Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Trinidadian Dhal Puri/ Indian Dal paratha

Keeping to the Trinidadian food theme I thought I will post about another family favorite. In Trinidad it is called "Dhal Puri" and is made during celebrations at home (for festivals or weddings). In Trinidad, like most of their flat bread, this "roti" (despite being called Puri) is made with plain/all purpose flour. In India, this very same dish is made with atta (wholemeal flour) and is called "Dal paratha". Other than the difference in names and flours there are small differences in spices and herbs used which, I think, is mainly due to what is locally available. This dish is Naz's favorite and I make it for him as often as I can. It is labor intensive, but, well worth the effort and can be frozen (hurrah!). This is Anjalie's favorite roti as well and she calls it "lellow roti" due to the yellow dal filling :) Whenever I do make these, I make a whole bunch and freeze them (semi-cooked) for later use. In Trinidad, Dhal puris are made into very large sizes to form a wrap, unlike, the Indian Dal parathas which are made to the typical 6-8 inch rotis. Naz usually eats them as a wrap with semi-dry curry filling and they are handy when travelling or for lunch boxes. The recipe I give here is for the Trinidadian Dhal puris, but, you can replace the plain flour with wholemeal flour if you prefer to make the healthier Dal parathas instead. This recipe will make 6 big size dal puri wraps.

You will need:
For dal filling:
1/2 lb (1 cup) channa dal/yellow split peas
1 clove of garlic crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric power.
For the dough:
1.5 lb or 4 and 1/2 cups of flour
salt to taste
1/2 tsp baking powder
water to mix a smooth dough
Oil for greasing

Boil the dal for 20-30 mins with crushed garlic, turmeric powder and salt, until soft (but not mushy). Do not over cook the dal. Turn off the stove as soon as it crumbles between your fingers. Drain and set aside for 20 mins to let any extra water to be drained/absorbed. Grind the dal into a powder (like fine semolina) using a food processor/mill as shown here.

Mean while, mix all the dry ingredients for the dough in a mixing bowl and add enough water to make a smooth, soft and pliable dough. Lightly grease the dough with a few drops of oil and let it rest for at least 20 mins. Dust the work-space well with flour, turn the dough onto the surface and divide dough into 6 balls as shown.

Roll out the balls one by one to a 4 inch circles and fill it with 3 tbsps ground dal. Always keep the rest of the dough covered while rolling out each one so that they do not get dry.

Fold the edges of circle together so that the dal is packed inside and the roti becomes a ball stuffed with dal again.

The stuffed ball is shown here. Repeat with all the other balls. Cover them and set aside to settle for 10 mins.

Roll out the stuffed balls into thin rotis. If the filling comes out when rolling the rotis, then, your dough is not soft enough or the stuffed balls did not rest long enough. Make sure that the dough is soft and pliable.

Grease a tawa/griddle/skillet well with oil and cook the rotis on both sides. You will need a big sized tawa/skillet if you are making huge rotis. If you have regular sized tawa go for smaller sized rotis, of about 8 inches diameter, by dividing the dough and the dal into 12 portions instead of 6.

If you want the rotis to be like wraps then keep the flame to medium to medium-low and cook the rotis until they just turn a little brown. Do not let it over cook or it will get stiff and cannot be used as a wrap.

When bubbles (like shown here) start to appear it is time to turn the roti.

Since the rori is rolled out thin it will not take very long to cook. Just a couple of minutes on medium-low on each side is enough to cook the roti well.

As you see there are spots of brown but it is not cooked to get the entire roti to turn golden brown.

Cook both sides and serve warm with your favorite curry/side dish. If making into a wrap make sure that the curry filling is not too runny, but, semi dry. Naz and Anjalie like to eat theirs with chicken curry while I being a veggie enjoy mine with curried potatoes or sagu.

  1. For storage, you can keep the fully cooked dal puris wrapped in parchment paper in a closed container and eat them out within a day. If storing for a maximum of 3 days you can keep them in the fridge and heat them up in the microwave (for < 1 min) or on medium heat on a tawa (for 1 min each side).
  2. For freezing, you can semi cook the rotis (turn them before too many bubbles) after cooking for within 1 min each side and place in freezer bags. When you need them, leave them to thaw out to room temperature and you can cook them on the tawa. 
  3. Another short cut method is to make the dal a few days before, freeze them in ziplock bag and make the dough when needed. This will make the process a bit easier. I some times double or triple the dal amount and freeze the excess for later use.
  4. You may add more spices, like roasted cumin powder and fresh green chillies (like they do in India), or herbs, like chopped green onions and a small piece of fresh habernero peppers (like they do in Trinidad), to give the filling more flavor. The recipe here is kept simple for young children.


  1. Dal puri roti is one of my son's favourite and we make it often, a dish which both me and my husband have perfected in the past one year.

  2. I visit your post. And I like it. plz keep continue.Thanks!!
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