I make these palak puris weekly – I don’t know how I’ve only just photographed and written the recipe now! It’s one of of our absolute favourites: they look beautifully appetising with a bright green colour, a mild, fresh taste, only use a few simple ingredients, and are packed full of vital nutrients from the rich green spinach! If you ever want to bring a meal to the next level, I absolutely recommend trying this recipe.
First things first: Puri are an authentic Indian bread which are deep fried and then eaten with all manner of mains! Once dropped into hot oil they puff up like a balloon, resulting in a crisp yet soft bread which is hollow in the middle and incredibly light.
Making puri is incredibly simple. All you need is chapati atta, salt, spinach, and some optional spices (green chilli and asafoetida). The spinach is blanched to retain the nutrients and gorgeous green colour, then pureed and kneaded into the dough. Although they’re deep fried, the bread is completely non-greasy and a wonderful way to work more greens into your diet without sacrificing on taste at all.
The subtle flavour of spinach and green chilli combined with the equally crisp and soft texture of the puri makes this bread irresistible. Be careful or you’ll find you’ve eaten 10 in one sitting!
For beginners and experts alike puri can often seem intimidating. However, by following my simple steps you’ll be able to make these palak puri successfully every single time. I’ve also included a section of tips about how to get puffy puri without fail.
Are Palak Puri Vegan?
Yes, this bread is completely vegan and dairy-free! They are also nut-free and soy-free, making them absolutely perfect for people with food intolerances.
What is Chakki Atta?
Chakki Atta is stone-milled chapati flour. It’s a variety of whole-meal flour unique to India which is different from the whole meal flour you may find in the UK or USA. For this reason I never recommend substituting chapati flour for wholemeal flour. Paratha, Chapati and Puri are all made with chakki atta.
You can find chapati flour at any Indian grocery store. There are many brands and different types of chapati flour, such as wholemeal chapati flour (which is more brown in colour), medium chapati flour, multigrain chapati flour, and chakki atta. I always recommend chakki atta – especially those who are just starting out with Indian bread-making. Due to the grinding and milling process, chakki atta has a much finer consistency and you’ll end up with much softer chapatis as a result.
Atta is simply the Hindi word for this specific type of flour, so when looking to buy search for this word. If you don’t have access to an Indian grocery store locally, Amazon stocks a great brand which offers bags of chakki atta ranging from 1kg to 10kg.*
*Please note that as an Amazon associate I earn a commission on purchases made through this link, at no extra cost to you.
Can I use Plain Flour?
Maida is the Hindi word for what’s known in the UK as ‘Plain Flour’ and in the USA as ‘All Purpose Flour’. I don’t recommend making these Puri with plain flour.
Firstly, because of the different protein content compared to chapati flour the dough will be much more elastic and as a result harder to work with. Secondly, you may need to adjust the ratio of water to flour so the recipe won’t be easy to follow. Finally, the taste will differ massively due to the type of flour. If you’re looking for a very similar bread recipe using plain flour, I recommend searching ‘Lucchi’ – this is the Bengali version of Puri and traditionally uses plain flour instead of chapati flour.
The best tips for puffy Palak Puri:
One of the most common issues with Puri is that they don’t puff. Don’t worry, if you encounter this problem they’ll still be perfectly edible! Although making Indian breads takes practice to perfect, with these tips you’ll minimize the chances of this happening and be equipped to make perfect Palak Puri every single time.
- Always rest the dough. It may take slightly longer to make the puri, but it’s essential for properly soft and puffed puri. Resting the dough relaxes the gluten in the flour, making them much easier to roll out evenly.
- Try not to use flour while rolling. You can puff puri using flour, but in general it’s good practice to grease the dough ball in oil instead.
- Roll out your Puri evenly. You can apply this tip to making chapatis as well. Rolling the puri to an even thickness is absolutely key for the puri to be able to puff completely each and every-time. This can take some practice, but for the best results I recommend using a proper Indian rolling board and pin (Patla & Belan) and making sure you don’t exert any pressure onto the rolling pin while rolling them out.
- Roll your Puri to the right thickness. If you follow this recipe you’ll end up with puri of the right thickness – the dough should be separated into 16 equal sized pieces, each of which should be rolled out to 10cm in diameter. This is neither too thin nor to thick and results in a perfect puff.
- Make sure the oil is hot enough, but not too hot. If the heat is too low, the puri will just absorb the oil, become greasy, and not puff up. If the oil is too high, you have a risk of either the puri becoming crispy, or getting too brown. Find the perfect medium-high heat (instructions in the recipe below) so that the puri has time to puff.
- Use a slotted spoon to help things along. Sometimes puri puffs of its own accord, but not always! Gently nudge and push the top of the puri with a slotted spoon to encourage it to puff.
Do note that a little time after frying the puri will naturally deflate. This is not an issue at all! If you want your puri to remain slightly crispy and puffed after frying, add just a teaspoon of semolina to your dough. Also, try to refrain from stacking them on top of each other to drain.
This recipe is:
- A pretty and colourful showstopper!
- Full of important nutrients
- Not greasy at all
- Easy to follow
- Vegan & Dairy Free
- Full of flavour
- Perfect for pairing with any curry!
If you’re interested in learning how to make more Indian breads, do check out my recipe for Amritsari Kulcha. It’s a baked bread stuffed with a spicy potato filling, and I’m sure you’ll love it!
For more Indian Vegan recipes, consider trying out my unique recipe for Seekh Kebabs made from Soy Chunks, this Indo-Chinese fusion dish made with tofu, a surprisingly delicious dry curry made from Cabbage and Spring Greens, or these incredibly easy Bread Samosas.
Palak Puris - Puffed Indian Breads with Spinach Dough
- Water for blanching spinach
- 120g Fresh Spinach, washed
- 1 Thin Green Chilli
- 50ml Water
- 200g Chakki Atta (Stone-milled Chapati Flour)
- Pinch Asafoetida (Hing), optional
- 1/4 tsp Salt, or to taste
- Neutral Oil, for deep frying
- First, blanch the spinach. Add plenty of water to a large saucepan over high flame. When it comes to a boil, immediately add your washed spinach. Cook for just 1 minutes, and then immediately drain the spinach and add it to a bowl full of ice-cold water to cool down.
- Grind the paste. Once the spinach is cool, add it to a grinder along with a green chilli. Grind to a smooth paste and slowly add the 50ml water to the grinder. Pulse again until you get a thin, smooth paste.
- Make the dough. Add the chakki atta to a large parat or mixing bowl along with salt to taste and optionally, a pinch of asafoetida. Slowly add the spinach paste and incorporate the two together. Knead for around 3-5 minutes into a soft, tight dough.
- Rest the dough for 20-30 minutes, covered.
- Pre-heat oil to deep fry the puri in a kadai or deep frying pan. Put the flame to medium-high and while you’re rolling the puris wait for it to heat. If you think it will take you time to roll the puris, heat the oil after you’ve rolled them out.
- To roll out the puris, roll out the dough into a long sausage shape and then seperate it into 16 equal sized pieces. Roll each piece in your hands to create a smooth ball. There are two methods to roll out the puris here:
The first is to flatten the ball with the palm of your hand, and then rub a little oil on both sides. Slowly roll out using a rolling pin into an even circle around 10cm diameter. Pick the puri up and turn it halfway and then roll to prevent sticking. Once done, lay flat without overlapping and cover with a cloth until all are done and ready to fry. This method is good as it ensures there is no excess flour, but it may be harder to roll out the puri for beginners.
Second option is to add flour to a small bowl, dip a ball in the flour, flatten it with your palm and then roll out. Use just a little flour so you’re not left with excess flour on the puri. This is not the preferred option.
As you roll out the puri, keep all the others covered with a cloth to ensure they don’t dry out. Also, don’t overlap the rolled dough or it may end up sticking together. Roll out all the puri at once – because they cook so quickly, it’s much easier this way.
- To cook the puris, make sure the oil is hot (you can test this by using the end of a wooden spoon or chopstick – the oil should bubble around it). Carefully slide one puri into the oil. It will come to the surface and start puffing. To encourage the puffing, you can gently push on the puri with a slotted spoon. Once it puffs, carefully turn the puri and cook that side for a few seconds before draining on kitchen paper. Repeat with all puris.
- Serve hot (or cold!)
Tip: You can add ajwain (carom seeds) to the dough to give a more savoury taste. I omit this when I’m making it as a side to a curry, but if eating as a snack it’s a lovely addition. It also aides in digestion.
Note: You can double or halve this recipe to make more or less puris to your liking.
What to serve with Palak Puri?
You can serve Palak Puri with any Indian main course, although it goes particularly well with spicy tomato-based gravy dishes like Aloo Gobi (or a personal favourite, the Marathi variation Batata Flower Rassa), both of which are made with potato and cauliflower. You can also serve a simple home-style potato curry. This is a popular breakfast option called ‘Puri Bhaji’ in Marathi or simply ‘Aloo Puri’. It’s usually served with plain Puri but works just as well with Palak Puri.
For something a little more aromatic, try serving with Chana Masala. Puri and chickpea dishes are a classic combination and will work well for breakfast, lunch or dinner. You can also serve it with Veg Makanwala – a creamy and buttery mixed vegetable curry – or Navratan Korma, a mildy spicy dish made creamy with nuts and various vegetables.
My recipe for a smoky whole roasted aubergine sautéed with spices and mixed with spinach would also be a great accompaniment. You can find the recipe here.
I often find that after I’ve finished eating a dish with Palak Puri, I always wish I had more to snack on. In short, you don’t need a main dish to serve with it if you don’t want one – just nimble on them for a snack. As noted in the recipe, I would recommend adding some Ajwain seeds if you’re making them just to snack on. The taste will be delectable!
If you make this dish, please share your photos and feedback with me!
As always, if you have any questions about the recipe please feel free to comment them down below and I will get back to you as soon as possible. If you made this recipe, please do share it with me! I would love to see the results. You can tag me on instagram using @ohmyvegofficial or send to me via any of my other social media channels.