..... fried savory Mangalore bread.
No where close to a biscuit or roti, these Biscuit Rotis or “biskoot rotti” (as know in Mangalore) are a nice alternative to regular pooris. I wonder why they didn’t call it “Masala poori” instead! I like the way one of the Konkani recipe books terms it - “Biscuit Puri”. Neat.
Authentic Konkani cooking calls for these to be fried in coconut oil. I stay away from coconut oil as it has caused me more trouble than good. That’s been a primary reason I’ve always avoided lunch or dinner invitations extended by relatives, while visiting Mangalore. Coconut oil is by default the oil used for cooking. My mom has forever remained a proponent of “Gingely Oil” or “Sesame Oil”. And any deep frying still remains an occasional poori or vadams (“Odis” in Konkani) using sunflower oil.
The only time we eat this is when we visit my parents–in-law or they visit us. Its true that marriage is not only between two individuals and two families, but also between two kitchens!
The first time I visited them, my MIL made these Biscuit Rotis. Here I was, the new bride to be, trying to create an impression and be myself all at the same time, while 20 pair of eyes kept constantly watching every move of mine, in a house packed with relatives near and far.
The thoughts of the dreadful mouth ulcers that coconut oil would cause me were the only things running through my restless mind. All of a sudden, much to my relief, S, my darling husband, declared “Didn’t know these taste so good without coconut oil!”. Pre-planned or sheer coincidence, it continues to remain a mystery to me. MIL still claims that she altered her recipe as she was running short of coconut oil. Well, that worked really good for me and thanks to MIL, I dared to take that first bite of the most revered Konkani “tiffin” - Biscuit Roti.
My MIL’s recipe is a hit not only among us, her friends and family but also everyone my side of the family. So, I decided to include this on the chow chronicles, for all those of you who love Biscuit Roti and get nostalgic with this humble Mangalorean snack.
3 cups All purpose flour
1 teaspoon Udad Dal ( split Black gram)
½ cup Semolina ( Sooji Rava)
¼ cup grated Coconut or dry Coconut powder
2 roasted, dry Red Chilies
¼ cup Curry leaves
½ teaspoon Asafoetida
4 teaspoons of Oil
Oil for frying
Water for kneading
For the dough:
Knead flour, salt and 1 teaspoon of oil together using water into a dough. Set aside at room temperature.
For the Filling:
Dry roast coconut, curry leaves and red chilies. Grind to a coarse powder, without adding water.
Heat 3 teaspoons of oil in a pan on medium flame, add Udad dal, curry leaves and asafoetida. Allow the channa dal to turn golden brown .
Reduce flame and add the ground mixture. Sauté for 3-4 minutes on low flame.
Add semolina and salt into the mixture and cook for 3-4 minutes till all the ingredients bind together into a semi dry mixture. Remove from flame and cool to room temperature.
To make the Biscuit Rotis:
Make small balls of the dough. Roll them into small circles.
Place a teaspoonful of the filling at the center of the each circle. Gather the edges of the dough towards the center to cover the filling.
Flatten out the biscuit roti, like regular pooris, but smaller.
Heat oil, deep fry each biscuit roti till golden brown and crisp.
Drain excess oil using absorbent tissue. Serve hot.
Biscuit roti can be served as is or along with coconut chutney. The recipe yields nearly 10-12 small biscuit rotis.