The quintessential Mauritian street food Dhal Puri (‘Dholl Puri’) is set to make your tastebuds dance!
If you ask a local which dish you absolutely have to try while you are holidaying in Mauritius, the answer would probably be dhal puri.Do you know how it came about? According to the Mint “The indentured labourers were given fixed rations of food and fresh water for a week or so. Given that fresh water was a precious resource, their families would use the water in which it was cooked to bind the dough. Some of the dal would invariably get mixed into the dough, so it ended up as a flatbread with some dal in it. The present-day dholl puri is a paratha stuffed with a crumbled chana dal mixture. Even though it is called puri, this flatbread is not deep-fried—it is cooked on a tava, or griddle. A pair of these pliable breads are used as a carrier for a curry with toppings. Among Indian dishes, the Maharashtrian puran poli resembles a sweet version of the dholl puri, bearing more similarities to it than a dal paratha.” Gooriah also shared why maida (refined flour) is used to prepare this flatbread. Wheat flour, or atta, was sent via ships from India but it would often get spoilt. Maida, which has a longer shelf life, survived the journey better. This is probably why, even now, almost all the Indian-origin dishes in Mauritian cuisine use maida.
This Mauritian recipe from Ambre Mauritius brings together a delightful list of ingredients that blend to create a local dish filled with subtle but delicious flavours. The dough is prepared, then rolled out thinly, fried and filled with an assortment of fillings which can range from chutneys and pickled vegetables to bean curries. ‘Rougaille Mauricien’ – a typical Mauritian spicy tomato sauce – or even made into a ‘dessert’ variation where the dhal puri is used to eat heavenly mouthfuls of kheer (a type of creamy rice pudding served with almonds, sultanas, cardamom seeds and pistachios).
Dhal Puri is usually served in pairs and is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Dhal Puri Recipe: Serves 8
- 2 cups yellow split peas (that have been soaked in water overnight)
- 1 teaspoon cumin (seeds)
- 2kg plain flour
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 800ml of water
- Salt to taste
- Vegetable oil for cooking
- Toast the cumin seeds in a hot pan (without oil).
- Once they are lightly toasted, put them in a mortar and crush with a pestle.
- Drain the peas and rinse them well.
- Simmer them in enough water to cover the peas, with cumin, turmeric and salt until they have softened slightly (be careful not to overcook them).
- Strain the ingredients, in a food processor mix into a coarse paste. Set aside.
- Mix the flour with 2 pinches of salt in a bowl. Add water gradually to make a smooth dough.
- Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for approximately 30 minutes.
- Roll dough into small balls (about the size of a golf ball) and make a small hollow in each. Place a tablespoon of the yellow pea mixture into the hollow and seal the dough.
- Roll the balls into very thin ‘pancakes’ (make sure this is on a floured surface or the dough will stick).
- Brush a non-stick frying pan with a thin layer of oil and cook each dhal puri for approximately two minutes on each side, on high heat. Before you flip your dhal puri, brush a little more oil directly on the dhal puri.
- Serve two dhal puri per portion with your choice of chutney and curry.