the type of flour used. While puri is made from whole-wheat flour (atta), luchi is made from refined all-purpose flour (maida). Every Sunday morning, these puffed ‘breadlets’ adorn the breakfast plates in any Bengali household hand in hand with alu-r torkari (mild potato curry) or any other side dish of choice. Sometimes it is a special treat along with the glorious kasha mangsho ( a spicy dry mutton preparation). Traditionally they are deep-fried in ghee. However, many houses these days use refined oil to fry them. As the air puffs the flat dough discs into perfect balls and an enticing smell fills the air, the simple dough transforms into its light whitish-golden avatar. Luchi has been such a part of my everyday life that I had taken it for somewhat granted. It was only when I moved away from home during my college years, looking at the luchi-less breakfast plates on Sunday mornings, that I realized how much a place it held in my food world. Making luchis on my own went through a couple of trials until I could make them all perfectly round. The right amount of oil for making the dough, the ideal temperature of the heated oil for deep-frying, the gentle pressure and whirling motion to let them puff in perfect rounds, it took some practice to master those. And therefore, when I recently took pictures of the luchis for the blog and decided to finally write down the recipe, I realized the description to be inadequate. Anf hence, there was this bit more wait until I made luchis again and requested Blaž to take a video while I fry them. Read carefully the instructions and watch the short video. Don’t be disheartened if the first try doesn’t give the perfect results, one just needs a little bit of practice to have these delicate Bengali breads on the table.

You can print the recipe for your kitchen here: PRINTABLE RECIPE

(Makes 10 [or 12 small])

1cup refined flour
1pinch salt
1tbsp oil
Warm water
Oil for deep-frying

1.      Put the flour in a big bowl. Add a pinch of salt and 1tbsp of oil to the flour. Rub the flour and oil between fingers to mix well and make the flour lighter and fluffier. Rub for a minute or so. This is a crucial step as over-rubbing or adding too much oil will make the luchi crispier and difficult to puff.
2.      Make a hole in middle. Slowly add warm water and knead into a smooth tight dough. Divide the dough into 10 (or 12 for smaller luchis) balls.
3.      In a small deep wok heat oil for deep-frying. The oil should be hot (not smoking) but fry the luchi on medium heat so that they do not brown too much before puffing and cooking well. (Test the oil with a tiny pinch of dough pressed flat between fingers. It should fry and float immediately but not turn brown.)
4.      Roll each dough ball into a thin circle of around 5 inch. Use a bit of oil while rolling to prevent sticking.
5.      Gently add the rolled luchi into the hot oil. With a round-slotted spoon keep the luchi under hot oil and keep on pressing gently in a whirling motion until the luchi puffs into a circle. [Check the video below.]
6.      Flip and let the other side fry for a few more seconds. This time, do not press down the luchi inside the oil but instead let it float. Each luchi will take about 20-30 seconds to fry.
7.      Repeat the steps 4-6 for the other dough balls. Roll and fry the luchis simultaneously. (Do not keep them waiting for long after rolling as it will make the rolled luchi dry.)

Do not make the dough long before frying the luchis. If you need to keep the dough standing, keep it covered under a moist cloth.

How to fry Luchi:

1 comment:

  1. Great recipe!
    Your photo and its’ source have been featured on the World Food Guide website:


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