Call it a puri or parantha, I have no qualms about it, for me it was the taste and ultimate joy of successfully making it that mattered the most. This is my MIL's recipe and she makes it so out of the worldly brilliant that I had to give it a try. You can have this Dal Puri for an Indian brunch or afternoon snack or an early supper too.
I generally use an Indian brand multigrain atta (Natco, Ashirwaad, Elephant or Pilsbury); multigrain atta is made by mixing 6 or more different varieties of flour with wheat flour.
The one that I use has wheat flour mixed with oat flour, maize flour, gram/chickpea flour, spelt flour, soya flour and quinoa flour which is high in protein and fibre and very low in sugar, salt and saturated fat. When you add channa dal(gram dal) as stuffing, you are sure to get a protein packed meal with this dal puri. You can choose to make the dal puris as small or as big as per your convenience or as you like it. The taste and joy of eating them will remain the same.
There are 2 parts to making this - the dough and the stuffing. I add about 1/2-1tsp carom seeds(ajwain) to the flour; love the earthy and lemony fragrance that it gives to the puris and also, it aids in digestion.
For the dough
2 cups multigrain wheat flour
1&1/2 tsp salt
1tbsp oil ( any neutral smelling oil)
water - 1cup
For the stuffing
1 cup - Channa dal(gram dal), soaked for 30mins
2" cinnamon sticks
1 big dry red chilli
1tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
salt to taste
In a deep/big bowl, mix flour, salt, carom seeds. Knead the dough by adding water bit by bit until smooth and pliable.
Cover with a damp muslin cloth or a bowl and let it rest for 30mins.
Boil channa dal in the pressure cooker or a sauce pan with 1&1/2 cup water and salt. Once cooked the dal should not be completely mushy or very watery. The grains should have a bite in the middle and softer in the outer areas. I cooked it in the pressure cooker and it took me about 10 mins on a low flame. Let it rest till the pressure is reduced and then open. Let it cool down a bit.
While the dal is being cooked, dry roast all the whole spices until the spices become fragrant. Remember- roast them on a medium to low heat on a skillet or pan and take care not to burn them.
Cool the roasted spices and grind them together to a coarse powder.
In a deep bowl, take the cooked dal and add the roasted ground spices, mix well. Mash the dal half way leaving bits of whole dal. Do not mash it completely. Now make 8-10 balls of equal size (golf ball size/ TT ball size). Keep aside
Prepare dal puri
Divide dough into 8-10 balls.
Flatten each ball, lightly roll out into a round of 5" diameter using a rolling pin.
Put 1 stuffing ball in the centre of the flattened dough ball and wrap it by lifting all the edges and seal to make a pouch(dumpling). Flatten the ball.
Coat the stuffed, flattened ball lightly with flour on both sides and roll out evenly into a thick 7-8 inches circle. Key is not to over roll it and do so with light pressure otherwise the stuffing will come out and will be difficult to manage!
Heat a tava or a heavy bottom griddle or pancake pan on a medium flame. Place the rolled dal puri and let it cook for a couple of minutes till you see small bubbles appearing on the top then flip it over. Cook for a couple of minutes.
Now apply oil on the top side and flip over, cook till golden brown spots appear at the bottom and crispy.
Apply oil on the half cooked top and flip. Cook till golden brown spots appear on this side too and remove.
Repear process with the remaining balls.
Serve hot with a chilled raita or plain yougurt along with any pickle of your choice! We usually have it with our favourite sweet garlic pickle bought from our local Sri Lankan grocer! You can also have it with Bengali kochuri aloor torkari (yumm..)
Hints & Tips:
If the dal mix is too dry, you are unable to roll the mix, adding a bit of ghee or butter will help. If you are able to do it without, you know you've made it!
Good spice mix is key to a delicious dal puri, so be generous with your spices without overdoing it!
Now, you may decide to call it a puri or paratha, my debate is still on with my MIL who insists it on being called a puri :-)