The Brunch Talk
Who wouldn’t like the idea of brunch? It is a perfect start to a lazy Sunday. I am limiting this post to talk about the most common brunch items in Pakistan…..drum roll please….. and TADA! Halwa Puri . You pay for halwa and puri and get a complimentary serving of chanay ( a spicy chickpeas dish) and aalo ke bhujiya ( a potato dish). Not a bad bargain,huh? And if you are luckier, you might get some pickled onion slices too.
There are endless versions of these items. Let us begin with halwa. It is a sweet dish of semolina,that is sooji in Urdu. First you toast some semolina with green cardamoms till it’s fragrant and slightly brown in color. Then you add some ghee or cooking oil and cook for few more minutes. Then sugar and water are added at the same time and you cook till semolina has absorbed almost all of the water. Roughly, the proportion is like,
If you are using 1 cup of semolina you need 1 cup of oil, 2 cups of sugar and 3-4 cups of water.
Water quantity is according to the required consistency. At halwa puri outlets, this particular halwa has batter like consistency because they soak semolina overnight. Doing so they get more servings out of it too. Orange color is also added.
Chanay and Aalo
You can have aalo and chanay cooked together as one dish or you can have two separate dishes. Use oil and spices as you prefer. To give thickness to the gravy, make a paste of flour and water and add to the gravy, mixing well till you get desired consistency. Or you can add some achar/achar masala to the aalo dish…mmmm yum!
Pickled Onion slices
If you want some of these bad boys, slice some onions and cook in a mixture of vinegar and water. For a medium onion, 1 tbsp of vinegar and 2-3 tbsp of water is enough. Cook on low heat. Salt and pepper are optional. Make sure it is cool enough before you serve.
Puries look all cute and puffy at a dhaba but as soon as you touch them they break and you are left to pick up flakes from(and around) the plate. Or worse…they get rubbery. To make a perfect puri in your kitchen you don’t need ultra refined flour or any leavening agents to puff them up. I am giving you a cheat code. Use the regular dough that you make roti with and deep fry in a wok. How simple is that? Heat the oil and maintain the flame at medium high. Shape some dough into a small ball,roll with rolling-pin and carefully put in oil. Each side would not take more than a minute or two. Best part…no one would care if it’s a perfect round or not. I don’t add any salt or oil to the dough because there is already a lot going on in other dishes.